The two books by John Piper (one of which he co-authored with Justin Taylor) I ordered from Philippine Christian Book Store (PCBS) have just arrived and I just feel so blessed. John Piper has been such a great blessing to me personally and I wish more people here in the Philippines knew about him and his ministry. I’ve collected a number of his books through the years and I’m listing below some of my favorites, with brief comments. I hope more Filipinos will be encouraged to buy his books. He’s very strong on the sovereignty of God and the theme of his ministry is “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”
1. The Pleasures of God – I think this is the first book by Piper I’ve read and it was the first time I learned that there was such a thing as Open Theism. Piper does a good job of refuting Open Theism in this book.
2. The Justification of God – This one was really heavy. Lots of Greek and Hebrew. But it really helped me understand what Romans 9 is all about, especially the verse which says, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy.” What I got was this: God is not unjust when he chooses as he does, for the thing that’s right is when his name shines bright. His name means perfect freedom to elect who will be in the kingdom. When freely he shows mercy, his name is glorified.
3. Counted Righteous in Christ. – I think I will have to reread this one. Piper here shows that the righteousness with which we’re clothed in justification is not our own but Christ’s. It’s not an “infused” righteousness (that’s santification), but an “imputed” righteousness (that’s justification).
4. A Godward Life (vols. 1 and 2) – a collection of short articles on various things touching the Christian life. I especially like the things Piper wrote on the value of reading, good books, developing a Christian mind, etc.
5. Don’t Waste Your Life – Is there nothing more to life than making a lot of money so that you could retire someday and enjoy the beach? A successful and comfortable life may well be a wasted life! Everyone ought to read this book. “Only one life, too soon will pass; only what’s done for Christ will last.”
6. The Supremacy of God in Preaching – We preach not in order to entertain or tickle the ears of our hearers but to magnify and glorify God. Piper tells a story here of his preaching one time on the sovereignty of God, not knowing that among his listeners were a couple whose daughter, they discovered, had been sexually abused by a relative (or a close friend – can’t remember exactly). And it was this deep, doctrinal sermon which gave comfort to this couple. Some preachers shy away from preaching deep doctrine, but Piper is one person who can help them change their minds.
7. The Legacy of Sovereign Joy – I really like this book! It’s about Augustine, Luther and Calvin. I like especially the part about Luther struggling to decipher the meaning of the text of Scripture for himself, instead of depending on commentaries. “Ad fontes!” To the primary sources! Text first, before commentary! This book (especially the part on Luther) encouraged me to do something about learning N.T. Greek, so that I could read the New Testament in the language it was originally written. It’s slow going but at least I can now pronounce very imperfectly the Greek words I sometimes encounter in my readings, even if I don’t understand what they mean. 🙂
If you want to know more about John Piper, click here.
For those of you who live in Bacolod City and nearby visit PCBS near City-Hall (look for Gina) or PCBS at Robinsons (look for Jehram).