27/05/2008

A Godward Life (by John Piper)

John Piper is a theologian and pastor in the USA. I gather he's a Reformed Baptist with Calvinist leanings; that's not really my style at all, but one of my sons read one of his books and thought it good, so I decided to try this series of 120 devotional readings.

'A Godward Life' isn't organised in any way that I could work out. It's a mixture of several kinds of reading: some are thoughts based on Scripture verses, some are general thoughts about the Christian life, based perhaps on an incident or idea. And there are a few 'pro-life' letters which (I assume) he sent to papers or politians.

I thought it would make a good book for daily readings, to inspire me and make me think further. However, it didn't really work like that. I found several of the readings very uninspiring, and often read two or even three in a day, just to find one that had something of interest.

The writing style is really rather dry, and although there are a few stories, I couldn't really relate to them much. I was struck by perhaps three or four of the readings, which made me think further - that's a very low percentage amongst a hundred and twenty.

On the plus side, I didn't find any theology that I disagreed with. In the readings where Piper talked about predestination or God's foreknowledge, or 'the elect' he didn't argue the Calvinistic views that I've heard from others. Perhaps this was deliberate, so the book would be read by a wide variety of people from different denominations.

It's not a bad book... I kept reading, and was pleased when I found the occasional gem amongst the rest. But I wouldn't particularly recommend it.

Review copyright © Sue's Book Reviews, 27th May 2008.

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