Reformed Christian Books & Resources
The purpose of ReformedBooks.net is to provide the worldwide Reformed community with a recommended list of books which we believe deserve the distinction of being best in category. Our goal is to honor Christ by equipping Christians in the truth by pointing you to the finest classic resources of historical Reformed orthodoxy. We do this prayerfully in the hope that the church will embrace, and recover a Christ-centered gospel and the true Biblical doctrines of the historic faith. Under each category you you will find 3-5 representative books of high quality that we believe most accurately displays the intent of the Scripture.
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Book Review: Finally Alive, by John Piper
Reviewed by Nathan Pitchford
Synopsis: There are very few doctrines, if any, that are more central to the distinction between true Christianity and false religion than the doctrine of the new birth, or regeneration. When a very religious Nicodemus sought Jesus out by night, it was the doctrine of the new birth that proved him an unbeliever, still dead in his sins. When the gnostic heretics were filling the church with confusion in John's day, it was the doctrine of the new birth, over and over again, that he used to distinguish true believers from false imposters. And so today, if we would learn what it really is to be a Christian – what distinguishes a true Christian from a merely religious person, how a person becomes a true Christian, what true Christianity looks like in a person's everyday life – it must be the biblical teaching on the doctrine of regeneration that informs our understanding. John Piper's new book, Finally Alive, is a lucid and compelling study of this vital doctrine. Argued adroitly from a wide range of scriptural passages, and applied poignantly and appropriately to the state of the Church in modern America, Finally Alive cannot fail to have a dramatic impact on our understanding of what a Christian really is, how we can examine our own hearts to discern if we are truly in the faith, and how we can labor more passionately and effectively for the gospel-accomplishment of regeneration in the hearts of those all around us and across the world who are still dead in trespasses and sins. This is not just first-rate exegesis – it is convicting, practical, exhortational material. Highly recommended!
In the world of American Evangelicalism, there are few catch-phrases more widely-used than the term “born again”. In fact, this biblical term has even spread beyond the bounds of professing Christendom, and has become deeply rooted in American culture at large. But do those who use the phrase “born again” understand what the bible actually intends by that phrase? In the vast majority of cases, it is clear that they do not. But the true biblical teaching on what it means to be born again is far too important to give up to the haze of widespread misunderstanding. An accurate and scriptural explanation of what the new birth really comprises is a most pressing need for the modern church.
Finally Alive, by John Piper, fulfills that need admirably. In his book, Piper explains just what it means to be born again, and shows how the scriptural teaching on that subject is designed to give all glory to God, and to cast us in utter dependence upon him. Then, he explains just why this sovereign creation of new, spiritual life is so necessary – why we need it because of our natural hopeless condition and why we need it for the great and precious promises that it secures for us. In his heartfelt and understandable way, he explains the whole scriptural testimony about the process by which it comes about, and the chain of events it unfailingly sets in motion in the life of those upon whom it is wrought. And finally, in keeping with his ever-present passion for missions and evangelism, Piper spends the last chapters exhorting believers everywhere to give their lives to laboring to bring about the divinely-wrought miracle of the new birth through the human means of gospel proclamation, the seed of the living and abiding word of truth through which God's Spirit stirs up the dead to life, filling hearts that had been stony with a living faith that works itself out in love.
The highlights of the book are, first, Piper's incisive exegesis of key passages, among which the most notable are 1 Peter 1:13-25 and virtually the entire epistle of 1 John, which he unpacks throughout a very considerable portion of the book; and second, the practical, hortatory manner in which Piper deals with the topic; the doctrine of God's utter sovereignty in the monergistic work of regeneration definitely does not and cannot lead to a passivity and apathy in our lives as Christians. The new birth gives life, which by its very nature exercises itself in believing, loving, practicing righteousness, spreading the good news of the gospel of Christ. If our lives are not characterized by these traits, then maybe a more accurate understanding of the biblical teaching on regeneration is just the means God may use to stir us up to love and good works. God grant that it might be so!