Skip to main content

Review: Suffering and the Sovereignty of God


"John Piper and other contributors explore the many categories of God's sovereignty as evidenced in his Word, helping readers form a biblical view of suffering."

Get it from Crossway
Sufferinga and the Sovereignty of God (Eds: John Piper & Justin Taylor, 2006) This book is a breath of fresh air. "If God is good and all powerful, how can there be suffering" is one of the classic objections to Christian faith. All too often this is defended by dropping the sovereignty of God. The hapless Christian conceding that God isn't actually in control... Into this comes a book that makes no attempt to deny the suffering that we experience, nor the sovereignty of God (and it doesn't say God isn't good either).

This book comes with doses of reality - much of it is written by those who have suffered and it's poignancy is added to by the subsequent suffering of Piper and Powlison.

This book is worth owning to have Piper and Powlison's work on "Don't Waste Your Cancer". Their words show us why we should be filled with sound doctrine, prepared in advance for almost inevitable suffering. And that is what makes this book really valuable to the church - we need to be ready for suffering because it will probably come to most of us.

More than that this book reminds us that we're not in the hands of chance but of Sovereign God. And he does not promise an easy ride for his people.

We live in the midst of a fallen world and you can add promises of persecution for Christians.

Desiring God Ministries do the church a great service by hosting conferences on these issues (in addition to last year's one on Sex & The Supremacy of God), and then writing them up for our benefit. The case may not be complete but it's extensive and careful. John Piper's teaching on joy is probably what he is most recognised for, but I wonder whether it may be his gutsy attitude to suffering that is shaped by Scripture that will be his legacy. The church needs to learn how to suffer once more and this book will help us set down a solid anchor before the storm comes, or to help us find our bearings in the midst of the storm.

Paul Huxley's review

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

"Big eyes full of wonder"

Books. Fiction. Libraries. Second only to churches as are the best gateways in your community to ultimate reality and new possibilities.

Our local library has just re-opened after refurbishment, and I love that our boys have spent several mornings there during the summer holidays, discovering some wonderful new stories.

I realised a few months back that I wasn't reading enough fiction. My work necessitates reading a lot of non-fiction, a mix of historical and contemporary thinking, biblical studies and theology. But fiction is the cinderella. Easily overlooked, and yet able to awaken my imagination and show me the way things are meant to be.

So I've picked up a few more lately - bought and borrowed. Not every book attempted flies, and that's ok. These have been winners though.

Ink. This is Alice Broadway's debut novel. It's young adult fiction and tells the story of Leora who lives in a world where the events of your life are tattooed on your skin. Nothing gets hid…

Uniquely Matthew

Reading gospel accounts in parallel is sometimes used to blur the differences in perspective between the evangelists, seeking to harmonise the texts and find a definitive historical account of what happened. No such thing exists because every account is biased and limited. You simply can't record everything. You have to hold a vantage point. And that's not a problem.

Matthew, Mark and Luke take a very different vantage point to John who was of course an eyewitness himself of the events. Comparing the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke across the death and resurrection of Jesus yields two steps.

Firstly, the common ground. All three accounts tell of...
Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross…. · Jesus labelled as King of the Jews…. · Criminals crucified with Jesus… · Darkness in the daytime… · Jesus' loud final cry… The women who witnessed Jesus death, and Jesus' burial… · The tomb lent to Jesus by Joseph of Arimithea… · The women who went to the tomb on the morning of the…

Songs we're singing in Church

Christians are a singing people, it's part of what we do when we gather.

Our church meets morning an evening on a Sunday - normally using 5 songs in each service. So, over the year that's about 520 song-slots available. The report from the database system we use (http://planningcenteronline.com/) tells us that in the past year we've sung about 150 different songs.

Our current most used song has been sung 11 times in the last year, just under once a month. Our top 10 are used about every 6 weeks. By #30 we're talking about songs used every two months. The tail is long and includes loads of classic hymns from across the centuries, plus other songs from the past 40 years, that we have used around once a term or less.

1. Rejoice - Dustin Kensrue



2. Come Praise & Glorify - Bob Kauflin



3. Man of Sorrows - Hillsong



4. Cornerstone - Hillsong


Rejoice was a song I didn't previously know, along with a couple of others that have quickly become firm favourites for me: Chri…