Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review: John Piper, Finally Alive

504212: Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again Finally Alive: What Happens When We Are Born Again

By John Piper / Christian Focus

What does it mean to be "born again?" Many Christians aren't even sure what it means, and those outside the church often equate it with judgement and hypocritical behavior. In Finally Alive, John Piper argues that this term has lost it's true meaning. To that end, he takes you back to what the New Testament says about being born again, and shows you how powerful, transforming and radical new birth in Christ really is.

Virtually everyone is familiar with the term “born again” but unfortunately many people have no idea what it really means. The biblical doctrine of regeneration is perhaps one of the most neglected teachings in the church today. Even many of the people who identify themselves as “born again” are not always able to explain what it is. There are plenty of churches that tell people that they need to be born again but far fewer spend much time working through the scriptures to help people understand what exactly it means and how it happens. In this book John Piper does exactly that.

I often find Piper’s books to be hit and miss. I have found many very insightful things in his writings that have benefited me greatly and many other things that I thought were cumbersome and less than helpful. My opinion of his previous work aside, Piper is one of the most popular and influential Christian leaders of our time, particularly within the Reformed tradition. This book shows why.

Piper works through passage after passage of scripture focusing on answering practical questions without sacrificing depth or precision in his explanation. The book is organized around the following five questions:

1. What is the new birth?
2. Why must we be born again?
3. How does this birth come about?
4. What are the effects of the new birth?
5. How can we help others be born again?

There are few questions that are as important to Christians as these and Piper does us a service in the way he handles them. There are many insights drawn from the biblical text and applied in a practical way. The book is written from a pastoral perspective and Piper’s concern and passion for people comes through on virtually every page. I think this is the most concise and valuable book of Piper’s that I have read. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about what it means to truly be born again.


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