A few initial thoughts that pop into my head as I read:
Firstly: This is no prosperity gospel!!! I can assure you of that. The same man who wrote the above blog also preached this:
(or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTc_FoELt8s&feature=related if the video is not working, which it isn't at the moment)
...which is pretty hard hitting, but makes it very clear John Piper does not preach a prosperity Gospel!
I see your point though, but if you read my earlier blog, which this post is a response to, my initial direction was that we should not be pre-occupied with the blessing/reward. I highlighted a bit of the above writings of JP which said it much better than I did! I think if our sole motivation is the reward, then we should start worrying...but I’m sure this is not what JP is saying, and neither I.
As Lewis (see earlier post which inspired these last few blogs) also writes, God is to be obey on the basis of simply who He is. He goes onto say how:
“God is such that if (per impossibile) his power could vanish and His other attributes remain, so that the supreme right were forever robbed of the supreme might, we should still owe Him precisely the same kind and degree of allegiance as we do right now”
Pg 185, Surprised by Joy
So (not wanting to get too caught up in Lewis’ quote) what comes first in all this is God’s glory.
It is not a case of needing/wanting to be happy and stumbling upon that in Christianity. We are however, built to be happy, and as Piper says, “obeying God is the only route to final and lasting happiness”. Piper writes more extensively in his well-known and read book ‘Desiring God’ that “The chief end of man is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever”. I strongly encourage you Ian (and everyone else!) to get hold of a copy of this book and have a read.
In fact, I have a spare copy, and will give it to someone who promises to read it! But yes, our purpose in life is not to be happy and have great comfort –that’s not the picture we get from the Bible, or indeed the verse I’ve put below! I was also blogging about Hebrews (the book) a few weeks back, and especially Chapter 11, where these great examples of the faith “did not receive what had been promised”.
One other thought:
40 and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. 42 And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.
Nothing much to say, it just popped into my head!
I’m not sure if I’ve answered any of your points, or put my thoughts across well, but what I would strongly suggest is to put the blog from Piper needs to be taken in context, and read his book ‘Desiring God’. It’s probably worth noting he’s no crazy American randomer with some controversial thing to say, but a man searching after God with his whole heart, committed to Biblical truth, and has a reputation for being ‘solid’!
Ps. I hope you don't mind me making a post out of this! It just seemed easier... :) Let me know your thoughts.
Also check out Will Eley's post http://sirkeiserwillhelm.blogspot.com/2009/05/idol-chatter.html for more on Idols and Satisfaction in God....