Preacher Feature: John Piper
Theologian and retired pastor, John Piper, is perhaps the best known and most influential contemporary figure in the realm of Reformed Christianity. Very few pastors or Christian professors of any persuasion have had the kind of diverse reach as seen in Piper’s career and calling. Millions of Christians have benefitted from his sermons, classroom instruction, books, and personal ministry.
Influence on Piper’s life began in his home in Greenville, South Carolina, where his father served as an itinerant evangelist reaching tens of thousands through preaching, radio, and correspondence Bible courses. Not only did Piper gain an appreciation of Christian values at an early age, he also learned how to communicate these values and the message of the Gospel from his father.
Piper’s Christian home environment and example of his father sparked a fire in his heart to study the Bible at an academic level, but not one divorced from his faith. Even now when reading his sermons and books, one can see the well-rounded approach of Piper’s exegesis, owing no doubt to his undergrad degree in Literature and Philosophy from Wheaton. Afterwards, Piper completed a Divinity degree at Fuller and a doctorate in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich.
With his formal academic preparation behind him, John Piper naturally felt the desire to teach, and he became an increasingly popular professor of Biblical Studies at Bethel College where he taught for six years. Despite his academic background and success in the classroom, Piper’s sensitivity to God’s calling in his life made him realize that he was not destined to spend his entire vocational life in a lecture hall.
God had called Piper to preach the Gospel. In this phase of Piper’s life, God used him mightily and gave him influence not just in Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where he served for over three decades, but to an audience of millions around the globe. Piper preached his last sermon at Bethlehem Baptist in 2013, but he continues to write, speak, and invest in the lives of young pastors.
As well known as John Piper is, he has remained humble about his accomplishments. He always admonishes his hearers to point to God’s glory instead of themselves in any area of Christian service.
The John Piper Sermon Manuscript Library presents 1,300 sermon manuscripts preached over more than 30 years, from 1980 into 2010.
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