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John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God Paperback – December 5, 2008
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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?
John Calvin holds an amazing place in history--he was born at the perfect time to move the Reformation forward. Indeed, it is his theology that is at the core of Protestant thinking, more so even than Martin Luther's. In this short book, renowned theologian John Piper unfolds the underlying thought behind Calvin's magnum opus, THE INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. Michael Koontz narrates with a much more youthful voice than Piper's, thus shifting the project from what might have been a more emphatic reading. Koontz's delivery style works to good effect as this is a much more clinical treatise than Piper's usual offerings. Koontz carries off Piper's intended tone expertly, creating a satisfying experience. S.M.M. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audible Audio Edition edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God is the latest book written by John Piper in his line of more biographical works. Piper is best known for being the Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, the head of Desiring God, and books such as Don't Waste Your Life. The Forward to John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God has been written by Gerald L. Bray. Furthermore, it is fitting that this book has been released in 2009; the year marking 500 years since John Calvin's birth.
In a book of only sixty-four pages, Chapter One does not begin with John Calvin; instead it begins with God. Piper writes:
"John Calvin would approve that we begin with God rather than him. Nothing mattered more to Calvin than the supremacy of God over all things." (p. 11)
Despite its brevity, the reader is left with an edifying insight into a man the Lord used mightily during the Reformation, and is stirred reading accounts ranging from his conversion (p.20), the reason he wrote The Institutes (p. 30), his physical guarding of the Lord's Table from the libertines (p. 43), to a portion of a letter he penned after the death of his first born son (p. 36). Flowing from Piper's easy to read style, the reader is left confident of his contention; John Calvin was a man with a passion for the majesty of God.
The brevity of this book is both a blessing and a curse. It is a blessing in that it quickly gives you an overview of the man John Calvin, giving most of the attention to his passion for the majesty of God, and his faithful exposition of the Scriptures, for it is within them God has revealed the truth of His majesty. This may serve then as an excellent introduction to reading biographies, studying church history, or as a quick encouragement to the Pastor and layman alike. However, it may serve as a curse, leaving the reader wanting more, or even disappointed simply due to its brevity. Personally, appreciating that this book was originally written as a chapter in The Legacy of Sovereign Joy and therefore by nature brief, I was able to receive this book as a blessing.
It is no secret that outside of the Reformed tradition, there are many who do not look highly upon John Calvin. Much of this can be put down to ignorance of the man (which this books suitable helps correct), although notably John Calvin's involvement with Michael Servetus has tarnished his name. Providing a brief appendix, John Piper examines the case of Servetus in light of the barbaric world in which Calvin lived. The treatment is fair, and to Piper's credit aids to the honesty and appeal of the book.
John Piper's biographical book, John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God is a book I highly recommend to all Christians. It provides an overview of a man used mightily by the Lord during the Reformation, and whose literature is still so influencial today. The heart of John Calvin is presented as a man with a passion for the majesty of God, and a dedication to expositing God's Word faithfully and consistently. This alone is an ever present need of encouragement to the sacrificing Pastor, and an example which should stir the layman with a new found appreaciation for the work of Calvin and preachers who follow in his footsteps.
Its good stuff and worth a read, but if you own "Legacy of Sovereign Joy" I would just read the Calvin chapter again.
Piper is a man with one passion: the glory of God. Such should be the case with each of us. Piper's goal in this book is to demonstrate from Calvin's biographies, commentaries, sermons, etc. that the thing that made Calvin "tick" was a passion for the exaltation of God.
Piper starts by reminding us that God is glorious and majestic. From there he moves to showing us how this truth sheped Calvin's life and ministry. Whether it was Calvin's defense of justification by faith, or his facing danger for the sake of the gospel, bringing glory to God was his motivation.
One may wonder about the value of a book this small. It seems somewhat myopic to write a booklet about the single passion of one man's life. The fact is that this one man presented to us a philosophy of ministry, and a body of doctrinal and practical divinity that shape ministries, churches, and lives today. These things are the product of this man's passion for the glory of God. With this in mind, Piper presents Calvin's passion to us that we might be motivated to seek God's glory in our own lives.
I give this book 4 ½ stars. It serves its purpose well. I only give it 4 ½ stars because it could have been a little longer.
The greatest sticking point was Calvin's reason for writing the Institutes of the Christian Religion. As Calvin noticed the believers being burned alive in France, he wanted to vindicate them by writing what these believers embraced. Calvin said. "that men might know what was the faith held by those whom I saw basely and wickedly defamed." This kind of info helps a reader get into the mind of a theologian to better understand his passion. I will never again be able to read the Institute, without thinking about the martyred saints that inspired these writings.
I would recommend this mini book for anyone wanting to quickly grasp the life and passion of John Calvin. This book can be read in an hour and the PDF is free on John Pipers web page.
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John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God
John Piper, in this short biography, sheds...Read more