Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finally Alive: John PIper

'Finally Alive' was described by Adrian Warnock as Piper's most important book. Challies said it's become his favourite John Piper book. It's gate crashed my top three, and i'd agree with Adrian, it is his most important book.

Finally Alive deals with the sometimes murky area of regeneration, of new birth. Piper sets out to answer five questions: What is the new birth? Why must we be born again? How does the new birth come about? What are the effects of the new birth? How can we help people be born again. In 15 chapters and 193 pages he answers those questions.

Piper points out the need for this book in the introduction. The term 'born again' has been almost politicised, it's meaning lost. Studies by the Barna group conclude that born again Christians are little different in practice and living to people who don't claim to be Christians. Piper burden for this book is to reclaim the Biblical truth of being regenerated. Not that it's proved by what we say, but that it's proved by how we live.

Alistair Begg describes this book as having 'crystal clear' exposition, and i think he's spot on. Piper tackles passages from Acts, 1 Peter, 1 John, John and Ephesians and applies them with love and clarity. His chapter on John 3:1-15 bought me a great deal of clarity on what it means to be born 'of water and of Spirit' (very exciting) which is helpful in an area where, maybe even the majority of churches, teach that salvation is by baptism. We are cleansed and new, still us, but new. This is good news.

This is probably one of the most 'popular level' books Piper has written, and ends so strongly. The final section, with chapters on 'How can we help others be born again?' has really stoked my fires for evangelism and personal witness to people and given me a fresh desire to see people saved. This is built upon the firm foundation of the previous section, which talks the role of Gospel proclamation in the new birth. Finally, the section on our faith which overcomes the world made me near enough want to stand on my head for joy. YES!

I can not recommend this book enough, it will refresh, humble, energise and excite. Go buy

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