John Piper: The Making of a Christian Hedonist
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JOHN PIPER: THE MAKING OF A CHRISTIAN HEDONIST Justin Gerald Taylor, Ph.D. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2015 Chair: Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin This dissertation on noted pastor and author John Piper (1946- ) constitutes an early effort in the field of intellectual biography, tracing four key influences--in roughly chronological order--upon Piper's life and theology. Those with primary influence in Piper's formative years were his parents, William S. H. Piper (1919-2007) and Ruth Mohn Piper (1918-1974), who exhibited a unique combination of joyful fundamentalism. Piper's next major influence was C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), discovered during his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, who introduced him to romantic rationalism. Piper's first teacher at Fuller Seminary was Daniel P. Fuller (1925- ), a hermeneutics professor who planted the seeds of Christian hedonism and who gave him a love for exegetical biblicism. It was during these seminary days and into his time of doctoral study that Piper discovered Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758), whose affectional Calvinism would go on to shape Piper's theology more than anyone else. Piper's three primary venues of ministerial vocation--teaching, preaching, and writing--are all examined to reveal the ways in which each of these influencers played various roles in Piper's development of Christian hedonism and his distinct contribution to a theology of the Christian life. The dissertation concludes with two applications of the foregoing analysis, exploring how Piper uses Scripture and how he appropriates church history for pastoral ends. Also included is a comprehensive bibliography of Piper's published works (1971-2015).