“The ministry of preaching is the central labor of my life. My prayer is that through that ministry and everything else I do the great glory of our God and Savior Jesus Christ would be magnified as more and more people come to live out the obedience of faith more and more deeply.”
John Piper was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee to Bill and Ruth Piper January 11, 1946. When John and his older sister were still young, the Pipers moved to Greenville, South Carolina where John spent the rest of his youth years. His father was an itinerant evangelist who ministered through international radio and Bible courses.
At Wheaton College (1964-68), John majored in Literature and minored in Philosophy. Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated the poetic side of his nature and today he regularly writes poems to celebrate special family occasions as well as composing story-poems (based on the life of a Biblical character) for his congregation during the four weeks of Advent each year. At Wheaton, John also met Noël Henry whom he married 1968. Following college he completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968-71). While at Fuller, John took as many courses as he could from Dr. Daniel Fuller, the most influential “living” teacher in his life. Through Dr. Fuller he discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards, his most influential “dead” teacher.
John did his doctoral work in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Munich, West Germany (1971-74). His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, was published by Cambridge University Press and Baker Book House. Upon completion of his doctorate he went on to teach Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for six years (1974-80).
In 1980, after what he described as an irresistible call of the Lord to preach, John became the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he faithfully pastored until 2012 when stepped down from to focus all of his attention to the various and robust ministries of Desiring God.
Why is he my number one living influence?
Simple. His book Desiring God changed my life in two very big ways. First God used the book to dramatically change my idea of joy, delight, pleasure, and happiness. I formally had thought of them in a side dish manner, and now I think of them as main dish entrees in the Christian life. Meaning this: God is most glorified in me, when I am most satisfied in Him. This truth has changed my life, and has shown me that my pursuit of joy in Jesus is the God-commanded number one pursuit of my entire life. This shapes everything I do, from preaching to praying to parenting.
Second, Piper’s book Desiring God opened my eyes to the wonders of Reformed Theology. Surprising that a book not on reformed theology would do such a thing, but it did because after I read it I began reading Piper’s other stuff, and my life took on a new worldview in a matter of a few years study. It was amazing, I am thankful, eternally happy and grateful to God for His mighty work through this sinner.
To look into John Piper for yourself, all one must do is go to Desiring God.
I dare you.