Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
STR 2:2 (Winter 2011) p. 181
John Piper. Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010). 224 pp. Hardback. ISBN: 978–1-4335–2071- 6. $19.99. Hardback.
John Piper’s Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God rolled off the press at the same time as Alister McGrath’s The Passionate Intellect: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind, Bradley Green’s The Gospel and the Mind: Recovering and Shaping the Intellectual Life, and several other books were being published on the life of the mind. In spite of a glut in the “life of the mind” market, however, Piper manages to write a uniquely helpful little book.
The book is composed of thirteen chapters which fall under eight major headings. Piper begins by clarifying his aim in writing the book. In the Introduction, he makes clear that the book is intended to challenge God’s people to embrace serious thinking as a way of knowing and loving God, and loving his people. In the first chapter, Piper tells a bit of his own intellectual pilgrimage as an entry into the subject matter, and as an encouragement to the reader. In the second chapter, he shows how Jonathan Edwards grounded the task of thinking in the Trinitarian nature of God and declared that the aim of thinking is to awaken the affections by means of comprehending truth.
In the third chapter, Piper clarifies the meaning of thinking by arguing that God has declared himself in the Bible, that we know God through the Bible, and that the Bible enables us to expand outwardly, thinking about any and all dimensions of life. The fourth and fifth chapters argue that thinking is vital to the process of coming to faith in Christ, while the sixth chapter explores the role of thinking in loving God. Piper avers that to love God is to treasure him, and to treasure him with the mind means to comprehend his truth, his infinite worth, and his all- encompassing beauty. For Christians, therefore, “our thinking should be wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things” (83).
Over the course of the next six chapters, Piper targets relativism and anti- intellectualism. In the seventh and eighth chapters, he argues that relativism fails
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intellectually and morally. In particular, relativism commits treason against God, creates intellectual duplicity, conceals doctrinal defection, cloaks greed with flattery, cloaks pride with the guise of humility, enslaves people, puts them in bondage, and eventually leads to totalitarianism. In the ninth through eleventh chapters, Piper takes aim at the anti-intellectualism that characterizes vast swathes of American...
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