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Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen (The Swans Are Not Silent, Book 4) [Hardcover]

By John Piper (Author)
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Item description for Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen (The Swans Are Not Silent, Book 4) by John Piper...

John Piper gives us biographies of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen--bishop, pastor, and seminary founder. In the life of each individual, personal holiness was emphasized publicly and privately, despite hardship and suffering. They contended for Jesus Christ, our All, and they remain examples for us today. Fourth volume of The Swans Are Not Silent series.

Community Description
Continuing his series of Christian biographies, Piper examines the inspirational lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen---bishop, pastor, and seminary founder. Threats and exile, the death of loved ones, opposition from friends and authorities, pain and illness---nothing stopped their amazing efforts and zeal in guarding the gospel! 176 pages, hardcover from Crossway Brooks.
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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   192
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.32" Width: 6.26" Height: 0.76"
Weight:   0.92 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2006
Series  Swans Are Not Silent  
Series Number  4  
ISBN  158134676X  
ISBN13  9781581346763  

Availability  0 units.

More About John Piper

John Piper John Piper, the preaching pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis since 1980, is the author of numerous books" "and a senior writer for "World "magazine,"" He received his doctorate in theology from the University of Munich and taught biblical studies for six years at Bethel College, St. Paul, before becoming a pastor. He and his wife, Noel, have four sons and one daughter.

SPANISH BIO: John Piper es pastor de Bethlehem Baptist Church, en Mineapolis. Sus muchos libros incluyen: Cuando no deseo a Dios, No desperdicies tu vida, Lo que Jesus exige del mundo.

John Piper currently resides in Minneapolis, in the state of Minnesota. John Piper was born in 1946.

John Piper has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Coleccion Teologica Contemporanea: Estudios Ministeriales
  2. Essential Edwards Collection
  3. John Piper Small Group
  4. Lifechange Books
  5. Swans Are Not Silent

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1Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Religious
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4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Inspirational

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Reviews - What do customers think about Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen (The Swans Are Not Silent, Book 4)?

Lessons from the Lives of Athanasius, Owen, and Machen  Oct 7, 2008
Like the others in this series of biographical books, this one consists of sketches of the lives of three historical christian leaders along with discussion of lessons the reader can learn from each. The men whose life stories are featured in this volume are Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen, who each defended truth in the Christian controversies of their day.

The introduction of Contending for Our All is a defense of those who fight for "the truth and meaning of the gospel" when the truth of the gospel is at stake. The reason this defense must be made is that "[i]n every age there is a kind of person who tries to minimize the importance of truth-dening and truth-defending controversy by saying that prayer, worship, evangelism, missions, and dependence on the Holy Spirit are more important...."

Of course, these things are important, but they all depend on clear teaching of foundational truths. As Piper explains,

"I love the passion for faith and prayer and evangelism and worship behind those statements. But when they are used to belittle gospel-defining, gospel-defending controversy they bite the hand that feeds them. Christ-exalting prayer will not survive in an atmosphere where the preservation and explanation and vindication of the teaching of the Bible about the prayer-hearing God are devalued. Evangelism and world missions must feed on the solid food of well-grounded, unambiguous, rich gospel truth in order to sustain courage and confidence in the face of afflictions and false religions. And corporate worship will be diluted with cultural substitutes where the deep, clear, biblical contours of God's glory are not seen and guarded from ever-encroaching error."

Athanasius, Owen and Machen all understood how high the stakes were in the controversies of their times. They did not love controversy for controversy's sake, but they all understood how vital certain truths are to the health of the church, so they contended for the truth out of love--"love to Christ, his church, and his world."

Athansius defended the deity of Christ against the Arians way back in the fourth century. At times, most of Christendom stood against him. For more than forty years--all of his adult life--Athanasius fought for the truth of Christ's deity, even though for much of that time, those in power were working to get rid of him, exiling him five times. Eventually, however, the orthodoxy Athanasius fought for won out, although he did not live to see the successful outcome of his work.

John Owen, a Puritan pastor of the 1600s, wrote to defend against errors that diminished the gospel. He worked hard to uphold the truth throughout his whole life, despite the heartbreak that came from burying all eleven of his children. His writings include, among other things, defenses of the doctrines of perseverance of the saints and definite atonement.

J. Gresham Machen did his contending in the first half of the last century, standing against the errors of liberal Christianity. His most important work was Christianity and Liberalism. My favorite story about Machen is this one. As he lay dying, he sent a telegram to his friend John Murry that said, "I am so thankful for [the] active obedience of Christ. No hope without it." You have to love a man who finds his comfort in death in the doctrine of the imputation of Christ's righteousness.

John Piper draws out many lessons for us from the lives of these three men who contended for the truth against false teaching, but his central lesson is this:

"Faithful Christians do not love controversy; they love peace. They love their brothers and sisters who disagree with them. They long for a common mind for the cause of Christ. But they are bound by their conscience and by the Word of God, for this very reason, to try to persuade the church concerning the fullness of the truth and beauty of God's word."

I love biographies and I love church history, so I loved Contending for Our All. However, if you are looking for detailed life stories like you would find in most biographies, you may be disappointed. But if you want to learn lessons from the lives of these historical figures of the church, lessons that you can apply to your life now in our times, this book will suit you well.
Celebration Of Truth  Aug 2, 2008
John Piper shows the solid and sober Christian Athanasius was:
'He is surrounded by an atmosphere of truth. Not a single miracle of any kind is related to him. The saintly reputation of Athanasius rested on his life and character alone, without the aid of any reputation for miraculous power.'
pg 41, quoted from Archibald Robertson.

The fourth and final instalment of 'The Swans Are Not Silent' enters the deep fray of doctrine, and the struggle for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints, in the lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J Gresham Machen.
Piper's emphasis is again on historical truth, and to commend others not to jettison the lessons learnt in the preservation of biblical truth. How it came to be defended before is not irrelevant, but definitive for our contemporary church.

'The problem with modernity is that it has bred forces that are hostile to biblical faith and yet produced a world that believers readily embrace.' pg 131

'When the preference for what is new combines with a naturalistic bias and a scepticism about finding abiding truth, the stage is set for the worst abuses of religious language and the worst manipulations of historic confessions.'
pg 133

'It makes very little difference how much or how little of the creeds the church the modernist preacher affirms, or how much or how little of the biblical teaching from which the creeds are derived. He might affirm every jot and tittle of the Westminster Confession, for example, and yet be separated by a great gulf from the Reformed faith. It is not that part is denied and the rest affirmed; but all is denied, because all is affirmed merely as useful or symbolic and not as true.' pg 134, Gresham Machen, quoted from What Is Faith? pg 34

'This utilitarian view of history and language leads to evasive, vague language that enables the modernist to mislead people into thinking he is still orthodox.' pg 135

'When you take away any norm of truth, you take away the only means of measuring movement from lesser to greater, or worse to better.' pg 136

'As over against... (the pragmatist, modernist) attitude, we believers in historic Christianity maintain the objectivity of truth. Theology, we hold, is not an attempt to express in merely symbolic terms an inner experience, which must be expressed in different terms in subsequent generations; but it is a setting forth of those facts upon which experience is based.' pg 138, Gresham Machen, quoted from What Is Faith? pg 32

'If we do not know history, we will be weak and poor in our efforts to be faithful today. Our hope for the church and the spread of the true gospel lies not ultimately in our strategies, but in God. And there is every hope that He will triumph.' pg 139
To the Glory of God!  May 1, 2007
John Piper has given his life, I am convinced after reading this book, to the supremacy of God in all things through a spread of the pure gospel. In this insightful volume, which is part of the "Swans are Not Silent", Piper looks at the life of Athanasius, the beloved bishop, John Owen, the greatest mind of the puritans, and J. Gresham Machen, one the last great theologians of the old Princeton Theological Seminary.

Each biographical sketch surrounds what was pivotal in the lives of these men. This volume is by no means a detail work, but it is nevertheless a powerful one. It is a primer for the reader to be engaged in the lives of older saints, who surrendered their all for the cause of Christ. Buy and Read!
A glimpse into the lives of some great saints of the faith  Feb 26, 2007
The fourth book of Piper's The Swans Are Not Silent series on the lives of the great saints of the faith, Contending for Our All exposes the reader to the lives of three great warriors who battled for truth against great odds and in the face of great persecution. Athanasius, one of the early church fathers, became bishop of Alexandra in 328 and passed away in 373. He was almost single-handedly responsible for the battle against the heresy of Arius who claimed that Jesus, as the son of God, was a created being; not one with the Father from time and eternity. Athanasius fought this false doctrine and his teaching and influence resulted in the creeds from the Council of Nicaea as well as the Council of Constantinople shortly after his death.

Piper next explores the life and teachings of Puritan pastor John Owen, a man tremendously influential in the lives of some of today's outstanding Christians leaders such as J.I. Packer and Sinclair Ferguson. Some, including Gordon-Conwell Seminary professor Roger Nicole, consider Owen to be the greatest theologian who has ever written in the English language - even greater than Jonathan Edwards. Owen's most outstanding works are The Death of Death in the Death of Christ and Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers. In addition to his writing Owen was a pastor, the Vice Chancellor at Oxford, and heavily involved in the affairs of Parliament. He also suffered the death of his eleven children during his lifetime. Owen is buried next to his contemporary John Bunyan in London.

Finally, Piper tells the story of the short, but controversial life of J. Gresham Machen, a man who stood at the turn of the century here in America and sounded the alarm regarding the liberalization of the church. As a professor at Princeton Seminary, Machen was in a key position to witness this cultural shift that he called "modernity" and that he defined not as a subset of Christianity but rather as a hostile competitor to the traditional and historical faith grounded in Scripture. Machen watched as Princeton Seminary "died," so he and several others left the once-great seminary to start Westminster Seminary. Machen was not only a New Testament scholar, but also one of the first cultural apologists whose influence shaped the life of the great Francis Schaeffer among others.

This series by Piper is quite extraordinary giving the reader a glimpse into the lives, struggles, victories, personalities, and ministries of some of the great saints of the faith. I highly recommend these books to every Christian wanting to know more about the Christian faith and the men and women included in the "great cloud of witnesses."
Good introduction...  Dec 26, 2006
This book gives a good introduction to these three men; Athanasius, Owen and Machen. It walks through their lives and a little on their theology. I guess I was hoping for a little more on their theology but since the book is less than 200 pages what can you expect? Very concise and easy to read and follow and like most of what Piper does, there is good application to what these men lived and believed. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to be introduced to these three vital men of Christendom.

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