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The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (The Swans Are Not Silent) [Paperback]

by John Piper
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

August 11, 2006 The Swans Are Not Silent (Book 1)

We admire these men for their greatness, but the truth is Augustine grappled with sexual passions. Martin Luther struggled to control his tongue. John Calvin fought the battle of faith with worldly weapons.

Yet each man will always be remembered for the messages he declared-messages that still resound today. John Piper explores each of these men's lives, integrating Augustine's delight in God with Luther's emphasis on the Word and Calvin's exposition of Scripture. Through their strengths and struggles we can learn how to live better today. When we consider their lives, we behold the glory and majesty of God and find power to overcome our weaknesses.

If ever you are complacent about sin, if ever you lose the joy of Jesus Christ, if ever you are dulled by the world's influence, let the lives of these men help you recapture the wonder of God. Book 1 in The Swans Are Not Silent series.


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The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (The Swans Are Not Silent) + The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce (The Swans Are Not Silent) + The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd (The Swans Are Not Silent)
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?


Product Details

  • Series: The Swans Are Not Silent (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (August 11, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581348134
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581348132
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Piper is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.), and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 50 books and more than 30 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at desiringGod.org. John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and twelve grandchildren.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Swans are not silent! The first in a series May 24, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
What freed Augustine from bondage to sexual immorality? What gave Martin Luther lion-like boldness in defending the supremacy of Scripture? What fueled John Calvin's God-entranced preaching and writing ministry? A stoic, disinterested obligation to do what is right? No! It was white-hot passion for their Sovereign Joy: God. They were radically converted as they encountered the real, risen Jesus and His liberating gospel in the written Word of God. And for the joy of having found the Pearl of great price, they sold everything to obtain it. Join Piper as he examines what captured the hearts of these three flawed saints whom God has used so powerfully to teach His church what grace really means.
"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! . . . You drove them from me, you who are the true, the sovereign joy. You . . . took their place, you who are sweeter than all pleasure . . ."
Aurelius Augustine,(The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, p. 57)
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41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Foundations for Christian Hedonists! June 18, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This insightful book lays historical foundations for the philosophy of Christian Hedonism (Biblically known simply as discipleship to Jesus Christ!) which John Piper first outlined in his book Desiring God: The Meditations of a Christian Hedonist.
These chapters on Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (originally lectures delivered at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors) are thought-provoking, heart-stirring mini-biographical studies aimed at fanning the flames of God-centeredness in the lives of Christians.
Piper beautifully develops the Augustinian understanding of grace as "sovereign joy" which liberates us from the power of sin, by showing how this dynamic worked to free Augustine himself from the bondage of lust.
From Luther's life, Piper delves into the importance of studying the Word of God even in the midst of suffering. And with Calvin, we are told how devotion to the exposition of Scripture is the means by which the Majesty of God is revealed with life-transforming power.
Piper preserves the careful balance of admiring the virtues of these men without condoning their flaws. He gives insightful and objective reflection on Augustine's sacramentalism, Luther's vulgarity, and Calvin's consent to the barbarity of his violent age. But he doesn't let these sad mistakes obstruct from view the important contributions each of these men have made to the history of the church.
I am glad that these studies are being published (this is the first book of a series of such biographies). They will prove helpful to both the serious student of Christian History, as well as the average curious reader.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece of the Master's Joy! September 14, 2000
Format:Hardcover
An excellent addition to the literature on biblical joy, following the lead of Sherwood Wirt's 'Jesus: Man of Joy', et al. John Piper is one of the foremost champions of classical theism in its contemporary battle against inroads from a minority view called 'open theism', which seems to (even if unwittingly, by implication, in all sincere intentions) unbiblically restrict God's absolute sovereignty. Many these days recoil at such a concept, but the author puts the doctrine in Scriptural perspective: part of God's sovereignty is Sovereign Joy. A wonderful invitation to research the works of Augustine, Luther, Calvin, other fathers of the evangelical faith to discover a deeper, brighter, more robust, full-orbed, delightful insight into another facet of the Character of our Wonderful God. Must reading, especially for those open to 'open theism' (see BGC Foreknowledge website for some of Piper's and others' excellent essays) to recapture a more plenarily Biblical theology for personal life and witness.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoying God who is so enjoyable April 11, 2001
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for the layperson. John Piper brings the realization home that God works through flawed human beings. Because of this, you and I can be freed from the misconceptions that only superheroes of faith are used greatly by God. It is God and God alone that shines through the cracks in our earthen vessels. May God have the glory in the lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin. And may God use us in a way in which he recieves all the glory. Thank you for these biographical sketches that explore three giant men but shows a sovereign God who dwarfs them...much to the pleasure of these giants.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cricket Chirps, The Swan is Silent June 18, 2002
Format:Hardcover
John Piper's series of biographies, The Swans Are Not Silent, of which this is the first book, is so named for multiple reasons that come out in the preface. When Augustine was handing over his administrative duties to an assistant named Eraclius, Eraclius was asked to give a message. As Augustine sat silently on the bishops throne behind, Eraclius said, "The cricket chirps, the swan is silent." This is how I feel looking at the way that God has impacted men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards, Owen, and even Piper. Being motivated by the grace that God has shown them in their lives and learning from their lessons, as I go out to the world with the motive of Paul that is seen in so many of these great men in history, "Him we declare, warning everyone and teaching everyone in all wisdom so that we may present everyone mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28 ESV)," my words feel like the chirps of crickets next to the songs of these gifted swans. Sometimes, one of the best ways to let their songs be sung is to let them sing them for themselves through the words that they wrote and the testimony that they left. That is what John Piper has done in this book, and it has definitely had its desired effect.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars John Piper...
This book is a wonderful sketch of some giants of the faith and written by a person that I consider a giant in the faith.
Published 11 months ago by Rob
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Great insight. John piper is a great author and I enjoyed reading his books. This book provides good insight into the lives of these individuals.
Published 11 months ago by Andrew Zuber
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Inspiration
Love the this third book of the trilogy on Joy. John Piper does the series very well. Lots of research.
Published 13 months ago by Ethel Campbell
5.0 out of 5 stars My highest because of His utmost
It's John Piper. What can we say. Legacy of Sovereignty reminds me of A.W. Pink's Sovereignty of God. Read more
Published 17 months ago by DGRAPHA
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone loves to root for an underdog
This book by John Piper was first published in 2000. It provides brief biographies of three of God's most influential Saints. Read more
Published on July 27, 2011 by Mike Pettengill
5.0 out of 5 stars book purchase review
Excellent summary on the three men who pulled the truths of reformed theology from our Bible, explained it, defended it and gave it an enduring foundation. Read more
Published on June 10, 2011 by Jim D. Mcneal
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read on experience joy and grace and the meaning of both
This past week, I felt like I needed to read something soul stirring. So I grabbed John Piper's The Legacy of Sovereign Joy.

So glad I did. Read more
Published on April 26, 2010 by Joshua Reich
5.0 out of 5 stars uplifting reading, seeing God's grace in the lives of great men of...
John Piper's biographies are written with a pastor's eye and so are more than just the story of a famous individual. Read more
Published on April 11, 2010 by R. Hayton
5.0 out of 5 stars I Really Like This Series
After receiving The Roots of Endurance from a colleague of mine one year ago, I decided that one day I would read The Legacy of Sovereign Joy. Read more
Published on March 1, 2010 by Mark K. Wickersham
4.0 out of 5 stars Great introduction to the foundations of these men...
This is the first of the series of "The Swans Are Not Silent." This series is a series of books that are quick bios on the the lives of different people in the history of... Read more
Published on September 9, 2008 by Seth McBee
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