I’ve now finished reading John Piper’s book “The Supremacy of God in Preaching” and I am going to give it a 7 out of 10.
There are a number of places where I found myself wanting to underline whole paragraphs in approval. Even a few times where I found myself writing “wow” in the margins. However, from the 7 chapters, only 5 really made me think. The book is divided between “Why God should be supreme in preaching” and “How to Make God supreme in preaching”. The first section was much better written and thoughtout – the second was a homage to Jonathan Edwards, who the author seems upholds as the perfect preacher.
The book is about restoring the role of preaching “that reaches the mind and reaches the heart” (p11). Piper argues that “The goal of preaching is the glory of God” (p23). What follows is a well thought out, completely Biblical summary of preaching. Although he follows a tangent that was really unnecessary (the life of Jonathan Edwards, the fact that as an adult man he fell in love with a 13 year old girl, married her and gave her children, then spent hardly anytime with them) his conclusion is worth ready over and over again. He quotes Jonathan Edwards (again) “The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but Go is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.” (p109)
I found it interesting that in the conclusion Piper seems to get carried away with the emotion of Biblical preaching and how every one needs to hear it. It is what people need. He wrote “This is the heart-pang of every human being. Only a few know it Only a few diagnose the longing beneath every human desire – the longing to see God” (p108). I found that interesting seeing as though Piper is a self confessed Calvinist who, under this system of theology, would normally confess that every human is unable to desire God unless the Spirit calls them, and if the Spirit does call them they are powerless to resist. Seems like Piper is confused on tis one!