Author: John Piper Reviewed by Blogger Tim Challies
I have encountered a lot of young men, a lot of young preachers, who want to model themselves after John Piper. They see his joy in the Lord, they see his passion for God’s glory, they see the fire he brings to his sermons, and they want to be like him. Unfortunately, I have seen more than a few preach with all the passion but none of the unction. They have learned that you can’t preach like Piper unless you know and love God like Piper. You can’t know and love God like Piper unless you first know, love, and treasure God’s Word as he does. He is not first a great preacher, but a man who treasures God through the Word of God.
A Peculiar Glory, Piper’s first major work in a number of years, explains why and how he has such deep-rooted confidence in the Bible. He sets out to answer this question: How are we to know that the Christian Scriptures are the word of God? Of course we have any number of books that answer the question. There is a whole genre of books that look to the history of the Bible, to the formation of the canon, to the accuracy of the narratives, to the fulfillment of prophecy, and so on. This is one way of arriving at the conviction that the Bible is truly God’s Word. But Piper takes a different approach. His concern is whether a person without access to scholarship and without access to specialized knowledge can have equal assurance. His concern is that even “ordinary people, with little chance of following complex and obscure textual and historical arguments, may discern whether the Christian Scriptures are the word of God. We may rejoice that God always raises up scholarly Christians to interact with scholarly opponents of Christian faith. But it is wrong to think that all believers need to follow those debates in order to have a justified faith in Scripture.”
His focus, then is the Bible’s self-attestation, or the internal witness of the Holy Spirit. Yet this internal witness is not a leap into the dark, a blind faith. “The argument of this book is that the final step of certainty concerning the Scriptures is the step of sight, not inference. The pathway that leads to sight may involve such empirical observation, and historical awareness, and rational thought. But the end we are seeking is not a probable inference from historical reasoning but a full assurance that we have seen the glory of God. Thus, at the end of all human means, the simplest preliterate person and the most educated scholar come to a saving knowledge of the truth of Scripture in the same way: by a sight of its glory.” Read more…