Sunday, January 11, 2009
Review of The Supremacy of God in Preaching by John Piper
Author: John Piper
What is your first thought after hearing your pastor? Pastor, what do people most remember about your sermons? Is it the sermon or the God displayed by the sermon? What Piper calls for is passionate preaching of the supremacy of God. As Piper notes, “It does not matter if surveys turn up a list of perceived needs that does not include the supreme greatness of the sovereign God of grace. That is the deepest need. Our people are starving for God.” This book hopes to inspire pastors to feed the sheep with a vision of the supremacy of God in all things.
If you have read anything by John Piper then you know his passion—the supremacy of God. In this short book Piper writes four chapters in defense of his view of preaching: The goal of preaching, the ground of preaching, the gift of preaching, and the gravity and gladness of preaching. In the final three chapters Piper offers guidance from the ministry of Jonathan Edwards: Keep God Central, Submit to Sweet Sovereignty, and Make God Supreme.
What I Liked:
When I hear John Piper preach I come away with a fresh vision and passion for God. When I read this book I come away with a fresh vision and passion for proclaiming this great God. Piper can write as a lofty theologian. Yet, he can also write as a passionate and loving grandfather. It is the latter that provides the tone for this book. This book is God-centered and practical. I am in wholehearted agreement with Bryan Chapell when he writes of Piper’s book, “The plan is too simple for a fallen world to notice and too powerful for a faithful preacher to ignore.” This book inspires me.
What I Disliked:
The truth is that Bryan Chapell is right; this book is too simple (which says more about my sinfulness than about a criticism of this book). I admire John Piper and would like to learn a great deal from him. I expected to read this book and immediately know how to preach God passionately. I expected a formula that I could easily follow that would transform my preaching. Turns out you will not find that in this book. Instead you learn this: God is most glorified in our preaching when we are most satisfied in him. Simple, yet so powerful you cannot ignore it. Passionate preaching does not come from a how-to manual. It comes from being enthralled with God. So, because I am fallen I wish it were easier.
Should You Buy It?
This book cannot be ignored. It is a must have for preacher and congregant alike.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.