Those interested in reading my original view can find it here. But that review was trimmed for the purpose of the review. Here are my notes from reading. They are built off of my original hand written notes while reading the book. There is some expansion of thought but nothing synthetic of meant to be read as a comprehensive coverage.
- This section contained typical Piper passion. His desire to drink of the deepness of theology is contagious. The knowledge of God is to be craved and Piper communicates that faithfully.
- This book contains a basic but important introduction. The historical roots of the "five points" as a response to Arminian theology is essential in fair representation about why modern Calvinists might want to change the definitions or order.
- I didn't realize that Timothy George was a Calvinist. I had been introduced to his "ROSES" acronym by the Molinist Kenneth Keathley.
- Piper makes the decision to go through the points in the general order that people experience them. This will be common knowledge to those who have heard Piper teach through Calvinism but it is also beneficial in this book.
- "This Christ died for all people..." (pg. 16) - Piper is not against using some language that people may not associate with Calvinist. This is one of those statements.
- "This perseverance is the promise of the new covenant..." (pg. 16) - This is a Baptist view on these doctrines. Presbyterians of many colors will take issue with Piper every time he addresses the new covenant.
Piper has some good stuff in this chapter on the farce that is modern religious experience. The quote "they do not seek Him for who He is" (pg. 19) was one of the highlights of the book in terms of light-bulb type moments.
"Everything man does is sin" (pg. 20) - This is an important and foundational element in Piper's theology. Pretty Edwardian. I agree in most applications of this though I'm sure private detailed discussion would reveal minor disagreements.
- "This personal experience..." (pg. 25) - This chapter begins with this type of foundation. Correct though it may be, it is way too dependent upon conversion/revival theology for my liking. It almost removes any description of covenant children raised in a Godly home.
- Piper did provide some interesting Biblical references in this chapter. His use of Job 42:2 and Ephesians 4:30 came within excellent and interesting contexts.
- His treatment of typical John passages (pg. 27-30) is good if not overly rehearsed. No one is being taught anything new nor are they being led into a difficult interpretation.
- Piper has some interesting comments on Judas (pg. 29-30) when it concerns common grace. One must wonder how much of an impact Doug Wilson has has on some of Piper's latest thoughts in this category.
- Piper defends a strong and consistent "regeneration before faith" perspective. He is thoroughly "Reformed" in this capacity and does not do enough exegesis to prove the point.
- Concerning the atonement, Piper is good at clearly expressing that one is either limited in scope or limited in effect. This is a great way of presenting this though not entirely novel.
- Piper does do an incredible job describing how Christ died for "all" in very different ways (pg. 40). Many non-Calvinists will not be comforted with his language but should appreciate his work to push Calvinists to greater appreciation of Biblical language.
- It is in this section that Piper will find his greatest source of disagreement with the Presbyterians reading this material. His handling of the New Covenant is quite poor and entirely in line with an overly individualistic perspective on soteriology.
- This is by far the weakest chapter in terms of newness. This is traditional Calvinist writing that fails to increase the "grace" of God as was intended in the writing of this book. Even after going through these points in his desired order, Piper is incapable of making this point any more palatable.
- Piper makes a point about how God "works out eternal love in history..." (pg. 61) but he completely ignores an Old Testament perspective on corporate election. Somehow "individual election" comes breaking out in the New Testament under Paul? He ignores the application of "foreknowledge" from an OT perspective.
Preservation of the Saints
- This section is the highlight of the book at must be read in its fulness to appreciate the fulness of Piper's teaching on this subject. Such thinness can often be found in Calvinist writings. But here with Piper the pastoral concern comes crashing down with fulness.