When I was teaching at Wheaton College in the early 2000s, all the smart theology students seemed to want an internship at John Piper’s church. Since then, his influence has only grown. Piper has started his own in-house college and seminary, a model for how local churches can supplant universities in providing theological education. If secular media want to know the beating heart and zealous mind of the movement, they should look to Minneapolis.
So it’s no small matter that Piper has written a major new book on a signature subject, one he has dwelt on for more than seven decades: the glory of God as revealed in Scripture. His argument in A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness (Crossway) is straightforward: that God’s glory, attested to in Scripture, is self-authenticating. That is, it requires no external, extrabiblical validation. The Scriptures’ glory is that they reveal Jesus to us. And the peculiarity of that glory is a majesty revealed in meekness.
In other words, Piper is using Scripture to defend the reliability of Scripture, with supplementary glances at John Calvin and Jonathan Edwards. But as he admits, he cannot prove it conclusively. Only the Holy Spirit’s inner witness can show the fulsome glory of God in the Bible.
We Can Trust
It’s not any one understanding of biblical truth that Piper seizes upon and defends so much as the beauty of Scripture itself. There are, however, ideas he aims to set aside as unreliable. Piper worries about views of Scripture based on Pascal’s wager—the notion of believing in God because there is much to gain if the Bible is true and little to lose if it isn’t. He also worries about Kierkegaard’s ...1