Faith and Reason – Pastor John Piper

This 60 minute sermon was given at the Ligonier 2007 Conference and is drawn from Pastor John Piper’s meditation on Scriptures (rather than using apologetics). The text used is Matthew 16:1-4 – And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven. 2 He answered them,“When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ 3 And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

The sermon consists of 3 parts-

  1. Contemplating Reason
  2. Contemplating Faith and its Nature
  3. How they relate to each other

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You can also listen to audio or read a related sermon on faith and reason here at DesiringGod.org. In this sermon Pastor Piper considers six observations from the text.

John Piper:

Our theme is faith and reason. We’ll begin with reflections on reason and then on faith and then on the relationship between the two in the awakening of saving faith.

Reflection on Reason

Let’s begin our reflection on reason by looking at Matthew 16:1-4.

And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and to test him they asked him to show them a sign from heaven [in other words, some evidence that would help them believe]. He answered them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” So he left them and departed.

When I was in seminary, there was much talk about Hellenistic thinking versus Hebraic thinking. An example of Hellenistic (or Greek) thinking would be Aristotelian logic, which has the syllogism at its foundation: “All men are mortal; Plato is a man; therefore, Plato is mortal.”1 The point of this distinction between Hebraic and Hellenistic was that the Bible tends to be Hebraic, but we tend to be the heirs of Hellenistic thinking. So if one uses Aristotelian logic in understanding the Scriptures, one is presumably historically uninformed. The Bible does not have its roots in linear, Aristotelian (sometimes called “western”) logic, they said, but in relational, experiential knowledge.

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