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God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself Paperback – March 8, 2011
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About the Author
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is the founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. He served for 33 years as the senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is the 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?
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Top Customer Reviews
John Piper's God Is the Gospel is a candle in the doctrinal darkness that we seem to be in far too often. Piper's call in this small but thoughtful book is to reestablish God as the center of his good news-God gave us himself because he is the best thing we could be given. Right from the very beginning, the Reformation theology Piper is so famous for is right on the surface and clearly guiding his work. I do not consider myself particularly reformed, but I appreciated deeply the God-centered focus of the book and Piper's willingness to be theologically straightforward.
On the opening page, Piper's focus is clear, "The acid test of biblical God-centeredness-and faithfulness to the gospel-is this: Do you feel more loved because God makes much of you, or because, as the cost of his Son, he enables you to enjoy making much of him forever?" (11). This sentiment sets the tone for the rest of the book. Piper does not deny that we take great joy in our salvation and that God does make much of us, but the purpose and progression of sanctification should lead us to the reality that the greatest joy we can have is making much of him. Not long after this thesis statement, Piper explains what he means with the phrase "God Is the Gospel," "When I say, God Is the Gospel I mean that the highest, best, final, decisive good of the gospel, without which no other gifts would be good, is the glory of God in the face of Christ revealed for our everlasting enjoyment." (13)
Through much of the rest of the book, Piper focuses on this theme of the glory of God revealed in Christ. Though the biblical notion of the "glory of God" can be wide-ranging and difficult to pin-down in an easy to grasp fashion at times, Piper does a wonderful job of explicating the notion and encouraging the reader to take pleasure in God and his glory.
Though it is not an academic work, it is well cited and researched. His ability to be conversant with the Puritans was clear, and I appreciate the way he quoted and handled Edwards. It is good for us pastors and contemporary Christians to be reminded that we have a rich and "relevant" theological history that goes back beyond a couple of decades. The theologian Thomas Oden has written that he has become hesitant to, "trust anyone under `three hundred'," and that he believes "[w]e should be passionately dedicated to unoriginality." I believe Piper would add a hearty "amen!"
If there are any drawbacks to God Is the Gospel, they would be in its chapter and section format. Though I believe that chapters broken into smaller sections can aid a reader, especially a busy reader, there were too many sections within chapters that were too small. At times, there were as many as four sections on a set of opposing pages, and from time to time their proliferation became a hindrance to the flow of the argument.
But ultimately, that is a small matter. I would heartily recommend God Is the Gospel as a wonderful and rich reminder of the core of our lives and the life of the Church: the glory of Christ in his gospel.
The gospel, writes John Piper, is all about God and only secondary is it about men. Jesus died as our propitiation (1 John 2:2) but He died to satisfy the wrath of a holy and just God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus did not die to defeat Satan or to ransom mankind from the grasp of the enemy but rather He died in our place of judgment (Isaiah 52:13-53:12). He took our sins (John 1:29) and He bore our punishment (1 Peter 2:21-25). Only His blood satisfies the wrath of God (Romans 5:1-11; 1 Peter 1:17-25) and sanctifies the believer (Hebrews 10:10-14).
And this is just what Piper does in this book. He helps us to see that the gospel is all about God. Evangelism, worship, prayer, Bible reading and study, etc. all are to be done to the glory of God. Our lives are to be to the glory of God (Romans 12:1-2). The gospel is not about making us feel better or to help us have a new outlook on life or to help us find purpose but its about a holy God sending His only begotten Son in the person of Jesus Christ and the perfect Son taking our place on the cross (Galatians 3:10-29) and then God the Spirit drawing men to Christ (John 6:44; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-14) and regenerating us by His sovereign grace (Acts 2:38; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 2:11-14; 3:5-7).
The gospel is about God! And this book will help you see that wonderful truth.
But, I sat down to force myself to read this book. After two pages, I wasn't forcing myself anymore. I felt myself being sucked into a profound theological philosophy. I was reading words that didn't just tell me what I should be doing as a Christian--these words told me why I am a Christian and how wonderful the gift of God is to me. The words I was reading were seeping into my heart and reminding me that I am to savor the glory of Christ.
We are privileged to worship and enjoy God. While we do not deserve the attention and love God gives us, He has done everything to get our attention. He wants to bring us to Him so that we can enjoy Him. He wants us to know Him! He wants us to realize that the gospel is about Him! God is the gospel!
John Piper really hits home with this book and reminds us that it is really all about God. If you are looking for something more filling, something to quench your thirst for truth, then this book is for you. You will walk away with a greater understanding of the gifts God has given us--especially the gift of Himself.