Monday, January 6, 2014

Personal to Me: "The Calvinist"

A few weeks before this past Thanksgiving, I came across the video recitation of John Piper's new poem "The Calvinist".  It had a personal effect on me, and just not because I am a calvinist theologically, or because John Piper has been like a "mentor from afar" for me, or because it was narrated by so many brothers that I have followed and learned from immensely over the years (who could not be moved by hearing Sinclair Ferguson read a line or two of poetry about God's creation being a sign of His great love in that fatherly Scottish voice?).  It was also not mainly moving to me because I am somehow a "cage-stage" calvinist (CLICK HERE), because I'm not.

I am in my 30's and reformed, but I was so before the new "Young, Restless, Reformed" movement had really started to roll (CLICK HERE).  I am Calvinistic in my soteriology (the theological doctrine of salvation emphasizing God's monergistic and sovereign work in salvation and redemption).  However, the video was powerfully moving for me because I think it emphasizes who I want to be, and how I want a particular doctrine (in this case reformed/calvinistic soteriology) to impact my life.  Several lines read, along with the accompanying video brought tears streaming down my face, because I desire to be more humble, trusting of God, and to live life with more "Hallowed Be Thy Name." 

I watched the video many times, not because I want the world to see Calvinism, but because I want to be more and more like the man in that video in regards to:

The Word: "Heaping on the pyre, Heed until the Fire"
My Thoughts: "Better thought preferred, Deep from in the Word"
My Outlook: "Driven by the fame of His Father's name"
My Trust in God:"Men will have His skills, if the Father wills"
My Humility: "Watch the helpless reap, but not credit take, just as when awake"
My Love for my Wife: "See him with his wife, parable for life.  In this sacred scene, she is heaven's queen"
My View of Death: "Through the ebbing pain: Final whisper, Gain!"

I cannot speak for John Piper.  I think his intent, or one of his intents behind this poem was to continue to expose Calvinism's greatest aim: the joyful enjoyment of a sovereign God.  When I watched this video, I was not filled with the pride of a theologically "right" person out to prove that Calvinism is the Biblical teaching.  On the contrary, I was filled with a new brokenness of sorts; a desire for more of a humble awe that is fleshed out in every arena of my life.  Some areas in which I am currently doing well, and others where my life denies the Reformed theology I claim to love.  Sometimes, I listen to, or read a few of the lines of the poem to remind me of how my theology should overwhelmingly be proved in my life...even in the littlest of moments.

Thanks Piper.  Once again you have called me, perhaps like Jonathan Edwards did for you, to see that what we cling to in our minds about God should move our actions and the core of our being...