Guest / Limited Access /

Nothing in her evangelical upbringing prepared Laura Watkins for John Piper.

"I was used to a very conversational preaching style," said Watkins, 21. "And having someone wave his arms and talk really loudly made me a little scared."

Watkins shouldn't be embarrassed. Piper does scare some people. It's probably his unrelenting intensity, demanding discipline, and singular passion—for the glory of God. Those themes resound in Desiring God, Piper's signature book. The pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis has sold more than 275,000 copies of Desiring God since 1986. Piper has personally taken his message of "Christian hedonism" to audiences around the world, such as the Passion conferences for college-age students. Passion attracted 40,000 students outside Memphis in 2000 and 18,000 to Nashville earlier this year.

Not all of these youth know Piper's theological particulars. But plenty do, and Piper, more than anyone else, has contributed to a resurgence of Reformed theology among young people. You can't miss the trend at some of the leading evangelical seminaries, like Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, which reports a significant Reformed uptick among students over the past 20 years. Or the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, now the largest Southern Baptist seminary and a Reformed hotbed. Piper, 60, has tinged the movement with the God-exalting intensity of Jonathan Edwards, the 18th-century Puritan pastor-theologian. Not since the decades after his death have evangelicals heaped such attention on Edwards.

Reformed theology often goes by the name Calvinism, after the renowned 16th-century Reformation theologian John Calvin. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedMeet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
Subscriber Access Only Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
J. R. Briggs sympathizes with church leaders who don't live up to expectations.
TrendingThree Views: Would Jesus Hang Out in a Strip Club?
Three Views: Would Jesus Hang Out in a Strip Club?
Testing the boundaries of outreach evangelism.
Editor's PickBehold Now 'The Behemoth'
Behold Now 'The Behemoth'
Introducing our new biweekly mix about a big God and his big world.
Comments
Christianity Today
Young, Restless, Reformed
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2006

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.