List price: $16.99|
Our price: $16.99
Average customer rating:
4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 1576733378
Manufacturer : Multnomah|
Release data : 01 January, 1998
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A selection of product reviews
Most Needed Theology in Modern Christianity
The theology explained in this book is one of the most neglected corners of the gospel in our day. We live in a day when people are taught that you can be a Christian and live like a pagan at the same time. Grace doesn't only justify; grace also makes us holy. "The just shall live by faith." This is simply the most profound, Scripture-drenched books I have ever read. God changed my heart and broke down some significant barriers in my life through the truths in this book just this past summer as I read it. Thank God for John Piper and his work for us in the book! The subtitle is most fitting: "The purifying power of living by faith in future grace".
a new perspective
A wonderful, thought-provoking read. This is the first book I read by John Piper, recommended and lent to me from my pastor. I enjoyed it so much that it became dog-eared and travel stained so I decided to get him a new copy and keep the one I "used". Although it takes some time to get through (each chapter requires some thought) The ideas are presented in an easy to understand way. Scripture is well explained and included for the topics presented. Christian authors, old and new, are quoted in the beginning of each chapter along with appropriate scripture passages and give meaning to the ideas presented. I will defintitely read more of Piper's work.
A good book overall but some questionable conclusions
John Piper will always be remembered as a popular Christian author/theologian who wrote many books to help pastors and lay people understand the Christian faith better and how to truly live a Christian life. In this book, Piper explains what it means to live by faith in future grace. In the first several chapters of the book (1-9), Piper explains why "past grace" is an insufficient motive to live a God-centred and obedient life. He explains that past grace only looks to the past and not to the future. What truly motives a Christian to live a God-centred and obedient life is to look forward to the grace that will be revealed. In fact, if we live looking back to what Christ did for our salvation then we are following the "debtor's ethic" which lessens the motivation and power to live a truly obedient Christian life. What Piper tries to do in this book is to make us realize that the way to overcome sin and disobedience in the Christian life is to look FORWARD to the grace of God (i.e., future grace) and to be truly satisfied for all that God is for us in Jesus Christ.
I really appreciated Piper's emphasis on the eschatological aspect of Christ's redemptive work. Too many evangelical Christians are too past or present oriented rather than future oriented in how they see the Christian life. They do not realize that salvation is not only a past fact and a present reality, but a future gift to those who trust in Jesus Christ. This is something that must be addressed behind the pulpits in many of our churches today. I also liked the fact that Piper always forces us to really look hard on where our affections lie. Does it lie with the present and the world or does it lie with God and the future? Even if things don't go the way we want them to do we still trust God and delight in him through Jesus Christ? True faith is a faith that hopes and banks on God for the satisfaction of one's heart and soul. This is where Piper makes us really examine our hearts and to see if our faith is a mere profession or born by the Spirit. Another helpful aspect of the book is that Piper makes his theology deal with practical issues of the Christian life. In each major section, Piper devotes a chapter on practical issues which affect the Christian: anxiety, pride, misplaced shame, impatience, covetousness, bitterness, despondancy, and lust. Many will find these practical-issue chapters helpful and informative.
However, with all these positives in the book there should be some word of caution. Piper appears to have cut down the fence between the law and the gospel (a dichotomy that is the hallmark of the Reformation). This is clearly seen in chapters 11 and 12. For Piper, the difference between the OT and NT "is that in the old covenant the gracious enabling power to obey was not poured out as fully as it is since Jesus" (p. 158). Hence, the gospel is not something that is alternative/antithetical to the law but is a power that enables believers to keep the law (contra Galatians 2:16). (In fact, in the preface on page 7, Piper dedicates this book to Daniel Fuller and states that one of Fuller's, albeit controversial, books is "an explanatory background to most of what I write." Fuller is known in many evangelical circles for advocating a law-gospel synthesis and rejecting justification by faith alone.) Another controversial aspect of this book is Piper's notion of "conditional grace" (chaps. 18-20). In chapter 19, Piper states that there are eleven conditions Christians must meet in order to inherit future grace (i.e., final salvation). One of the more controversial ones is "covenant keeping." He states: "I am hard pressed to imagine something more important for our lives than fulfilling the covenant that God has made with us for our final salvation" (p. 249). This seems hardly evangelical. Evangelical Protestants (esp. Lutherans and Calvinists) say that Christ fulfilled the law/covenant on behalf of the elect. The only way to receive the benefits of Christ's obedience and death is through faith alone. I believe Piper really dropped the ball on this one. He comes perilously close to formulating a view of salvation that has affinities with the Medieval scholastics of Luther's time. This is important to highlight since so many so-called evangelical pastors and teachers today deny (explicitly or implicitly) many tenets of the evangelical faith and still want to be called evangelical or Protestant.
Overall, I would recommend this book...with caution. Read the book with a discerning eye and take out what is unnecessary and unbiblical. Popular authors can make mistakes at times and Piper certainly does in this book.