Thursday, January 12, 2006

John Piper’s Letter

I am sure you are well aware by now of John Piper’s cancer. It has been good to see so many expressing concern and praying. I want to point out here his letter to his church which announced the cancer. You may have already read it. When I read it last week I was especially struck with his discussion of how and why this was good for him and for the church. He writes:

This news has, of course, been good for me. The most dangerous thing in the world is the sin of self-reliance and the stupor of worldliness. The news of cancer has a wonderfully blasting effect on both. I thank God for that. The times with Christ in these days have been unusually sweet.

When I first read the letter, I was lost at first for the referent to ‘this news.’ I wondered if it was referring to the immediately preceding paragraph about recovery time, etc. Then as I read on I understood he meant that the news of having cancer was good for him! To say that in such sincerity is a powerful example of grace at work and maturity lived out. This letter is a good example of pastoral leadership in the midst of difficulty and suffering. Here is a model for us to learn from.


the Marshall's said...

I had the same reaction, Ray. I felt my heart sink a little when I first read his letter and the word "cancer". But, then when I read the part about it "of course being good for him," I was immediately convicted as I always am when I read/hear something from Piper.

Barry L Wallace said...

Hi, Ray. That paragraph struck me with great force when I read it. I told my Sunday School class that if you are a Christian who's determined to glorify God in any and every situation, "That's how you handle a diagnosis of cancer."

Spencer Haygood said...

Well said, Ray. Piper's testimony now to the truth of what he's preached for so long is refreshing in the midst of the plausibility crisis the church as a whole faces in our culture.

Spencer Haygood

PS - Glad to find your blog. I've added it to my list over at

Ray Van Neste said...

Hey Spencer,

Good to hear from you. I enjoyed checking out your site- both of them.

J.Hartig said...

Thanks for this post. It has been of particular, timely, personal value to me.

I found this quote on the website from an "Open Letter on the selection of Leadership for the Churches" describing character qualities for leaders:
9. Acquainted with Grief. Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, he should be fully aware that his own sufferings are designed by God for the good of the flock, even their salvation.

It was accompanied by a reference to 2 Cor. 1:6 "If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation..."


Ray Van Neste said...

Great to hear from you! And great quote. Denker has relayed to me your recent events. I am sorry. If you look to come this way, let me know.