John Piper is no stranger to the scene of evangelical Christianity. He is a stalwart member of the Young, Restless, and Reformed. It shouldn’t be a surprise to see him write a book on a subject matter like Calvinism, or the doctrines of grace. Five Points reflects his passion for the grace of the gospel, missions, and God’s glory. It reads as part devotional sharing of the heart and theological edification. He describes his goal as “deepen[ing] our experience of God’s grace. The aim is not to depress or to discourage or to paralyze” (23).
The highlights come when Piper’s pastoral and missional passion is most evident. This has a way of elevating some chapters beyond their mere content and placing the reader in a state of genuine fellowship. Those familiar with Piper’s preaching and teaching can often “hear” his voice change as his words expound a particular aspect of the glories of God. This culminates in an excellent chapter on “Preservation of the Saints” that brims with passion and careful correction of common misconceptions. It is with statements like “there is a fight of faith to be fought” (63) and “perseverance is a community project” (74) that Piper sweeps aside false depiction of perseverance and restores a gospel of grace that incorporates the whole of the Christian life.
The downside of Piper’s passion rising above the content is that no new ground is covered in this book. The exegesis of this book has been expounded before. Students of these doctrines will be familiar with these passages and the wealth of interpretations available. The portions that incorporate the New Covenant and exegesis of Jeremiah 31 will leave those with a “Presbyterian orientation” (13) desiring a more consistent approach. However, the focus on traditional texts makes this book a wonderful introduction. Piper’s passion is contagious and serves as a great guide to Calvinism first timers, while also edifying those familiar with this subject.
Joshua Torrey is a New Mexico boy in an Austin, TX world. He is husband to Alaina and father to Kenzie & Judah and spends his free time studying for the edification of his household. These studies include the intricacies of hockey, football, curling, beer, and theology. He blogs theological musings and a running commentary of the Scriptures at The Torrey Gazette.