Thursday, February 5, 2009
Book Review: John Calvin And His Passion for the Majesty of God
Piper, John. 2009. John Calvin And His Passion for the Majesty of God. Crossway Publishers. 59 pages.
John Calvin would approve that we begin with God rather than with him. Nothing mattered more to Calvin than the supremacy of God over all things. Focus then your attention, then, on God's self-identification in Exodus 3:14-15. Here we will see the sun in the solar system of John Calvin's thought and life.
I loved this book. It's true. Granted, I love John Calvin. And granted I love John Piper. But one of the things I loved most about this book was how straightforward it was. No complicated theological mumble-jumble. It's not that it's not scholarly--it is, there are footnotes, even. But it's not intimidating in the least. It's meant to be read. It's meant to be understood. For example,
But one thing remains unassailed: God is. He was there before we came. He will be there after we are gone. And therefore what matters in life above all things is this God. We cannot escape the simple and obvious truth that God must be the main thing in life. Life has to do with God because all the universe has to do with God, and the universe has to do with God because every atom and every emotion and every soul of every angelic, demonic, and human being belongs to God, who absolutely is. He created all that is, he sustains everything in being, he directs the course of all events, because 'from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever.' (Roman. 11:36).
The book is more than just a look at Calvin's life and theology. It's a book about how we should live and love. I love the chapters on the Bible. How the Word of God should be a vital, living, transforming power in our lives day by day. The importance of the Word in preaching and teaching. How important it is to focus on God rather than ourselves. Focus on his revealed Word instead of our own ideas.
The book is short, unintimidating, and relevant. What more could you ask for?