Calvinism, they say, is making a comeback. But poetry? We rarely hear traditional poems today, apart from rhyming couplets in songs or greeting cards or spoken-word pieces with a beat. So I am thankful to hear and watch this robust, life-giving poem from John Piper—read by Piper with the help of friends Matt Chandler, R. C. Sproul, D. A. Carson, Thabiti Anyabwile, Alistair Begg, and Sinclair Ferguson—showing that Calvinism is not an arcane point of theology but a tough-and-tender approach to all of life before the face of God.

You can watch it below or read it here.

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13 thoughts on “John Piper’s New Poem and Video: “The Calvinist””

  1. Keith Miller says:

    Fantastic job, very moving video, and the echo of my heart. Oh that those around us will see that our God is great! Thank you John Piper, and thank you to all who contributed to this video.

  2. Rachael Starke says:

    Beautiful. Thank you.

  3. Young says:

    Gain!

    The heaviness of theology that lies behind that one simple word…simply amazing!

  4. Chris Martin says:

    This was beautiful and convicting. It’s so eye-opening to hear a description of the christian put in poetic terms rather than stark literal wording. I wonder though: Could it have just been called ‘The Christian’? Is there anything exclusively Calvinist about the description of the man in the poem?

    Thanks for posting, Justin.

  5. Matt Mason says:

    Video was very well done. Loved the poetry. I agree with Chris, were the markers in the video exclusive to Calvinists? While an encouragement to Calvinists, it could prove to be more divisive for those of other theological persuasions.

    1. Thomas Swope says:

      I see the point of calling it the Calvinist, since Piper believes the greatest view of God’s sovereignty would be described by a person who holds to the 5 points, but, I totally agree with you. Just call it “the Christian” and reach far more people with it. Then again, it will probably spur some people to study out their positions more? God is sovereign :) Beautiful poem. I will listen to and read it often. Thank you John Piper.

  6. Hannah says:

    Lovely poem…I think though it describes the life of any Christian who’s faithfully following Christ. That said, I don’t identify as Calvinist, and I know many Calvinists are portrayed as sour people, and not without reason unfortunately. I would really like to meet more Calvinists like the one in the video…

    1. DCHammer says:

      Hannah, Agree, kind of, Calvinism is just an awkward way of saying “faithfully following Christ” in an intentional and critically thoughtful way.

  7. Derek Jimenez says:

    Beautiful poem but credit must also be given to the cinematographer and the person who wrote the music. Both added so much to the overall artistic look and sound to the video and did a great job.

    I agree that “The Christian” or something of that nature would have been a better title as the thoughts and sentiments shared in the poem are not only experienced by Calvinists.

  8. I greatly appreciate John Piper and this is a lovely poem flowing out of his life. Now I may be missing something, but I failed to see what in this poem distinguishes the Calvinist from Arminians like myself. I think that it could have been entitled “The Arminian.”

  9. Christopher de Vidal says:

    I think I know why this is called “The Calvinist” and not “The Christian.” But before I answer, please allow me to introduce myself: I am a former Arminian Christian and to this day I still share some doctrines. I have many Arminian friends and would gladly attend a Spirit-filled Arminian church if it were my best choice. I have much respect for godly Arminian preachers, and I could go on.

    I think the lines, “Driven by the fame of his Father’s name” make this uniquely Calvinist. I’ve spoke with and listened to many, many non-Calvinists both before and after coming to agree with most of Calvinist soteriology. (Don’t call me a Calvinist.) It is my impression that the fame of the Father is not the primary drive in what they do. Gratefulness to Jesus, or love of man seems to drive them, but it was Piper who first introduced me to this primary drive, and it was paradigm-shifting. Lots of Bible opened up when I saw that. I’ve still since rarely seen it in others except those who agree with Calvinism. (I know of only one possible exception.)

    That’s not to disparage the others, especially the godly ones (wow to be mentored by a Wesley or a Wilkerson!) it’s just that they’re missing some great gold in the Scriptures. They’re not heretics, they’re just missing the potential for great power in their lives.

    So perhaps those lines are what make this poem uniquely Calvinist.

  10. Jerre Moore says:

    It’s a beautiful poem but it’s really about a Christian. The experience expressed is not unique to Calvinists. Labels divide and it is becoming more in all denominations as the Calvinists voice grows louder. The responsibility of man and the sovereignty of God are both taught in scripture from Gen. to Rev and are both true. Ultimately, only God can explain how the two truths merge in eternity. Let’s not let these two truths divide us until we know fully all truth.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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