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The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (Swans Are Not Silent #1) [Paperback]

By John Piper (Author)
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Swans Are Not Silent - Full Series Preview
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Item description for The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin (Swans Are Not Silent #1) by John Piper...

The lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin reveal the glory and grace of a perfect God in the imperfect lives of his faithful servants.

Publishers Description

We admire these men for their greatness, but the truth is Augustine grappled with sexual passions. Martin Luther struggled to control his tongue. John Calvin fought the battle of faith with worldly weapons.

Yet each man will always be remembered for the messages he declared-messages that still resound today. John Piper explores each of these men's lives, integrating Augustine's delight in God with Luther's emphasis on the Word and Calvin's exposition of Scripture. Through their strengths and struggles we can learn how to live better today. When we consider their lives, we behold the glory and majesty of God and find power to overcome our weaknesses.

If ever you are complacent about sin, if ever you lose the joy of Jesus Christ, if ever you are dulled by the world's influence, let the lives of these men help you recapture the wonder of God. Book 1 in The Swans Are Not Silent series.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   158
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 11, 2006
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
Series  Swans Are Not Silent  
Series Number  1  
ISBN  1581348134  
ISBN13  9781581348132  

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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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( A ) > Augustine
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( L ) > Luther, Martin
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Authors, A-Z > ( P ) > Piper, John
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > Faith
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
6Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General
7Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Inspiration > Motivation > Biography & Autobiography
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Legacy Of Sovereign Joy (Swans Are Not Silent V1)?

Great introduction to the foundations of these men...  Sep 9, 2008
This is the first of the series of "The Swans Are Not Silent." This series is a series of books that are quick bios on the the lives of different people in the history of Christendom. The reason for the title of this series comes from a quote from Eraclius. Piper tells us the following:

At the age of seventy-one, four years before he died on August 28, A.D. 430, Aurelius Augustine handed over the administrative duties of the church in Hippo on the northern coast of Africa to his assistant Eraclius. Already, in his own lifetime, Augustine was a giant in the Christian world. At the ceremony, Eraclius stood to preach, as the aged Augustine sat on his bishop's throne behind him. Overwhelmed by a sense of inadequacy in Augustine's presence, Eraclius said, "The cricket chirps, the swan is silent."

The reason that Piper chose to title this series, "The Swans are NOT Silent" is because the legacy of understanding of the sovereignty of God by Augustine has been anything but silent. So, the idea behind this book of biographies is to show that the swans from Augustine to Luther to Calvin were not silent but heralded the truth of Sovereign Joy.

In this book, Piper gives three biographies in Augustine, Luther and Calvin. He focuses on four topics to which he really wants to drive home in these men:

1. Do not be paralyzed by your weaknesses and flaws

Piper does admit that the men being studied in this book are flawed. They are not perfect. Which is good, because they are not Christ, and we, as humans, can learn from them and their understanding of working out their salvation with fear and trembling. These men, although imperfect, continued to bear fruit for the sake of the glory of God.

2. In the battle against sin and surrender, learn the secret of sovereign joy

This was shown most clearly in the life of Augustine. Although he went from complete paganism and the love of women, to believing in complete heresy, God brought him through this to his side for the glory of God. Augustine saw this as God's complete work of salvation through him, which if it weren't for God, Augustine would have never come to God on his own.

3. Supernatural change comes from seeing Christ in his sacred word

Luther was the found in the light of this thesis statement. Luther focused in on the sacred study of the word of God. He saw that this is where Christ was to be found through the Holy Spirit, prayer and meditation. He made sure that people, especially those caught in the bounds of Catholicism, realized that our only hope is found in the Word of God and not in the knowledge and tradition of men.

4. Therefore, let us exult over the exposition of the truth of the gospel and herald the glory of Christ for the joy of all peoples.

Piper shows this in the life of John Calvin. When Calvin found Christ in the Scriptures and was caught up in Reformation doctrine, he did what he only knew he should do: Preach. John Calvin's life was known for his preaching. Preaching for John Calvin was faithful, verse by verse, exposition of the word of God. Here he found that through this preaching the exaltation and glory of Christ was found and given for us all to enjoy. So much so that when he was preaching in Geneva, he was banished by the city council. When he was allowed to return three years later, he picked up the exposition in the next verse. John Calvin firmly believed in the preaching of the word of God.

This small book was a great quick intro to the lives of these men. By no means it is exhaustive, but that wasn't its intent. I would recommend this to anyone who either wants a quick refresher or for those who know very little about these men. You will notice that the overall these in these pages is the Sovereign Joy of our God. Recommended.
Giants of the Faith  Aug 19, 2007
The books in the Swan series are taken from a conference for pastors, where Dr. Piper presents these biographies. The biographies are never meant to be exhaustic treatment, but tailored to encourage pastors.

I find these brief biographies to be so wonderful and often whet the appetite for more. One can only be encourage and motivated to do more for the Lord, having bathed the soul in these well-written, tailored sketches.
Outstanding book, outstanding series!  Apr 5, 2007
Incredible. This is the first book of a series of four that Piper wrote to expose this generation to some of the great saints of the past. I started by reading book three, moved to book four, just completed the first and am looking forward to diving into the second book to finish the series. This book was very powerful, enlightening and challenging. As a Reformed believer, I've grown up with a tremendous appreciation of Luther and Calvin, but knew little about the incredible influence of Augustine. As I've matured in my walk and the more I read, the more I see the fruits of Augustine's thoughts in the works of so many great thinkers and writers that followed. Piper's expose on Augustine gave me an even greater appreciation for God's sovereign grace in the life of Augustine and for how God used him like the source lake from which mighty rivers of knowledge and grace have flowed down throughout history.

I think what I enjoyed most about the book is the concept that the central theme that connected these three men was their love for God's Word - they digested it daily, they wrestled with it, they sought to squeeze out every truth that could be known about God Himself from His divine and inspired Word. Their lives were devoted to the study of Scripture and to the accurate and passionate teaching of God's Word to the people. While each lived in tumultuous times, it was amazing to read about how diligent they were with their time and how much they accomplished without any of the modern conveniences that we enjoy today.

I would highly recommend this book and the entire series to all followers of Christ to gain an even greater appreciation for God and how He has used ordinary men throughout history to accomplish extraordinary things. The books are easy to read and relatively short, but are packed with great encouragement for every believer.
Listen to the voices of Christian history...  Apr 15, 2006
The Legacy of Sovereign Joy is Book One of John Piper's series The Swans are Not Silent. Each book of the series (of which there is currently four) collects three of the biographical lectures Piper gave at the annual Bethlehem Conference for Pastors over the past two decades. When Augustine resigned as Bishop of Hippo it was said that the "swan is silent." Piper aims to show that the swans, those in our heritage of Christians throughout the centuries, are in fact not silent.

This book expounds on the lives and thoughts of Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin. It begins with an introduction about "savoring the sovereignty of grace in the lives of flawed saints." Piper explains that each of these men "had this in common: they experienced, and built their lives and ministries on, the reality of God's omnipotent grace." (18) Noting some of the flaws of each of these men, Piper believes that "the glory of God, however dimly, is mirrored in the flawed lives of his faithful servants." (37)

Each chapter is about half biography and half theological survey and averages 34 pages. There is a pattern to each chapter: after a brief introduction John Piper provides a biographical sketch and then brings out a prominent theme from author's theology. For Augustine, the theme is sovereign joy, for Luther it is sacred study, and for Calvin it is the divine majesty of the Word.

After these chapters, Piper concludes with four lessons we can learn from the "flawed saints." "1) Do not be paralyzed by your weaknesses and flaws... 2) In the battle against sin and surrender, learn the secret of sovereign joy... 3) Supernatural change comes from seeing Christ in his sacred Word... 4) Therefore, let us exult the exposition of the truth of the Gospel and herald the glory of Christ for the joy of all peoples." (143-148)

It is evident throughout the book that John Piper has done his homework; quoting often from primary texts and secondary sources. While there may be some over simplification in regard to the theological themes, Piper's points are nonetheless insightful and practical. Each chapter serves as a great introduction to the lives and thoughts of these Christian men. The Legacy of Sovereign Joy provides a stimulating resource for those looking to discover some of the motivating themes of the Reformed tradition.
Concise but comprehensive  Sep 15, 2005
Concise but comprehensive might sound like a contradiction but I couldn't think of any other way to describe it. John Piper really introduced me to Jonathan Edwards, and between the two of them I would say that no other author has had as much of an impact upon me in the last few years as these two. Now Piper introduces us to Augustine, Luther, and Calvin also. This is the first book in a series of three and well worth the investment. I read it in my spare time in just 1 week, have the second book ready to go, but regret not purchasing the third at the same time. Piper's strength is not only in presenting one very compelling argument about the triumph of God's grace (or "Sovereign Joy"), but to do it by presenting numerous facets of the work of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, which are easy to follow and understand, gives an excellent overview of their lives and ministries, and which leaves you wanting to (and feeling confident of being able to) read from the original sources. Every page was a gem. Be warned though, I got about 10 pages into the book then realised my mistake ... I should have read this book with a pencil and note pad in hand! There are so many great quotes from Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, not to mention Piper himself that you'll want to write some of them down to chew over later (or file away for sermon illustrations). This is an easy read and a great introduction the some major figures in church history, not to mention excellent food for the soul. In a day when people are so biblically illiterate as well as ignorant (or contemptible) of church history, this book demonstrates that our impoverishment is foolish and unnecessary. We need more books like this! I would have given it 6 stars if I could, simply on price, readability, and content alone.

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