Through biographical sketches and select literary analysis, John Piper surveys the works of three mighty communicators of God’s beauty and Christ’s glory: George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C.S. Lewis. Piper seeks to demonstrate from their lives and works that the “effort to say beautifully is a way of seeing and savoring beauty.” These three men demonstrate how it is possible to glorify and enjoy God more fully through the discipline of word-craft, or “poetic effort.”
Table of Contents
Introduction: Not with “Words of Wisdom” Does the Bible Warrant Poetic Effort?
1. “While I Use I am with Thee”: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert
2. “I Will Not Be a Velvet-Mouthed Preacher!” The Life and Eloquence of George Whitefield
3. C.S. Lewis – Romantic, Rationalist, Likener, Evangelist: How Lewis’s Paths to Christ Shaped His Life and Ministry
Conclusion: Speak God’s Wonders—In His World and in His Word
Index of Scriptures
Index of Persons
Index of Subjects
Not with “Words of Wisdom” –
Does the Bible Warrant Poetic Effort?
The three men that Piper discusses in this book – George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C.S. Lewis – made “poetic effort in their Christ-exalting communications. They made poetic effort to see and savor and show the glories of Christ.” More specifically, the disciplined effort these men took in producing their poetry, prose, or sermons actually became a means for themselves and for others to experience the glory of Christ more fully. “My thesis is that this effort to say beautifully is, perhaps surprisingly, a way of seeing and savoring beauty.”
Piper immediately addresses a challenge to his thesis, one found in the pages of Scripture itself. Paul in 1Corinthians 1-2 seems to take a dim view of “words of eloquent wisdom” and “lofty speech.” Quoting James Denny, “No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save,” John Piper fears Paul’s words might contradict what he is attempting to do in this book. In the rest of the introduction, Piper …
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