Engaging Piper’s New Book: Are Affections Part of Saving Faith?

“Piper’s most recent book, What Is Saving Faith?: Reflections on Receiving Christ as a Treasure…. Piper argues for his ‘affectional’ understanding of saving faith…. treasuring Christ is an affectional ‘act of faith,’ not in the sense of an action that results from faith, but as one of the ‘actings that constitute what faith is.’” - TGC


Emphasis added…

just as the Scripture is clear about faith’s importance, it’s also clear about continuing to grow in our walk with Christ, putting on new measures of godliness. Piper’s view can easily demand a radically mature relationship from its very start, namely by demanding the type of affections that are meant to accompany faith but grow and increase over time be fully present from its inception. When Piper addressed sanctification in Future Grace (read the Themelios review), the same affectional demand was present there, yet the prospect of progressive growth in our life of godliness didn’t feature prominently there or in this newest book. Rather, the attention was on what affection we need to have now to overcome temptation in the present moment.

Although this is not wholly inaccurate, believers often need help taking steps in sanctification, frequently failing most when they perceive sanctification to be “all or nothing” rather than progressive. We need more focus on helping people grow in the Christian life.

I’ve always believed the “whole person” is involved in turning from sin to Christ. It does seem perilous to isolate one piece of that and strongly emphasize it—or, worse, make it into the whole. I don’t know if the latter is Piper’s intent, but it may be how the idea filters down and takes shape where people are preaching and teaching and evangelizing. (For what it’s worth, I see a similar part-whole problem in Desiring God. Authors often get so excited about one compelling idea that they start to move all the furniture around to make it the center of everything… when it’s really just one of multiple important realities.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.