4 Ways Paul Encourages Us to Love the Church (Even When It’s Hard)

Beauty on the Inside Around the corner from where I live, a house is for sale. In bold green letters, the lawn sign reads: “I’m Gorgeous Inside!” The message is surprising. From the street, the house is thoroughly ordinary, even run-down. It’s a seventies-era raised...

Gently and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers by Dane Ortlund

The most important thing about us is what we think about God. What do you think of when you think about the Son of God? Some might first think about His miracles, the work of atonement, or His teaching. Others may think about His person. Christ is one person with two...

Authentic Christians Are Progressively Sanctified, Part 2

Join Andy as he continues his series through 1 John looking in more depth at 1 John 1:7-2:1.

Repentance and Leadership in the Home: What It Means to be the Chief Repenter in the Home

On today’s Warriors of Grace show continuing season three, Dave discusses what biblical repentance is and why it matters, persistent sins and biblical repentance, and what it looks like practically for men to be the chief repenter in their home. What you’ll hear in...

A Christian Reading Manifesto

Modern technology has launched us into the stratosphere of learning. With the click of a mouse or a few keystrokes, we can access information from around the world and gain a treasure chest of knowledge. Smartphones are at the forefront of the new technological...

How Paul Led from a Distance: A Model for Pastors Leading From A Distance

The apostle Paul led from a distance. His letters demonstrate deep affection for his readers, a longing to see them again, and his ongoing burden to lead well, even while apart. For example, Paul wrote to the Philippian church from a prison cell in Rome.  But his...
Five Points by John Piper

Posted On April 13, 2016

Mark Dever, the pastor of Capital Hill Baptist Church, recently articulated 12 sources God has used to reinvigorate Reformed theology among a younger generation in our day. Among them he named John Piper. Piper, said Dever, is probably “the single most potent factor in the recent rise of Reformed theology.” As part of the young, restless, and Reformed movement, I concur.

Piper’s new book, Five Points, summarizes the basic doctrines of Reformed theology in a clear, accessible, and winsome way.  If you’re wondering, “What are the ‘five points of Calvinism’ all about?” this book is for you. John Piper served as Pastor for Preaching and Vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota for 33 years before stepping down to devote his time to the ministry he founded—Desiring God. He is an award-winning author of a number of books including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, God’s Passion for His Glory, and Finally Alive.

Although the so-called “five points of Calvin” didn’t come from John Calvin in its contemporary form—they find their roots in the Synod of Dort in 1618-1619—Calvin certainly affirmed all five in his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559).  The five points, known by the acronym TULIP, are:

  1. Total Depravity
  2. Unconditional Election
  3. Limited Atonement
  4. Irresistible Grace
  5. Perseverance of the Saints

After a pastoral introduction and some historical context, Piper goes through each of these, though not in this order.  While he values the traditional order of TULIP, he says, “People grasp these points more easily if we go in the order in which we ourselves often experience them when we become Christians” (14). Thus, the order Piper outlines throughout the book is:

  1. Total Depravity
  2. Irresistible Grace
  3. Limited Atonement
  4. Unconditional Election
  5. Perseverance of the Saints

Like many pastors and theologians, Piper acknowledges that these labels have been and will continue to be misunderstood. For example, “Perseverance of the Saints” might communicate to some that we are the ones who make it to the end by our own effort and works; that God starts us in the right direction, but it’s up to us to continue on to glory. This would be the opposite teaching of perseverance.

Piper also gives some rationale and defense for this book, placing his starting point with Scripture:

I do not begin as a Calvinist and defend a system. I begin as a Bible-believing Christian who wants to put the Bible above all systems of thought.  But over the years—many years of struggle—I have deepened in my conviction that Calvinistic teachings on the five points are biblical and therefore true, and therefore a precious pathway into deeper experiences of God’s grace (9).

Two points from the book stood out particularly to me. First, the God-ness of God. I came away with a greater appreciation of the truth that God is self-sufficient, complete in Himself from all eternity. He does not need us, but loves us when there was no condition in us to love. In an age that is brimming with narcissism and “self-help guides”, we should be radically God-centered in our theology and worship.

The second point that I found particularly helpful in Five Points was the personal and historical testimonies at the end of the book on the “doctrines of grace”, as the five points are often called. Piper pulls back the curtain to his life own experience with these five points, and this only gave the book a raw, down-to-earth, practical side—helping the reader experience these doctrines for themselves. They are not ethereal ideologies, but concrete and living truths we can experience now.

I highly commend Five Points to those who have no idea what all the fuss is about, but also to the highly trained pastor, wanting to communicate somehow biblical doctrine in a clear and pastoral way.

Related Posts

Weekly Roundup of Links 5/11/2020-5/16/2020

Weekly Roundup of Links 5/11/2020-5/16/2020

This is our weekly roundup of links for 5/11/2020-5/16/2020 from around the web. We hope you find the following articles helpful to your growth in godliness. Our writing team writes all over the internet for a variety of publications like Desiring God, TGC, and much...

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Introduction Recent days have seen significant life-altering events. Events like COVID-19 have a way of grabbing our attention and altering our focus. One example of this I’ve seen among Christians is to linger longer in the Word and prayer, which is a good and...

When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent by J. Ligon Duncan

When Pain is Real and God Seems Silent by J. Ligon Duncan

Pain and suffering are part of the human experience that modern society tries its best to avoid. Most people are afraid of suffering and desire to get through it as quickly as possible when it comes. Yet, pain and suffering will come to all people, even followers of...

When All Seems Hopeless Hope in the Lord

When All Seems Hopeless Hope in the Lord

God is still a God of miracles. Though it may look different than when Jesus walked the earth, we still hear of God’s divine intervention all around us – tumors that miraculously disappear, hardened criminal surrenders their life to Christ and has a powerful ministry...

Weekly Roundup of Links 11/4/2019-11/9/2019

Weekly Roundup of Links 11/4/2019-11/9/2019

This is our weekly roundup of links for 10/28/2019-11/2/2019 from around the web. We hope you find the following articles helpful to your growth in godliness. Our writing team writes all over the internet for a variety of publications like Desiring God, TGC, and much...

0 Comments

Share2
Reddit
Pin
Share
Email