Does John Piper Know About the Resurrection?

While continuing to read and enjoy the challenge of “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper, I’ve noticed something that I would have guessed without reading the book. John Piper is OBSESSED with the cross of Jesus Christ. And why not? Paul was too. He made statements like, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”Gal. 6:14

Piper takes this and runs with it, making it the central focus of all of life and ministry. Piper interprets Paul to be saying, “Only rejoice in the cross of Christ. Paul says, Let this be your single passion, your single boast and joy and exultation.”

It’s not that this is all-in-all a bad thing. The cross is of crucial importance for us and our salvation! I even agree with Piper that one of the facets of Jesus’ work on the cross is that he was a substitute; that he took the punishment that we deserved for our sins. He stood in our place. That is one of the easiest facets of the cross to see from Scripture. Not the only one, but an important one.

But I’m left wondering, where is the resurrection in all of this? If the resurrection didn’t happen, what Jesus did on the cross is worthless! (1 Cor. 15) It still didn’t achieve harmony between God and humanity. There is still not conquering of death or sin. So what’s the point? You can’t focus on the cross at the expense of the resurrection.

Piper states: “…for redeemed sinners, every good thing-indeed every bad thing that God turns for good-was obtained for us by the cross of Christ. Apart from the death of Christ, sinners get nothing but judgment. Apart from the cross of Christ, there is only condemnation. Therefore, everything that you enjoy in Christ-as a Christian, as a person who trusts Christ-is owing to the death of Christ. And all your rejoicing in all things should therefore be a rejoicing in the cross where all your blessings were purchased for you at the cost of the death of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.”

Again, I wonder, where is the resurrection? Does it even matter in Piper’s scheme? Why not make all of these statements as “the death (cross) and resurrection of Christ?” Why ONLY the cross? This seems to be a serious omission theologically.

I hope I’m wrong and Piper focuses on the significance of the resurrection somewhere in the book. I hope I can come back and apologize for jumping on his too quickly. But I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that the lack of resurrection will continue!

To be fair Piper mentions this: “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,” as the old Nicene Creed says, and since his death and resurrection are the central act of God in history…”

He acknowledges it is central but so far has only addressed the cross at the expense of resurrection.


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