I am not sure that a more polarizing set of doctrines exists in the Western Church than the doctrines of Grace, or more commonly, Calvinism. The issue has split local churches, divided friends, and tormented many a soul. My own wrestling match with Calvinism lasted upwards of 2+ years, after which I submitted to the fact that if God is in control of everything, He must be in control of who is saved and who isn’t.
For the last 20 years or so, few men have been more influential in spreading Calvinism than Pastor John Piper. Perhaps it is because he is so pastoral, or perhaps it is because he is so intriguing on other issues, perhaps it is both-but whatever the reason-John Piper has induced countless thousands of Christ followers to embrace the Reformed doctrines of Grace.
His latest book, Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God’s Grace, aims to help lay Christians and Bible students better understand the Biblical and historical significance of Calvinism. The book is an easy read, coming in at less than 100 pages and though it takes a slight detour in presenting TULIP, Piper does present Calvinism accurately and unapologetically.
Where others have written book on Calvinism, they tend to be by theologians and better suited for those that are comfortable swimming in the deep-end of the theological pool. Piper’s effort on the other hand is well-suited for those that are just getting comfortable on the steps. This really reads more like a long letter from your pastor rather than another theological treatise.
The final two sections: A Personal Testimony and Concluding Testimonies were my favorite part of the book. Primarily because I never tire of hearing how great doctrine impacts great lives.
I love the idea of a sovereign God, of meaningful atonement-in a word: Calvinism. And this book was refreshing and a joy to read, even if it was not a novelty for one accustomed to the discussion. A hearty recommendation from this Calvinist.