Based on a series of sermons he preached at his church between the summer of 2007 and 2008, John Piper’s Spectacular Sins is a deep well of biblical truth, fed by the dual springs of a passion for God’s glory and a pastor’s loving concern for his people. Man’s natural reaction to calamity, disaster, and massive displays of evil is to crumble emotionally and shake his fist at God; for the Christian, there also exists the temptation to crumble spiritually, theologically, and to question God’s purposes or assign blame to His character. Using examples of people and events in the Bible, Piper repeatedly points the reader to Christ to enlarge on his central theme: “sin and evil, no matter how spectacular, never nullify the decisive, Christ-exalting purpose of God.” More than that, they “do not just fail to nullify God’s purpose to glorify Christ, they succeed, by God’s unfathomable providence, in making his gracious purpose come to pass.”
This is a small book that deals with large issues and does it well. Piper tackles the origin of Satan’s sin and God’s sovereignty over Satan, God’s relation to evil, and the proper chronology of God’s saving grace and Adam’s sin. Individual chapters draw from the lives of Joseph, David, Judas Iscariot, as well as the account of the building of the tower of Babel. Always, the emphasis is brought back to the central truth that sin and evil do not nullify the purposes of God, and that being grounded in the truth of his sovereignty has the deeply practical effect of strengthening us for whatever trials, sorrows, and persecution we face. Piper closes the book with a prayer which reads, in part: “Grant to our minds and hearts new and deeper capacities to see and savor the glories of Jesus Christ. With every new glimpse of his glory in your word, let there awaken new affections in our hearts.” This book will truly be a means to those ends. – Pam Glass, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
John Piper delivers powerful biblical reassurances to bolster readers’ trust in the sovereignty of God and the supremacy of Christ when evil and tragedy come.
If God governs the sinful acts of men, then does the devastation caused by those terrorists, dictators, murderers, cheats, and abusers discredit Jesus’ words: “All authority in heaven and earth belongs to me”? When heart-rending news comes of the latest accident, illness, or natural disaster, can we really believe that in Jesus, “all things hold together”?
Though God has not answered all of our questions about sin and suffering, there are things he wants us to know, things he declares in his Word—such as what’s at stake in the “spectacular” sins of others and the horrible tragedies of this life; their global purpose, both historically and today; and what these events say to us personally.
As John Piper works through these biblical truths, this book will bolster readers' trust in the utter sovereignty of God such that they'll be less timid in their witness and less afraid of whatever may come. It is also a joy-infused declaration that because everything occurs through Christ and for Christ and his glory, they are forever secure in him.