image Christian hedonism is the truth that, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”  John Piper in Desiring God: Mediations of a Christian Hedonist explains further:

We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love and praise what we admire, our joy would not be full.  So if God loves us enough to make our joy full, He must not only give us Himself; He must also win from us the praise of our hearts—not because He needs to shore up some weakness in Himself or compensate for some deficiency, but because He loves us and seeks the fullness of our joy that can be found only in knowing and praising Him, the most magnificent of all Beings, (pg. 49).

This is also expressed at the beginning of The Westminster Shorter Catechism when it asks, what is the chief end of man?  “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”  When we enjoy Him, He is glorified in us.

5 comments
  1. What’s the point of getting all caught up in complex semantics that are preoccupied with personal satisfaction? This is precisely the opposite of the message of Christ, that other are more important than the self. Even the adherent’s of this bizarre theology can’t escape its anti-Christian implications an actually call it “hedonism” unabashedly. I’m quite perplexed here. It sounds dangerously close to egoism, and that is a very thin razor’s edge to walk. Why not just be content with the commonsense theory that other people more important than oneself?

    1. We’re probably missing the context here – the whole point is that our satisfaction is with Him… therefore He is glorified.

      If the focus is our pleasure I’d agree with you, but it isn’t. It’s God.

      1. I agree that the focus should be on God, and that’s precisely my criticism of Christian Hedonism. It places the focus on the self over God, as if our satisfaction with God is what is important. It isn’t our satisfaction with Him, it’s His satisfaction with us that we ought to be concerned about. If we achieve some joy through doing God’s will it is only as a happy byproduct of a duty that is present irrespective of our own personal satisfaction. We’d owe the same duty to God even if it left unsatisfied (as it often does!).

        That’s where I think the danger of Christian Hedonism lies. If we are expecting to be fulfilled through God, as if God’s purpose is to give us pleasure, then what are we to make of the “long dark night of the soul?” Where is our cross? Christian Hedonism has no way to account for all the worldly unhappiness that necessarily comes from living up to God’s expectations, and therefore runs the risk of leading us down the wrong path of assuming that God will always give us pleasure.

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