Tuesday, January 26, 2010

‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die’ by John Piper – Book Review

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John Piper is one of the foremost theologians in our day.  He is the pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis Minnesota.  He earned a Master of Divinity degree at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Divinity degree in New Testament Studies from the University of Munich, Germany.  He is the author of over thirty books.  The latest book I have read is ‘Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die.’
                                            
Pastor Piper offers reasons why Jesus came to die that I had never thought of in the way that he has.  I have a tendency to miss the joy that is supposed to be the hallmark of living for Christ, and sometimes forget that Jesus is living His life through us - it is no longer our own.   As the apostle Paul states in Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

I loved Reason # 15 – ‘To Make Us Holy, Blameless, and Perfect.’  According to Dr. Piper – “One of the greatest sources of joy and endurance for the Christian is knowing that in the imperfection of our progress we have already been perfected – and that this is owing to the suffering and death of Christ” (p. 49).  I need to be reminded that, when I accepted Jesus, I became perfected in Him, as my life is now His life.  What a blessing!

Reason # 49 is also a favorite – ‘So That He Would Be Crowned with Glory and Honor.’  Dr. Piper states: “If we are to be as happy as we can be, we must see and savor the most glorious person of all, Jesus Christ himself.  That means that to love us, Jesus must seek the fullness of his glory and offer it to us for our enjoyment” (p. 117). 

According to the Wikipedia entry for Dr. Piper: “Piper advocates Christian hedonism and teaches that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him" and that God's highest pursuit ("his glory") and man's deepest and most durable happiness come together in one pursuit – namely, the pursuit of joy in God. He was awakened to this notion in the writings of Jonathan Edwards, Blaise Pascal, and C. S. Lewis, among others, and then found it throughout the Bible, for example Ps 16:11; 37:4; Phil 3:1; 4:4 among others.”

There are many ways to interpret the Bible.  I find Dr. Piper’s perspective to be refreshing.  He focuses (not just in this book, but in all his writings) on the person of Jesus Christ.  And he brings to the forefront the supremacy of Jesus.  There is no one more important in the world, and no one who should be so esteemed, as the Savior and Messiah of the world.  Sometimes I have a tendency to forget that in the clutter and in the distractions of life.  But Dr. Piper directs me back to where I need to fix my gaze – on Jesus Christ.  I also appreciate his perspective that we are to live a joy-filled life; that is the Lord’s delight for us!

You can learn more about Pastor Piper at his comprehensive website, Desiring God.  His catalog of sermons from the last 25 years is available there at no charge, as well as other materials. He also blogs on that site.  He tweets on TwitterI would highly recommend that you follow him if you haven’t yet.  You can also be his fan on Facebook.

Pastor Piper’s latest book is ‘A Sweet and Bitter Providence,’ which I will be reviewing soon.  I would also highly recommend another book, 'Don't Waste Your Life.' It's very thought-provoking, as you might imagine!

This book was provided to me for review purposes by Crossway Books of Wheaton Illinois, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

3 comments:

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Thelema said...

Interesting posts you have, though I think Christianity is dead and will be redeemed and brought to fruition and perfection through Thelema. Check out my blog at http://christianityisdead.wordpress.com/ if you will. Love is the law, love under will. ;)

Barbara E Brink said...

I've been to Piper's church and know he strives to be God honoring and Biblically accurate in what he teaches. I thought his book, "Don't waste your Life," had some great insights on how we should live as pilgrims in this world, serving God in preparation for eternity.
Thank you for your review on "Fifty Reasons." I will have to put it on my to read list.

 
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