John Piper fires readers’ passion for the centrality and supremacy of God by unfolding Calvin’s exemplary zeal for the glory of God. God rests all too lightly on the church’s mind in our time. Consequently, the self-saturation of his people has made God and his glory auxiliary, and his majesty has all but disappeared from the modern evangelical world. John Calvin saw a similar thing in his day, and it was at the root of his quarrel with Rome. Nothing mattered more to Calvin than the centrality, supremacy, and majesty of the glory of God. His aim, he wrote, was to "set before [man], as the prime motive of his existence, zeal to illustrate the glory of God”—a fitting banner over all of the great Reformer’s life and work. “The essential meaning of Calvin’s life and preaching," writes John Piper, “is that he recovered and embodied a passion for the absolute reality and majesty of God. Such is the aim and burden of this book as well.” As Piper concisely unfolds this predominant theme in Calvin’s life, he seeks to fire every Christian’s passion for the centrality and supremacy of God, so that God’s self-identification in Exodus 3 as “I am who I am” becomes the sun in our solar system too.
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A Basic Overview of a Great Reformer
I received this book in audio format, and the 60 pages can be completed in approximately one hour. Although I do not advertise this greatly, it should not take long for others to see that I have many of the same theological understandings as John Calvin. This book by John Piper, my favorite author, consists of seven short chapters. The titles of the chapters include...
Chapter 1: God Is Who He Is
Chapter 2: A Passion for the Glory of God in Christ
Chapter 3: Mastered by the Majesty and Word of God
Chapter 4: Ministry Made by the Majesty of the Word
Chapter 5: Marriage to Idelette
Chapter 6: Constant Trials
Chapter 7: Constancy in Expounding the Word of God
Pastor Piper starts off John Calvin unlike many biographies I have read. Instead of being told how John Calvin's life began in France, Piper points us to the centrality and supremacy of God. This was Calvin's passion - to magnify our Sovereign Lord. It is not until the third chapter that we read about Calvin's birth and rebirth. In other chapters we read about the constant challenges Calvin faced, the works he produced, and his dedication to expository preaching. A four-page foreword written by Professor Gerald Bray of Beeson Divinity School and an appendix entitled Calvin's Barbaric World: The Case of Michael Servetus are also included. I believe Piper does a wonderful job of not glorifying Calvin, but giving glory to God. In the appendix you can read about what many consider to be Calvin's greatest shortcoming, his condemnation of Servetus. If you are wanting a basic overview of one the great reformers of the faith, I recommend Piper's John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God.