Meet John Piper

From the moment he was born in 1946, John Piper was immersed in the world of ministry. His father, a powerful and respected Christian evangelist, traveled for weeks at a time "winning souls," while John and his sister stayed home with their mother in South Carolina. Piper’s earliest memories are of the joyful evenings when his father would return from a long crusade and the family would be reunited.

In a 1986 letter to his father, John reflects: "I can recall my mother laughing so hard at the dinner table that the tears ran down her face . . . She would glow on the Monday mornings when you were coming home. At the dinner table that night (these were the happiest of times in my memory) we would hear about the victories of the gospel. Surely it is more exciting to be the son of an evangelist than to sit with knights and warriors."

As John got older, he determined that he, too, would advance the cause of the gospel. When he came of age, he set out to pursue a career in ministry. He attended Wheaton College, where he majored in literature and minored in philosophy. Deeply inspired by a course in Romantic Literature, Piper began writing poetry—a practice he continues to this day. He also met his wife-to-be, Noël Henry. They were married in 1968.

John received his Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1971. While at Fuller, he took as many courses as he could from Dr. Daniel Fuller, the most influential "living" teacher in his life. He also discovered the writings of puritan theologian Jonathan Edwards—a fiery evangelist like his own father. Piper affectionately credits Edwards as his most influential "dead teacher."

After completing his doctorate at the University of Munich, Piper went on to teach Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He taught from 1974 to 1980. When he began to sense an irresistible call to preach, he accepted a position as senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. He has been ministering there ever since. He says, "I will probably never attain the fruitfulness of (my father’s) soul-winning life. Rather, I am a theologically oriented pastor. I love my people and cherish our life together in worship and ministry. But I am fairly analytic and given to study. The ministry of the Word is my...shepherd’s staff."

In addition to pastoring, John Piper has authored several influential bestsellers, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist; God’s Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards; and Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism (co-edited with Wayne Grudem).

Piper's recent books include Counted Righteous in Christ, Think About These Things, Don't Waste Your Life, The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God, The Hidden Smile of God, and What's the Difference: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible.

Piper is the head of Desiring God Ministries. He and Noël have five children.

(Facts are gathered from the Bethlehem Baptist Church Web site. Quotes are excerpted from Desiring God and God’s Passion for His Glory.)

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