This book is no joke. really. If you are into reading doctoral dissertations and evaluating the precision of a students demonstration of his thesis, then this book is right up your alley. I suppose it could be said that it reads better than a dissertation, but that is because it has been adapted to be more readable in its present book format.
Coming on the heels of a forward by Tom Ascol, Philip O. Hopkins gets right down to business in this excellent entry on the Missiology of John Piper. That’s right, it’s all about John Piper folks. More specifically, John Piper, Desiring God, and Bethlehem Baptist Church. Hopkins sets out to demonstrate whether John Piper’s theology in his works through the above outlets have all been consistent these past few decades. While he is at it, he will hit you with few hundred (800+) footnotes for your personal perusal. So with the heavy lifting your brain has to do while reading the inundation of references to scripture and various other works interleaved with Hopkins commentary you will get a break at the each chapter. That is, unless you actually undertake the review of endnotes. In that case, you’ll need to set aside about six months to thoroughly read this book.
The author selects and efficiently covers some important questions:
- Who influenced Piper’s thought?
- What is Piper’s understanding of theology and is it orthodox?
- What is Piper’s understanding of missions?
- How is Piper’s understanding of Calvinism, especially election, consistent with the promotion of missions?
- How does Piper’s understanding of the glory of God motivate his missiology?
It is not likely that someone like myself would ever undertake the chore or answering the above questions with as much precision and thought that Hopkins has. Even though I did not know I ever wanted to be as informed of John Piper’s missiology as I am now, I am now glad for it. In some ways, Hopkins work serves as a pseudo-biography of the inner theological John Piper. With as much influence as Piper currently has on evangelicalism, I am confident this book will prove to be useful in the future.
I liked this book because it was heady and required thinking to digest it. If you do not have the patience for a book like this, I would not recommend it until you can devote time to reading it, and enjoying the wealth of information it has to offer. I am rarely certain that I can justify the time it takes to spend in a dissertation such as this one, but the time I did spend on it was worth it. And although this book might not be seminary textbook appropriate, it sure serves as a missiological primer with heavy emphasis on Piper and Calvinism.
I received this book from Energion Publications for review. No books were harmed in review of this book.