- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 4 hours and 44 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Crossway Audio
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 18 Nov. 2010
- Language: English
- ASIN: B004D4QK3U
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Think: The Life of Mind and the Love of God Audio Download – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
Although I found the book a little wordy at times, one cannot fail to understand and see Piper's heart that we, as the Church, recover rigorous intellectual life that honours Christ in every way.
Buy it, read it and give it away to friends for the glory of Christ.
However, Piper has a tendency throughout the book to get caught up in stale agendas and arguments to combat what he sees as the rise of relativism both within Christianity and society in general. He thus devotes two entire chapters to the subject of relativism, which could have been better used to write positively about the rise of scholarship within the Christian community in the past few decades.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The thesis and plea of Piper's "Think" is that Christians should "embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people." It's not exactly the thesis or plea you'd expect to hear from a Christian book on the mind, which would usually be something more like, "Oh no, the really brilliant atheists have captured the universities and the minds of our generation so we'd better find some even more brilliant Christians to outsmart and outthink them."
But Piper refuses to play this kind of mind game, in which the mind is seen as a largely academic and theoretical kind of faculty. Instead, Piper returns to his first love, which is the glory of God, especially as communicated through the theology of Jonathan Edwards. For Piper, thinking is not an end to itself and not primarily to do battle with atheistic thinking. Thinking is properly a whole person activity that leads us to fulfill the greatest commandment by loving God and loving neighbor. It is not a choice between head and heart for Piper, but a choice to employ both head and heart to know and love God and man.
Piper masterfully unfolds his plea for Christians to think in 13 chapters plus an Introduction. Along the way, Piper gives a lot of food for thought and has crystallized some of his best and most beneficial thoughts into insightful sentences:
Introduction - In the Introduction, Piper makes his plea to embrace thinking as a means of loving God and man and states that "the main reason God gives us minds is that we might seek out and find all the reasons that exist for treasuring him in all things and above all things."
Chapter 1 - My Introduction - is an autobiographical account of how Piper's passion to preach and be a pastor was ignited while thinking about Romans 9 for a book he was writing.
Chapter 2 - Deep Help from a Dead Friend - explores the idea that it is God's nature as the Trinity that is the foundation for human nature as head and heart, thinking and feeling, knowing and loving. He quotes Jonathan Edwards, who said, "God made the world that He might communicate, and the creature receive, His glory; and that it might [be] received both by the mind and heart."
Chapter 3 - Reading as Thinking - passionately presents reading as a most precious and amazing activity.
Chapter 4 - Mental Adultery is No Escape - provocatively argues that to not use the mind to know and glorify God is not only "mental adultery" but also "adulterous irrationality."
Chapter 5 - Rational Gospel/ Spiritual Light - finds Piper persuading the reader that the reason faith is what saves us is that (following the thought of J. Gresham Machen) faith means receiving something, not doing something or even being something. But in order to receive God by faith the mind must come to know God through the gospel and value Him (a kind of thinking) as the soul's and mind's greatest treasure.
Chapter 6 - Treasuring God with All Your Mind - does just what you think it will do.
Chapters 7 and 8 - both deal with Facing the Challenge of Relativism.
Chapter 9-11 - all deal with Facing the Challenge of Anti-intellectualism. Sadly, many American Christians don't see the need to think or use their minds because their religion is an emotional one. They might agree with Billy Sunday who said, "If I had a million dollars I'd give $999,999 to the church and $1 to education" or with D.L. Moody who said, "My theology! I didn't know I had any. I wish you would tell me what my theology is." Sadly (though Piper doesn't deal with this), most Christian Americans today have a very shallow theology but think they know they've worshiped God because they can feel it.
Chapter 12 - The Knowledge that Loves - finds Piper returning to his theme that "true knowing loves people" and "true knowing loves God."
Chapter 13 - All Scholarship is for the Love of God and Man - is yet another corrective Piper presents to the idea that scholarship is dry, esoteric, and removed from life.
Chapter 14 - Conclusion: A Final Plea. This may be the most important chapter of all because in it Piper challenges 2 groups of thinkers to think more lovingly. His plea to those who don't like to think is to: be thankful for thinkers, respect those who serve you by thinking, pray for vulnerable thinkers, avoid wrongheaded thinking, and read your Bible with joy. His plea to those who like to think is to: think consciously for the glory of Christ; become like children; enjoy the Word of God like gold and honey; and think for the sake of love.
"Think" is a thoughtful and soulful book that should be widely read. Pastors, professors, teachers, students, parents, and homeschoolers would benefit immensely from this brief but brilliant book. In fact, I can't think of a single category of Christian reader who wouldn't benefit from it. Highly recommended!
Dr. John Piper's newest book, Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God is a timely response to the rampant anti-intellectualism that lurks in the evangelical mind and has found lodging in many churches. His chief aim: "To encourage serious, faithful, humble thinking that leads to the true knowledge of God, which leads to loving him, which overflows in loving others." Ultimately, Piper argues that "loving God with the mind means that our thinking is wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things."
Piper carefully forges a path between anti-intellectualism and over-intellectualism. Both are problematic. The path that the author encourages is bolstered by two key passages:
Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything (2 Tim. 2:7, ESV).
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding;
yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures,
then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding (Prov. 2:1-6).
The author constructs a foundation for his argument that is anchored in the Trinitarian nature of God. He appeals to Jonathan Edwards' insight into God's "intra-Trinitarian" glory. Edwards writes, "God is glorified not only by His glory being seen, but by its being rejoiced in." So image-bearers must glorify God with both mind and heart. Piper repeatedly reminds readers that this is not an either-or proposition. It is a "both-and plea" for "the mind is mainly the servant of the heart. That is, the mind serves to know the truth that fuels the fires of the heart."
Piper challenges Christ-followers to see the correlation between reading and thinking. "Thinking" is described as "working hard with our minds to figure out meaning from texts." He challenges readers to fire questions at a given passage.
The author shows how people come to faith via thinking. It is a tricky but biblical sell because the unregenerate heart is stony and hard. The unconverted heart is depraved and darkened. And Piper reminds readers that "the corruption of our hearts is the deepest root of our irrationality."
Nevertheless, 2 Timothy 2:7 instructs us to "think." So Piper beautifully demonstrates the important role of reason and the necessity of God's role in "making the mind able to see and embrace truth." Again, this is not an either-or proposition. We think - The Holy Spirit illuminates.
Chapter five continues to outline the tension by explaining the rational Gospel and spiritual light. Piper utilizes 2 Cor. 4:4-6 to drive home the biblical idea that we come to faith through thinking, yet the "decisive ground of saving faith is God's gift of sight to the eyes of the heart."
Jesus calls us to love him with our mind. Piper explains that "our thinking should be wholly engaged to do all it can to awaken and express the heartfelt fullness of treasuring God above all things."
Chapters seven and eight prove to be the most helpful chapters in the book. Here Piper deals a deadly blow to the ever-popular philosophy of relativism. He carefully defines relativism and describes the motive behind the worldview: "People don't embrace relativism because it is philosophically satisfying. They embrace it because it is physically and emotionally gratifying. It provides the cover they need at key moments in their lives to do what they want without intrusion from absolutes."
The assault on relativism continues as Piper lays bare the fundamental flaws:
* Relativism commits treason
* Relativism cultivates duplicity
* Relativism often conceals doctrinal defection
* Relativism cloaks greed with flattery
* Relativism cloaks pride with the guise of humility
* Relativism enslaves people
* Relativism eventually leads to totalitarianism
The emperor's filthy garment is systematically removed, leaving his relativistic worldview exposed and defeated.
The author encourages readers to face the uphill challenge of anti-intellectualism by thinking God's thoughts after him and pursue knowledge as a treasure - all with the ultimate goal of loving God and loving people. This is a work that demands serious thought but the payoff is well worth it.
Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God is thoughtful, biblical and balanced. It is an invitation to a lifelong pursuit. It is a breath of fresh air. It cuts through the postmodern fog of uncertainty and leads the reader to a new and refreshing vista; a vista that promises fullness of joy and pleasures at God's right hand (Ps. 16:11).
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord
your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
Every thought, every gift, every word spoken or written, every good deed, ought to be evaluated in light of these verses. This calls us not to casual reflection, but to long and serious reflection. Part of that evaluation, according to this account is to evaluate the way we use our minds. There are two other passages that stand out as relevant in this effort:
(Luke 10:21) In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.
(1 Cor. 1:20) Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
In both passages, we are called to have a faith that is full of trust. Just as a young child implicitly trusts in their father or mother, so we too are called to trust in the Lord. We are not to have an attitude of pride, but of humility. This applies to our knowledge as well. Since God reveals himself to the humble child, we ought to humble ourselves before our Father. The so-called wise of this world will in the end be fools. Prideful knowledge will in the end lead to foolishness. To love God with our mind means to have a humble attitude in what we know. There is always more to learn. We need to be open to the correction of the Holy Spirit. God can use our knowledge to mold our character.
I will end with a quote from the book's foreward (Mark A. Noll) that I think encapsulates the main thrust of this book.
"The real life payoff from carefully examining such passages could hardly be more timely. Much in contemporary American life promotes sloppy thinking for human self-promotion. Much in conservative Christian churches promotes suspicion of modern learning or the use of reactionary emotion to replace thinking. Piper sets out the biblical alternative: thinking (as clearly as possible) linked with the affections (treasuring God as highest good); respect for the intellect with caution against intellectual pride; and commitment to diligent study with total reliance on God's grace. For believers, this is the way to go; for unbelievers, this is the way to life."
Piper encourages us to think, and to think well. There is no substitute for doing the hard work in this area. The end result will be as Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2:
"I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."