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
Also in this Issue
Subscriber Access Only Inside C.S. Lewis's Toolbox
C.S. Lewis's Case for Christ
Current IssueHow I Found Healing for My Spiritual Blindness
Subscriber Access Only How I Found Healing for My Spiritual Blindness
Discovering hope and healing for fallible followers through Jesus’ faithfulness in the Gospel of Mark.
Current IssueMeet the Churches Engaging—and  Keeping—Young People
Subscriber Access Only
Meet the Churches Engaging—and Keeping—Young People
A study of 250 congregations suggests that engaging youth and young adults has little to do with style and everything to do with substance.
RecommendedWhy Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump
In the face of a candidate’s antics, ‘America’s Pastor’ speaks out.
TrendingPutting the Fear of God in the Fashion Industry
Putting the Fear of God in the Fashion Industry
Menswear creator Jerry Lorenzo wears his faith on his sleeve.
Editor's PickEvangelicals and Race—A New Chapter
Evangelicals and Race—A New Chapter
Why racial justice and reconciliation are now core for the movement.
Christianity Today
Young, Restless, Reformed
hide thisSeptember September

In the Magazine

September 2006

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