Last summer, John Piper spoke at the Co-Mission weekend meetings called Revive in Canterbury, England. This is a church planting movement in greater London. Those messages were expanded roughly three-fold to become Living in The Light: Money, Sex & Power. Even still, it’s a relatively small book, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth checking out.
Obviously, the subtitle of the book gives you an idea what the subject matter is. What is less obvious is how they are connected. Piper explains,
- Power is a capacity to pursue what you value
- Money is a cultural symbol that can be exchanged in pursuit of what you value
- Sex is one of the pleasures that people value, and the pursuit of it
He then concludes, “Therefore power, money and sex are all God-given means of showing what you value. They are all (like other created reality in the universe) given by God as means of worship – that is, as means of magnifying what is of supreme worth to you” (20).
With this connection made, Piper then turns to Romans 1 to retrieve a diagnostic on the human heart. Since money, sex, and power show what we worship, it is only fitting to use the passage in Romans about disordered worship to shed light on the situation.
In successive chapters, Piper applies his pastoral heart and analytical mind to sex, money, and finally power. He then offers two additional chapters that walk readers through deliverance from improper worship and how to re-orient our approach to this triumvirate. The first is more about taking money, sex, or power out of the center of your universe, whereas the latter is about how to keep them in their proper orbit, to use the metaphor Piper employs.
Because of how significant these subjects are in our culture, this is a book worth checking out. It is relatively short and could be read in a weekend. However, it more than likely introduces readers to what could be a life-time of wrestling with a proper view of money, sex, and power that sees goodness in each (something pointed out in the first chapter), but doesn’t bow to worship any of them. Piper doesn’t offer the final or only word on the topic (one thinks of Paul Tripp’s similar book). But he does offer his own very Piperian take on the topic, and that alone is worth checking out.
Read an excerpt
Visit the publisher’s page
Thanks to The Good Book Company for the review copy!