Author: John Piper
Pages: 192 pages
Genre: Christian Living
This is a Piper book so you should know what you are getting: a healthy dose of the glory of God, radically Christ-centered appeals, and passionate pleas to enjoy God. In this particular offering Piper’s main concern is that we understand that the greatest gift of the gospel is God Himself. “All God’s gifts are loving only to the degree that they lead us to God Himself. That is what God’s love is: his commitment to do everything necessary (most painfully the death of his only Son) to enthrall us with what is most deeply and durably satisfying—namely, himself.”
The first few chapters of this book are given to defining the gospel. Then Piper moves towards what this means for the Christian life. He then moves forward with a little theology. And finally closes out the book by encouraging us to “sacrifice and sing”.
What I Liked:
The first four chapters are worth the cost of the book. Even in the introduction Piper asks perhaps one of the most important questions for modern evangelicals: “could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?” We really need to hear this message. If you do not consider God to be the ultimate good of salvation then something is wrong. Piper makes a passionate biblical defense of this central doctrine to the Christian faith.
In his typical Edwardsean-way Piper absolutely exhausts this topic. He considers the impact of this doctrine on numerous aspects of the Christian life. He writes in a heartfelt and pastoral manner. You will be deeply informed and emotionally stirred.
What I Disliked:
UPDATE: Due to a comment, I have reworded this section. The original did not convey my actual intent.
I absolutely love John Piper and his ministry. Unfortunately, most of the congregation in which I serve do not share that love. A good portion of our church has commented that his writing is too difficult for them. And I think I understand. Piper can use really big words that may be unfamiliar to those that do not read a good deal of theology books. Piper also will have jam-packed sentences. Now, in Piper's defense I would love to see the somewhat anti-intellectualism in our church context be changed. I would love to see people pursuing God with not only heart but also mind. So, I am torn. I love Piper and his writings and would love to see people labor to read and enjoy him. At the same time I would love for Piper to write books that would appeal to those of a more rural context.
One commenter felt in the orignal that I was holding my church in contempt and not loving them. The truth is I have a ton of compassion for our church. Certainly, that passion can grow because I know I do not love them like Jesus does. Yet, at the same time I also would love to see our church pursue doing hard things...like reading Piper.
Should You Buy It?
There is hardly a Piper book that I would not heartily recommend. The modern church that is so enamored with the gifts of the gospel needs to hear this call. I heartily suggest you buy and read this book. In my opinion, this is one of the Top 5 books written by Piper.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars