Monday 9 March 2009

John Piper on John Calvin

It doesn't read very clearly on the cover, but the full title of this slim paperback is 'John Calvin and his Passion for the Majesty of God'. It is an extract from an earlier book by the renowned pastor John Piper - 'The Legacy of Sovereign joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin'. Piper doesn't claim to be a historian, and leans heavily on others for this short biography issued by IVP in this 500th anniversary year since the great Reformer was born. But what Piper does is marshall the facts to show what Calvin's life's aim was. Contrary to much of today's 'self saturated evangelicalism' what Calvin discovered for himself was the importance and supremacy of the self authenticating word of God. Once found he laboured indefagitably to set the majesty of God set forth in it before others.
Calvin's conversion is dealt with instructively by Piper, and especially the solid conclusion that two things are needed for a saving knowledge of Christ - 'Scripture and "the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit." Neither alone suffices to save.' This instructive approach for today's Christians distinguishes the book from many others on Calvin. Piper's aim is a noble, and in this book, successful one. It is remarkably priced at just £4.99. I think IVP are on to a winner here. It will sell well, and deserves to.

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