Highly Recommended. John Piper is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. He has authored numerous books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, and A Sweet and Bitter Providence.
John Piper is a prolific writer, and though there are many opinions out there regarding his books—that “they’re all the same,” or that he’s the modern-day Jonathan Edwards—this is a book that answers all his critics. Though it includes a chapter on the influence of Jonathan Edwards, Piper addresses a more original issue and nails it right on the head with this new book. He addresses both the sad thought culture of evangelicalism and the issue of philosophical relativism. Many believers are biblically illiterate and content with that due to a recent shift toward emotionalism in Christianity. Many a doctrine has been destroyed by emotionalist or moralist attitudes that run rampant and unchecked in churches today. Furthermore, many Christians believe in relativism: the belief that there is no objective truth in the world, not even from the Word of God. Piper exposes these hardened beliefs in his book and gives concrete, biblical support for his opinion. In Piper’s own words, this book was written for the sole purpose of rescuing the “victims of evangelical pragmatism, Pentecostal shortcuts, pietistic anti-intellectualism, pluralistic conviction aversion, academic gamesmanship, therapeutic Bible evasion, journalistic bite-sizing, musical mesmerizing, YouTube craving, and postmodern Jell-O juggling.” This book is through and through, biblical.
Piper also does a fair job of coming down the arrogant academic, the hot-headed scholar, and the indignant intellectuals. He is quick to clarify that logic is meant for love according to Matthew 7:12. As Piper put it, “This logic (genuine biblical knowledge) is not cold. It is a furnace driving the engine of love.” Thinking is not the end goal of knowledge and thinking, but rather loving God and loving people. How has God called us to use this gift of mind?—this distinction is important and one that will be penetrating for any reader that picks up this book.
Using two verses that stand as the pillars of Christian anti-intellectualism, Luke 10:21 and 1 Corinthians 1:20-24, Piper firmly refutes those false claims that say these passages endorse anti-intellectual attitudes. He then takes off into a expositional examination of each passage, pulling in supporting passages that beautifully illustrate the unity and clarity of Scripture regarding this subject. It is remarkable to see how harmoniously Jesus and Paul both speak of wisdom and the Christian thought life. It’s quite convicting, actually.
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God made me want to stand and cheer in agreement about the importance of thoroughness and clarity in our contemporary treatment of our thought life. Unfortunately, those who need this book probably won’t read it, and those who read it are probably well on their way to being thoughtful about their faith—this seems to be the habit of society. Still, this is a worthwhile book to read and internalize. This issue, though a timeless one, is dominant and pervasive in our secular culture and has seeped into our churches. Hopefully this book will challenge us to be better stewards of our minds as they are essential to the glory of God.