A lot of people don’t like John Piper because of his strong adherence to Calvinism. And that’s okay. Calvinism is really a non-issue. The whole philosophy behind modern Calvinism (or “New Calvinism”) is that it’s trying to answer some very deep questions (questions that only “enlightened” Westerners seem to be asking) about the nature of God and His plan for salvation (correctly answering or not?)–questions that don’t need to be answered in order for one to obtain or understand God’s salvation. Most of the time, when I hear people obsessing about Calvinism, it’s obvious they don’t know what they’re talking about–they are just forming fractured opinions based on little bits and pieces of teachings they’ve heard from this pastor or that pastor.
The philosophy of Calvinism arose at the time of the Reformation, so to even begin to understand it you have to place it within its historical context. To fully understand what Calvinism is you have to look back 450 years, and read everything John Calvin wrote. You have to read his writings and then study the historical period in which they were written. You have to ask the questions: Why did Calvin write what he did? Who was he writing it to? What was his motivation? Who were his enemies? What were his politics? Etc… And then you have to take all of that, and search the Word of God to see if any of it is true or not. John Piper would say that he has indeed done all of this (and even in the original Latin, Greek and Hebrew) and as a result has voted yes for Calvinism. So be it.
If your only reason for not listening to Piper is because of his Calvinism (in relation to your supposed understanding of Calvinism), then I’d say you’re missing out. Piper is one of the most passionate preachers alive today. He has helped me to begin to see God as my number one reason for everything in life. He has given me a much greater appreciation for the deep truths of God and the Gospel. He has challenged me to dig deeper into God’s word. He has inspired me to get out and do something. He has forced me to fight for joy.
He is also a great advocate for missions. As seen in the examples below…