I have three sons. Every night after they are asleep I turn on the hall light, open their bedroom door, and walk from bed to bed, laying my hands on them and praying. Often I am moved to tears of joy and longing. I pray that Karsten Luke become a great physician of the soul, that Benjamin John become the beloved son of my right hand in the gospel, and that Abraham Christian give glory to God as he grows strong in his faith.Here is the link for the whole article.
But I am not ignorant that God may not have chosen my sons for his sons. And-, though I think I would give my life for their salvation, if they should be lost to me, I would not rail against the Almighty. He is God. I am but a man. The potter has absolute rights over the clay. Mine is to bow before his unimpeachable character and believe that the Judge of all the earth has ever and always will do right.
This is just something I was wondering about, so I will just float my "wonderings" out there so those who are better informed will be able to help clarify things for me. Let's start with the question of whether it is right to hope/desire/wish that God will save all people (which, I am well aware, is not what Piper was doing in the above quotation).
I may be completely mistaken (so please tell me if I am) but I would imagine that a Calvinist of the neo-Reformed school (those Roger Olson rather sweetly calls "Piper cubs") should believe that hoping that all would be saved would actually be impious and morally bad. At best, it is a result of our distorted human misperceptions of the world.
Given that God has chosen not to save all then I would imagine that the wish/hope/desire that God had chosen something other than what God has in fact chosen (i.e., the wish/hope/desire that God save all) would be to wish that God had done things "our way" instead of "God's way" and this is a disordered desire.
So wishing that God had chosen to save all (even if you did not believe that he had) would be a sin. (Perhaps itself worthy of eternal punishment.) Right?
Perhaps we also have a dilemma regarding those who are not yet Christians and whose status as "elect" or "non-elect" is unknown to us — and here I am thinking of the kind of desire that John Piper had for his sons. Should we hope that they come to believe the gospel? If God has not elected them (and for all we know, he has not) then desiring that they believe the gospel and participate in salvation in Christ is to wish for something that God does not want. Is that a sinful desire? But if we do not desire it then, in cases where God has actually elected them, we fail to desire something that God desires. So that may also be a sin.
Or do we go with the working assumption that we should desire that they be saved because God may possibly have elected them. In other words, is our epistemic ignorance the key?
I may have the wrong end of the stick here entirely. This is not an accusation against neo-Calvinism because I have never heard any neo-Calvinists suggest this. Clearly Piper passionately longs to see people saved whose status as "elect" is unknown saved. I think that's good but I am not sure how consistent it is.
In short, I wonder whether the "godly" neo-Calvinist desire should be, "I desire that God save my child if he wants to" and not, "I desire that God saves my child." That seems to make sense to me as a recommended way in which neo-Calvinists should try to cultivate their desires (given their other beliefs). Obviously it is not what neo-Calvinists usually do (Thank God).