First let me say, it has been years since I’ve read John Piper; however, much to my frustration, Piper’s maxims are still stuck in my head. And therefore, frankly, I do not believe I need to go back and read him. Yes, I do believe there is little more to his theology than the surface of his maxims. Besides, there are far bigger and more important fish to fry — and I really need to finish this Hegel, Benjamin, and Theology of History paper. Still, while reading Hegel’s Intro to the Philosophy of World History, Piper popped into my mind. After spending more time in reflection than I am comfortable with, I’m pretty sure the best way to read John Piper is through Hegel’s sense of God-for-itself and glory. And frankly, such an association is rather damning. Case in point, I believe that the following quote fully comprehends and summarizes Piper’s anemic theology:
From the point of view of religion, the aim of both natural existence and spiritual activity is the glorification of God. Indeed, this is the worthiest end of the spirit and of history. The nature of the spirit is to make itself its own object and to comprehend itself.
Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of World History Introduction: Reason in History, Translated by H.B. Nisbet, pages 149-150.
Now, of course Piper would not be a good Hegelian. He wouldn’t subscribe to Hegel’s Trinitarian modalism (see Cyril O’Regan’s Heterodox Hegel) — Piper wouldn’t follow the philosophical nuances that ultimately define Hegel’s conception of divinity and revelation — and then again, Piper wouldn’t follow the leftists and their materialism. What I am saying here is that the best way to read Piper is through Hegel. And that should be all you need to know about Piper — he shares a narcissistic God with Hegel.