Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday Reading: “Bloodlines” by John Piper

full_bloodlinesThis morning I read through John Piper’s new book Bloodlines, a study of how the Gospel speaks into the issues of unity and racism. I was very happy to see the old “Desiring God” John Piper in this book. He approaches the issue of racism from experiential (his own racist past), academic (lots of quotes from African-American writers talking about their own experiences and offering their own remedies) and biblical perspectives. He lays out the aim of the book…

The aim is biblical maturity— thoughtful, balanced, careful, informed, humble, experienced, wise, Jesus-exalting, God-centered, gospel-strengthened growth in the way we think and talk and act in regard to race and ethnicity— and in relation to real people different from ourselves. Kindle Locations 605-607

I think he does a pretty good job of this. He ties his view of the gospel very closely to Reformed theology, but I think that anyone who sees the Gospel as being focused on Jesus and what He has done and the application of the gospel by grace alone and faith alone, will agree with his application of it, no matter what their view of how the gospel is applied. The gospel demands that God’s people live in unity, love and justice together. Sadly, the church has largely failed to do that. To bring this about will be difficult but…

Persons who are committed to live for a great biblical cause, not a great earthly comfort. Over the years I have tried to wave this banner: To be a Christian is to move toward need, not comfort. 1616-1618

If Jesus is the “end of ethnocentrism” the church must reflect that and work hard, in the power of the Spirit to do it.

The issue of racial and ethnic diversity and harmony in the church is not small, because the price God paid precisely for it was not small. It was infinite. 2130-2131

If we are going meet God’s goal for the church, our church’s must practically reflect the unity of the body interracially, ethnically, denominationally, and by overcoming whatever else divides us.

One explicit aim: to display the glory of Christ through the ingathering of a hugely diverse and unified redeemed people. 2973-2974

Piper’s conclusion…

Our failures to love each other are rooted in our sin against God. When we are reconciled to God by the gospel of Christ, a new supernatural power enters our life, our family, our churches, and the world. This is the power of Jesus Christ alive within his people. The failings of the human heart that Jesus changes by the power of his gospel are the root causes of racial and ethnic disharmony— guilt, pride, hopelessness, paralyzing feelings of inferiority, greed, hate, fear, and apathy. Only one power in the world can conquer these and the supernatural influence of Satan, which is constantly at work in the world to escalate them to genocidal proportions— the power of the gospel. 3458-3463

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