John Piper and the Supermarket of Theology

I have been very encouraged reading The Pleasures of God by John Piper.  I came across a great quote today about dealing with controversy over the truth.

“Are there any significant biblical teachings that have not been controversial?  I cannot think of even one, let alone the number we all need for the daily nurture of faith.  If this is true, then we have no choice but to seek our food in the markets of controversy.  We need not stay there.  We can go home and feast if the day has been well spent.  But we must buy there.  As much as we would like it, we do not have the luxury of living in a world where the most nourishing truths are unopposed.  If we think we can suspend judgement on all that is controversial and feed our souls only on what is left, we are living in a dreamworld.  There is nothing left.” (P. 105, The Pleasures of God)

That’s a powerful metaphor.  God has given His truth to the foolish and has blinded the wise, but this does not mean that he delivers us breakfast in bed so that we need not get up, get dressed, go shopping, and find and pay for the truth that we need to nourish our spiritual bodies.  In other words, knowing God sometimes takes work.  Some have found the banquet table only after spending hours, years, and maybe decades wandering through the deserts of ideas.  Have you ever struggled to interpret a passage of Scripture, but then, the answer finally came to you after much prayer, study, and sermon-listening?  When the true interpretation came to you, did it feel better than consuming a juicy steak with hot mashed potatoes?  Or better than a cold lemonade after working in the 150 degree attic? I’ve felt that.  God desires us to seek Him and find Him.

LemonadeBut can we forgo the mouth-watering steaks of truth and just sit back and drink the pure milk of the word?  Not according to Piper.  Even the pure milk must be discerned from the poison.  We must pray, study, seek counsel, and listen if we are to be nourished; knowing God as he desires us to know Him.

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