Category Archives: John Piper

Glossalalia

For those who come down on the side of cessation, meaning the miraculous gifts – particularly (for this post) the gifts of praying or speaking in tongues – died with the last apostle, they might want to reconsider using the example of our Lord not speaking in a heavenly language. Sorry, but He did. He even said He did.*

The Rabbi from Heaven said “I do not come using My own words, but the Words of My Father Who is in heaven.” He declared that He never said anything unless the Father told Him what words to use.

Such was the revolutionary impact of this aspect of Jesus’ ministry that when He spoke, the people marvelled. They were astonished. Blown away. Left scratching their heads.

Who is this Man?

What are these words?

Rabbis in Jesus’ day – and in preceding and succeeding centuries – never spoke truth directly from God the Father. They only quoted from the patriarchs and their ancient rock star priests and respected lineage of famous rabbis. To deviate was heresy, so all church leaders played it safe and, well, predictable.

Their sermons may as well have been in quotation marks because they were deaf and dumb to what God was saying and wouldn’t know an original thought if one hit them in the mouth. So they quoted the old guys. They held to tradition. They stuck to the party line. And the people yawned.

Along comes a dusty-sandaled preacher who expounds to the people,

“You’ve all heard it before, many times over, ad nauseum, but those teachers and priests of the Law do not know the Lawgiver. I know Him. Indeed, I have been sent by I AM to declare these things to you. These are the words of My Father, not My own. If you have ears to hear, then you will understand and find Life everlasting. Those who refuse to hear will only hear gibberish and will die in their sins.”

Did you hear what He just said?

We’ve never heard such language!

He’s a drunk and a glutton! He spends his time with publicans and sinners! It’s just slurred speech from wine and spirits!

But He told me everything about my life!

He just spoke a word and thousands of demons released me! I’m free!

Then he’s working for the devil!

What?!?!

But it wasn’t only Jesus who spoke the words of His Father, His followers could blurt out a phrase of heavenly language here and there on occasion. SCENE: Early First century. Mountain. Northern Galilee. An array of men are gathered with their spiritual Leader. They are standing in the middle of an outdoor temple of pagan gods and the Leader – Who is God enfleshed – quizzes His men: am I one of many gods? Am I an important historical figure? Am I a prophet risen from the dead? Who am I?

Then an unglazed, unfazed, purely lucid Peter moves with an “I’ll take this” bravado.

“YOU ARE THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD.”

Glossalalia.

Jesus breaks into an impossibly large and gleaming smile. I recognize that language, He says to Himself, I speak it all the time.

He blesses Peter for yielding to the God of Heaven and speaking Kingdom truth, previously unlearned. “You didn’t learn those words at your daddy’s knee, Simon. You just spoke the words the Father gave you, from Truth He showed you!”

Then our Lord probably added: “That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” (but only if the Father told Him to say it)

Quoting Kingdom truth from other heroes of the faith is not this glossalalia. This only comes from personally spending time with the Author of our faith, not some best-selling author who’s the hottest name in the Christian market.

Where is the conversation that is fraught with downloaded revelation? But way too often we quote from Chan or Giglio or Beth Moore or Keller or Piper or Murray, Lewis, Calvin, Tozer and Chambers. These servants of the Most High are great and holy and, because we quote them, clearly download(ed) Kingdom truth for themselves…from the Source.

We do a lot of quoting because we have forgotten the words, or are too lazy or prideful to learn them.

I think glossalalia – whichever side you fall down on – has to also be understood in the light of Kingdom Truth learned FIRST-HAND, not acquired through the natural means of our eyes or ears. The mysteries of the Kingdom can only be known spiritually, that is, when it is deposited into a man or woman’s spirit first, not one’s natural mind. There are so many more words! There are many undiscovered-as-yet mysteries! If we think we’ve exhausted the alphabet of the Alpha and Omega, we are deceived!

It is the glory of God to conceal things…but the glory of kings is to search things out.
(Proverbs 25:2)

This requires spending time, not with devotional books and other helps, but with the open Scriptures, an accessible heart and a teachable will. Do this and you’ll be speaking in a heavenly language in no time.

Now, my reader, where have I missed it?
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*John 5:19,20; 14:10
**John 5:38,39

This Is That

When’s the last sermon you’ve heard on the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

I’ll wait.

Can’t remember the last time? Why is it that the church is so ill-equipped with this precious and powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit? Have our doctrines become iron gates so as to occlude our entering in to the secret place where divinely inestimable treasures are kept?

These treasures are for us – for our employment and our enjoyment.

Martin Lloyd-Jones described himself as a Calvinistic-Methodist, influenced both by the unadulterated exposition of Whitefield and Wesley’s ministry of the burning heart. He preached a subsequent work of the Holy Spirit for any of God’s children who ask (see Luke 11:11-13), which may or may not be accompanied by phenomenon we see in Acts. For the record, I am in his tribe.

Here is how the venerable Lloyd-Jones describes this amazing love-gift from God:

Alluding to the teaching of Puritan Thomas Goodwin, Lloyd-Jones said,

A father is walking down the road with his son’s hand in his own and the child is enjoying the presence of his father and knows that he is loved. Then, without the child doing anything special, moved only by the father’s love, the father reaches down and scoops his son off his feet and up into his arms. He hugs the child tightly, showers him with kisses, tells him he loves him more than life itself and sets him down again. The child already knew his father loved him, there was no doubt. But oh the added measure of assurance, the joy of knowing that love is not based on anything you have done but simply flows out of the heart of the father. That is what it means to have God near.

*

John Piper, citing this reference, said,

I think this is basically what happened at Pentecost. And has happened again and again in the life of the church.
— John Piper: You Shall Receive Power, 1990

Are we so afraid that our people can’t handle this added measure of love from God?

This is criminal, if you ask me. During the Middle Ages, Catholicism deemed it illegal for the common person to have access to Bibles. Catholic apologists say it was to stem the tide of heresy, but their own practices were heretical! Wittenberg Door, anyone? So committed to their laws were they that the scriptures were actually chained to the pulpits!

Is this like that?

I am grateful for this subsequent work of the Spirit for life and ministry. For the life of me, I don’t know where I would be without His sweet bathings. Let’s not memorialize Pentecost as if it was a one-time event never to be reproduced, when the truth is, there have been many fillings and (oh, let’s just say it) baptisms, with many yet to come!

D.L. Moody said of his own experience,

I was crying all the time that God would fill me with His Spirit. Well, one day, in the city of New York — oh, what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it; it is almost too sacred an experience to name. Paul had an experience of which he never spoke for fourteen years. I can only say that God revealed Himself to me, and I had such an experience of His love that I had to ask Him to stay His hand.

Are you hungry?

Thirsty?

Ask – with a pure heart, yes – but do ask.

And get ready to be swept up in the arms of grace.

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*Joy Unspeakable, David Martyn-Lloyd Jones

Fly On The Wall

John Piper and Rick Warren, two of the most influential pastors of our day, sit down to a small round-table and have an hour and a half chat. Piper does the asking, and, according to his stated purpose (pun intended?), desires (another pun?) some clarification from Pastor Warren regarding the doctrines he is most known for, made popular in his book, The Purpose-Driven Life:

My aim in this interview is to bring out and clarify what Rick Warren believes about these biblical doctrines. In doing this my hope is that the thousands of pastors and lay people who look to Rick for inspiration and wisdom will see the profound place that doctrine has in his mind and heart.

This is a marvelous dialogue; it allows us the chance to be flies on the wall as these men pick each other’s brains about such matters as Larry King (24:14), Election (27:00), the Gospel (38:53), and Hell (61:03). For my dollar, Piper’s charge to Warren at the end is priceless and insightful (88:10).

For the entire interview (98 minutes), click here. Here’s a sampling:

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