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New FestSchrift for John Piper

Our friends at Crossway recently released a well-conceived and executed festschrift (celebratory writing) for John Piper, pastor of preaching of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN.  The name of the book is For the Fame of God's Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper and you can obtain it here.  Typically books of this sort are not considered exciting reading.  I am not in agreement with that general opinion (and this has nothing to do with the fact that I have co-edited a festschrift myself!).  Yes, festschrifts can make for dry, dusty, and dull reading.  But they do not have to.  And this volume is an example of an interesting and uplifting salute to one of God's servants.  I believe it honors John Piper by focusing on the glorious Triune God of Scripture.  The volume is edited by Sam Storms (a Jonathan Edwards scholar of no mean reputation) and Justin Taylor, a former associate of Piper's and now with Crossway. The quality of the cover and binding itself is top-notch and the material inside the covers is more so.  There are 27 chapters covering a range of issues reflecting the scholarship and writings of Piper, his biblical and theological interests, and the institutions he has the privilege of serving.  This book combines personal reflections from colleagues of John Piper and essays of theological moment in their own right.  For instance, I found Storms piece on Piper and Edwards on Christian hedonism helpful.  Understood aright, Piper's emphasis on Christian hedonism is an accurate portrayal of a central concern of Edwards.  I might add that it strikes as reflective of Augustine as well where he tells us that sin is a matter of disordered loves and that Christian discipline is so much a matter of denial (although it does include that!) as reordering our loves.  Thomas Chalmer's hit on this when he talked about the expulsive power of a new affection.  Even within this volume there is a critique offered to some aspects of the Christian hedonism idea by Mark Talbot and Talbot's insights are worth mulling over. The chapter by Sinclair Ferguson on the relationship of Christ's victory over Satan and his minions and penal substitutionary atonement is worth the price of the book.  I believe this is the substance of a lecture Dr. Ferguson gave a few years back at the Highland Theological College in Scotland.  Here Ferguson shows that the Christus Victor motif depends upon penal substitution to work.  Greg Beale's chapter on the resurrection in relation to justification is a biblical theological tour de force and whets my appetite for his forthcoming New Testament theology. Stephen Nichol's chapter on Jonathan Edwards' preaching was a very good way to introduce the section on pastoral theology.  And these chapters on the roles of the pastor take no back seat to the more theoretical essays.  We see in the very organization and execution of the book the beautiful symmetry that ought to exist between doctrine and practice. I have barely scratched the surface of the valuable reflections found in this book.  I would encourage you to read this volume and I believe you too will be challenged, corrected, encouraged, and drawn to the glorious God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

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