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Piper, John (1946-) | Archival Collections at Wheaton College

Name: Piper, John (1946-)

Historical Note:

John Stephen Piper was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to William Solomon Hottle Piper (1919-2007) and Ruth Eulalia Mohn Piper (1918-1974) on January 11, 1946.  When John and his older sister, Beverly (three years his senior), were still young, the Pipers moved to Greenville, South Carolina where John spent the rest of his youth and graduated from Wade Hampton High School. His father was an itinerant evangelist who ministered through international radio and Bible courses.

At Wheaton College (1964-68), John majored in Literature and minored in Philosophy. Studying Romantic Literature with Clyde Kilby stimulated the poetic side of his nature and today he regularly writes poems to celebrate special family occasions as well as composing story-poems (based on the life of a Biblical character) for his congregation during the four weeks of Advent each year.  At Wheaton, John also met Noël Henry whom he married in 1968.

Following college he completed a Bachelor of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (1968-71). While at Fuller he took several courses from Daniel Fuller and through him discovered the writings of Jonathan Edwards.

John did his doctoral work (D.theol) in New Testament Studies at the University of Munich, Munich, West Germany (1971-74), under Leonhard Goppelt. His dissertation, Love Your Enemies, was published by Cambridge University Press and Baker Book House. Upon completion of his doctorate, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota for six years (1974-80).

In 1980, after what he described as an irresistible call of the Lord to preach, John became the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he was Pastor for Preaching and Vision until 2013. He is also the founder and teacher of DesiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary.

Piper was catapulted onto the evangelical scene after the publication of his book Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist (1986) and has continued to publish dozens of other books further articulating this theological perspectives regarding Reformed Calvinist theology and Christian Hedonism. In 1994, he founded Desiring God Ministries, which today provides free online access to Piper's sermons, articles, and books from the past three decades.

John and his wife, Noël, have four sons, one adopted daughter, and twelve grandchildren.



Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections staff

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