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Winner of the 2012 Outreach Cross-Cultural Ministry Resource of the Year Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible? Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to Winner of the 2012 Outreach Cross-Cultural Ministry Resource of the Year Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible? Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to organizations, education, famous personalities, or government programs to address racial strife, Piper reveals the definitive source of hope--teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God. Learn to pursue ethnic harmony from a biblical perspective, and to relate to real people different from yourself, as you take part in the bloodline of Jesus that is comprised of "every tongue, tribe, and nation."


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Winner of the 2012 Outreach Cross-Cultural Ministry Resource of the Year Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible? Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to Winner of the 2012 Outreach Cross-Cultural Ministry Resource of the Year Genocide. Terrorism. Hate crimes. In a world where racism is far from dead, is unity amidst diversities even remotely possible? Sharing from his own experiences growing up in the segregated South, pastor John Piper thoughtfully exposes the unremitting problem of racism. Instead of turning finally to organizations, education, famous personalities, or government programs to address racial strife, Piper reveals the definitive source of hope--teaching how the good news about Jesus Christ actively undermines the sins that feed racial strife, and leads to a many-colored and many-cultured kingdom of God. Learn to pursue ethnic harmony from a biblical perspective, and to relate to real people different from yourself, as you take part in the bloodline of Jesus that is comprised of "every tongue, tribe, and nation."

30 review for Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Breeden

    I read several of John Piper's books in college and enjoyed them but realized they were all kind of the same book, which is fine since it wasn't a bad book that he was re-writing again and again. I've noticed diversity in Piper's output lately, instead of writing about Christian Joy (or Christian Hedonism, as he famously calls it) in every book, now he's writing about marriage and race and thinking and other issues (which joy still helpfully lingering in the background). This book on Race and the I read several of John Piper's books in college and enjoyed them but realized they were all kind of the same book, which is fine since it wasn't a bad book that he was re-writing again and again. I've noticed diversity in Piper's output lately, instead of writing about Christian Joy (or Christian Hedonism, as he famously calls it) in every book, now he's writing about marriage and race and thinking and other issues (which joy still helpfully lingering in the background). This book on Race and the Gospel was much better than I anticipated. Piper uses theology, including the gospel, justification by faith, and the five points of Calvinism, to address the sin of racism and the problems that stem from it. He uses the gospel to fight the hatred, the guilt, and the pride that are often issues in race relations on all sides. He even confesses his own guilt of being a racist Southern growing up and how he has found freedom from that guilt in Jesus. The first half of the book deals with Piper's reasons for writing the book and sets the stage for what is to come using statistics and relying on lots of other literature to guide the way. In the second half of the book he digs into theology and the Bible (using every passage that could possibly relate to racism) to show that the Christian faith opposes and can actually destroy racism. One of the chapters I really appreciated is when Piper quotes extensively from Bill Cosby (who has written that a primary problem with the black community is lack of personal responsibility) and Michael Dyson (who has criticized Cosby and argued that the primary problem is systemic racism in American society). Piper argues that both are true and that the good news of Jesus can address both issues. This to me shows how seriously Piper takes the issue of racism. Piper provides a very thorough and thoughtful treatment of it and, at one point, he acknowledges that he cannot begin to understand what it must be like to be at the receiving end of racism for decades/generations. Piper doesn't try to trivialize racism by assuming he understands it nor does he blow it out of proportion, which, for an issue like this one, is difficult to do. These thoughtful comments really add to the book's value and insight on the issues at hand. Another great chapter is Piper's meditation on the gospel and how it relates directly to racial problems in America. In that chapter he explores how the gospel destroys hatred, fear, pride, self-doubt, greed, and hopelessness. Finally, his chapter on interracial marriage is very solid as well. Piper cuts through the argument that some occasionally put forth: "I'm not racist, but I just think the races should marry within themselves." Piper not only argues that interracial marriage is OK, he says it's a good and positive thing which we should celebrate. Not only do I heartily recommend this book for its content, namely, the gospel and racism are contradictory and only the gospel can conquer racism and heal the wounds it's caused, but I also love the method that Piper uses. He shows how practical theology can and should be in our everyday lives. Both of these things are worth the price of the book. Ultimately, this is a book that glorifies Jesus Christ and his gospel by showing how God is reconciling all races to Himself and to one another through Christ's work on the cross. It really is something to behold.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Bryce Beale

    I have encountered books about race that also discuss God's word, but this is a book about God's word that also discusses race. It is a book about the gospel--its beauty and glory and power. Yet, much like the apostles in Acts 6, after establishing God's word and gospel as the highest priority, it is willing to address cultural and ethnic disputes that have arisen. Piper is fighting against two tendancies in evangelicalism: 1. To make racial issues the most important thing, as Critical Race Theor I have encountered books about race that also discuss God's word, but this is a book about God's word that also discusses race. It is a book about the gospel--its beauty and glory and power. Yet, much like the apostles in Acts 6, after establishing God's word and gospel as the highest priority, it is willing to address cultural and ethnic disputes that have arisen. Piper is fighting against two tendancies in evangelicalism: 1. To make racial issues the most important thing, as Critical Race Theory does; 2. To make racial issues the least important thing, as political conservatism does. The first tendancy undermines a genuine biblical worldview and real fellowship among believers across ethnic lines (everyone suspects everyone's motives), while the second hardens its heart against the real difficulties faced by minorities and shuts down any discussion of racism for fear that it will let liberalism into the church (and everyone suspects everyone's motives). I have read several books on race from across the spectrum, from Christian to liberal Christian to liberal non-Christian. And to date, this is the only one I feel comfortable recommending. It will not address nor solve every issue, but someone will come away from the book saying what those said who went to hear the anti-slavery Spurgeon preach: "Christ is a great Savior!"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Saturated with God's inerrant word and a focused laser beam on the gospel, this is a book I want to revisit in print so I can highlight and review. I discovered this title through a list of books recommended for reading by Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. The list was published early in June of this year when the protests after the death of George Floyd were highly visible in the news. When I told a coworker about this book, I said that what I craved was seeing the issue of racial strife in the Saturated with God's inerrant word and a focused laser beam on the gospel, this is a book I want to revisit in print so I can highlight and review. I discovered this title through a list of books recommended for reading by Marvin Olasky of World Magazine. The list was published early in June of this year when the protests after the death of George Floyd were highly visible in the news. When I told a coworker about this book, I said that what I craved was seeing the issue of racial strife in the light of the gospel. John Piper's book does exactly that. Since I listened to the book on audio, I am hesitant to list the various topics covered. The section on inter-racial marriage was one that really impacted me. When contemplating the subject, it occurred to me that as people from varied ethnic backgrounds join hands in the covenant of marriage, we are returning the human race back to its beginnings from one man and one woman. Finally, how can we consider this topic without meditating on the beautiful vision of heaven we are given in Revelation 7:9-12: "After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

  4. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    I read this book for a research project and, out of at least five books, this one is my favorite. In my opinion, Piper most clearly and humbly argues from Scripture about the issue of race/ethnicity and the goals of gospel-centered harmony. Writing from his own experience as a racist teenager (his words), he shares how God changed his heart - both in relationship with God and with others. It's so good that I would actually recommend it for anyone because it has really helped me to think more bib I read this book for a research project and, out of at least five books, this one is my favorite. In my opinion, Piper most clearly and humbly argues from Scripture about the issue of race/ethnicity and the goals of gospel-centered harmony. Writing from his own experience as a racist teenager (his words), he shares how God changed his heart - both in relationship with God and with others. It's so good that I would actually recommend it for anyone because it has really helped me to think more biblically about people that are different than I am and has helped me appreciate more the glory that God receives in calling many peoples to himself. You can't come away from this book unchallenged. It has given me a excitement for pursuing racial/ethnic harmony where most of what I read has so far failed. As always, Piper's books also leave the reader with a passion for God - his glory, his Word, his plan, his nature, his love, his justice...and on and on. This is more of a theoretical book. You will find lots of teaching from the Bible about aspects of how the gospel is what drives us toward reconciliation with God and with others (across all barriers), but not a ton of practical "how-to's." One of the appendixes gives examples of what Bethlehem Baptist has done to try to apply these truths and a particularly practical chapter (Probability, Prejudice, and Christ) was really helpful in discussing the line between what Piper calls probability judgments ("generalizing from the particulars of our experience") and stereotyping/prejudice. Being prone to justify our stereotypes as probability judgements, Piper includes a list of warning signs of a sinful disposition and a few evidences of a "good heart." I'll list them here because I think they are such a helpful gauge (taken word for word from page 223): We have a sinful disposition when: -We want a person to fit a negative generalization (accurate or inaccurate) that we have formed about a group. -We assume that a statistically true negative generalization is true of a particular person in the face of individual evidence to the contrary. -We treat all the members of a group as if all must be characterized by a negative (or positive) generalization. -We speak negatively of a group based on a generalization without giving any evidence that we acknowledge and appreciate the exceptions. -We speak disparagingly of an entire group on the basis of a negative generalization without any personal regard for those in the group who don’t fit the generalization. The evidence for a good heart in relationship to others would, of course, be the renunciation of those five traits. But more positively this good heart . . . . . . desires to know people and treat people for who they really are as individuals, not simply as a representative of a class or a group. If this were not so, Jesus could never be recognized for who he really is. Do you desire—really desire—to know people and treat people as individuals not merely as samples of their group? . . . is willing to take risks to act against negative expectations and belittling stereotypes when dealing with a person. Paul said, “Love . . .believes all things, hopes all things” (1 Cor. 13:7). I think he meant that love strives to believe and hope for the best, not the worst. . . . is ready, like Nathanael, to repent quickly and fully, when we have made a mistake and judged someone wrongly There were some cases in which I thought perhaps the author was overextending the text to be relevant to race/ethnicity, but Piper is actually refreshingly honest and up front about which texts he thinks speak directly to the issue and which texts have principles that can be applied to the issue. He's also up front about his Reformed theological framework which is helpful since he goes in depth about the five points of Calvinism and how they, as they coincide with the gospel, repel us from racism. In any case, one of the things I appreciate about Piper is that he supports his arguments with Scripture and he is careful to give voice to differing views or things that make a text harder to interpret. I feel like I learned a lot about different passages from his exposition. The material is a little repetitive, but Piper unpacks the power of the gospel in several nuanced themes and I thought it was very effective for making his point. I love his book conclusions - they are often so powerful. I'll end the review with a portion from his conclusion as it does a great job of capturing the main thrust of the book: It is not first a social issue, but a blood issue. The bloodline of Christ is deeper than the bloodlines of race. I have tried to show that the gospel of Christ is more relevant for the American and global dimensions of ethnic disharmony than we can imagine. The great issue of the human race is that we are alienated from God. That is the first and deepest problem. Alienation from each other is next and is rooted in that first and deeper alienation. Only the Son of God, Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, can reconcile us to God. And only then can we pursue Christ-exalting, God-centered, gospel-driven diversity and harmony. Our failures to love each other are rooted in our sin against God. When we are reconciled to God by the gospel of Christ, a new supernatural power enters our life, our family, our churches, and the world. This is the power of Jesus Christ alive within his people. The failings of the human heart that Jesus changes by the power of his gospel are the root causes of racial and ethnic disharmony – guilt, pride, hopelessness, paralyzing feelings of inferiority, greed, hate, fear, and apathy. Only one power in the world can conquer these and the supernatural influence of Satan, which is constantly at work in the world to escalate them to genocidal proportions – the power of the gospel.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    You should buy this and read it!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Andy T.

    Read most of this book years ago, but for some reason never finished it. Decided to pick it up again after my pastor quoted from it. Really good.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mike Knox

    This is a remarkable book on racism. Piper has read the popular, academic, and biblical literature with his usual care and insight, and in this book he provides much help to the rest of us Christians who “have not trained [our] powers of discernment in matters of racial and ethnic issues” (45). Part One (Our World: The Need for the Gospel) opened my eyes to the black-white racial tensions to the south. Here Piper talks about structural versus personal strategies for making racial progress before This is a remarkable book on racism. Piper has read the popular, academic, and biblical literature with his usual care and insight, and in this book he provides much help to the rest of us Christians who “have not trained [our] powers of discernment in matters of racial and ethnic issues” (45). Part One (Our World: The Need for the Gospel) opened my eyes to the black-white racial tensions to the south. Here Piper talks about structural versus personal strategies for making racial progress before concluding that a third strategy is needed—the gospel itself. The gospel is able to overcome nine destructive forces (Satan, guilt, pride, hopelessness, feelings of inferiority and self-doubt, greed, hatred, fear, and apathy) in ways that personal and structural strategies can’t touch (87). Part Two is all about the power of that gospel. Jesus is the end of ethnocentrism. God provided one way to himself through Christ’s blood. This one sacrifice is for everyone. In reconciling all to God it reconciles peoples to each other, as all who believe become one new entity. Revelation 5.9 teaches us that God intends to have people from every ethnic group (chp 9). Romans 3 teaches us that every people is justified the same way (chp 10). In chp 11 irresistible grace means that no one is too racist to be out of reach of God’s grace. All of these chapters, along with the subsequent ones, show the gospel’s relevance and power to such a large problem as racism. Piper also has wise words to say about interracial marriage (chp 15), persuasively showing that the Bible blesses, not prohibits, it. Another thorny issue is dealt with in chp 16: the issue of prejudice and generalizing about others based on their ethnicity. Piper suggests that generalizations are unavoidable, and they can be made without falling into racial sin provided that one has a good heart. He offers eight penetrating questions with which to test our hearts in this matter. Appendix Four usefully takes up the question: “What are the implications of Noah’s curse?” I’ll let Piper summarize the book for himself: The aim of this book has been to encourage you to pursue Christ-exalting, gospel-driven racial and ethnic diversity and harmony—espe­cially in the family of God, the church of Jesus Christ. I have tried to argue from Scripture that the blood of Christ was shed for this. It is not first a social issue, but a blood issue. The bloodline of Christ is deeper than the bloodlines of race. (227) My favourite quotes: The bloodline of Jesus Christ is deeper than the bloodlines of race. The death and resurrection of the Son of God for sinners is the only sufficient power to bring the bloodlines of race into the single bloodline of the cross. (13-14) To be a Christian is to move toward need, not comfort. (110) Jesus’s behavior is like a US Marine caring for a Taliban freedom fighter. (117) Jesus is the point in redemptive history where the true Israel becomes the church of Christ and the church (Jew and Gentile) emerges as the true Israel. This is the mystery of Christ, now revealed, and it is possible because of the cross. (125) The ethnic diversity of hell is a crucial doctrine. (135)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sean Murphy

    Overall a good defense of the gospel and how it relates to racial reconciliation. I did not agree with all of his conclusions and how he connected the two, but there were strong arguments that were effective. I liked his humility and honesty, but you can tell he has not come all the way on the path of reconciliation (or at least to my thinking). But a worthy read, especially if you want a conservative and reformed perspective on the topic.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Peele

    Piper presents a compelling and convicting work on race, unity, and compassion in the cross. This book pulls you into the roots of racism, historically and in the soul. John dives into how the Gospel directly speaks against racism and offers hope and direction for the church to implement change in our world.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Andy Schmidt

    Overall a good book. Provides lots of good Biblical basis for why we should care about race and ethnicity issues. Strong emphasis on the Gospel as it relates to race relations, which was much appreciated. Moves the discussion somewhat more away from politics and towards the Bible and how we should live out our lives with this knowledge. Typical for Piper in that it is a little long-winded.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Walker

    Piper persuasively walks through how the doctrine of reformed theology actually fights against racism. He effectively walks through each of the marks emphasizing how the doctrine pushes towards racial reconciliation. His 4 appendixes are worth reading as well.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Claude

    Re-read this one recently. Better than I remember.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J. Amill Santiago

    Five Stars worthy. While it is not one of the most popular books Piper has ever written, it is probably one of the best he has ever written. It is also perhaps the most personal book Piper has ever written, being very honest and vulnerable about his own racism as a young teenager. The book also takes historical tensions between black and whites seriously, without whitewashing the sins of white Christians in general, and revered Reformed theologians of the past in particular. At the same time, the Five Stars worthy. While it is not one of the most popular books Piper has ever written, it is probably one of the best he has ever written. It is also perhaps the most personal book Piper has ever written, being very honest and vulnerable about his own racism as a young teenager. The book also takes historical tensions between black and whites seriously, without whitewashing the sins of white Christians in general, and revered Reformed theologians of the past in particular. At the same time, the greatest strength of the book is its theological robustness. Piper really takes a deep look at every passage in the Scriptures that speaks directly or indirectly about racial relationships in light of the Gospel, the Incarnation, the Atonement, among other theological themes. The appendixes are really helpful too, particularly one that deal with how his church has been fighting for decades to be proactive in the real of racial reconciliation. I cannot recommend it enough!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stacia

    audible: 5 stars - excellently read! Excellent book that will give you a grounded theology of race, racism and ethnicity. Piper expertly handles the word of God and its implications for race relations. Excellent book, I highly recommend!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    "Racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races," so says the Presbyterian Church in America. John Piper wrote this book because he has a debt to pay. God rescued him from the sins rooted in racism and hopes to convince others. If he had to, Piper could reduce the size of this book to three chapters and the conclusion, and I think maybe he should have. Piper is concerned that many of us have not matured to the point of bein "Racism is an explicit or implicit belief or practice that qualitatively distinguishes or values one race over other races," so says the Presbyterian Church in America. John Piper wrote this book because he has a debt to pay. God rescued him from the sins rooted in racism and hopes to convince others. If he had to, Piper could reduce the size of this book to three chapters and the conclusion, and I think maybe he should have. Piper is concerned that many of us have not matured to the point of being discerning in matters of racial and ethnic issues. We tend to go in one of two ways: 1. painfully oblivious to the racial and ethnic concern or 2. idolizing the racial and ethnic issue. This book focuses mostly on the black/white relations because of slavery and the civil rights of the 60's that is unique to the black/white history in America. There is a severe divide in this country as to where the blame for racial unrest lies. One side wants to blame the individual while the other side wants to blame politics and the community. The gospel calls both side to repent. And it is this that Piper focuses on: The gospel's healing power in racial and ethnic unrest and hatred. Piper is a Reformed Christian and he walks us through the reasons why this particular Christianity has the theology to heal, because theology matters. Unconditional election severs the root of racism. Atonement was made for every nation not a select and special group. All races are depraved and in need of a Savior. We are warned not to become chronological snobs. C.S.Lewis coined that term when he described the tendency of one generation to look at another and mock them for their particular sins. Chronological snobbery is thinking "we have progressed out of sins into greater righteousness, when in fact we are probably as soft on our own sins as the previous generation was on theirs." This book simplifies the issue of racism by taking us straight to the gospel of Christ and showing over and over and over that there is neither "Jew nor Greek, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free, but Christ is all in all." The racial divide was done away at the cross of Christ. It's really that simple, that straightforward. Simple and straightforward is what eventually was wrong with the book. It is all so obvious that it seems like a full length book about this is overwrought. I was surprised that Timothy Keller wrote the introduction because I really respect his deep theology and this book is lightweight.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tung

    Given all of the racism illustrated by the different events in the news in 2015 (Ferguson, Baltimore, SC church shooting, et al), this book by noted pastor and theologian John Piper has never been more needed. Bloodlines is Piper’s exposition on the evil of racism, on the mandate of the church to pursue diversity and overcome racism, on the central role the cross plays (and can play and should play) in overcoming racism, and on the explicit purpose of God’s plan to unite the world through Christ Given all of the racism illustrated by the different events in the news in 2015 (Ferguson, Baltimore, SC church shooting, et al), this book by noted pastor and theologian John Piper has never been more needed. Bloodlines is Piper’s exposition on the evil of racism, on the mandate of the church to pursue diversity and overcome racism, on the central role the cross plays (and can play and should play) in overcoming racism, and on the explicit purpose of God’s plan to unite the world through Christ for the glory of God. Piper frames everything as natural and direct applications of his reformed faith. I found Piper’s use of the Five Points of Calvinism as it relates to diversity and the end of ethnocentrism to be well-argued and well-framed. Throughout the exposition, Piper grounds everything in Scripture and connects verses and passages in a coherent and convincing and convicting argument for the individual believer and for the church to take the lead in efforts to end racial discord. One of the best points Piper makes is that overcoming racism can be accomplished in ways other than by ignoring diversity. In fact, God’s power and glory is revealed in the celebration of diversity AND that unity in diversity is a central part of God’s plan. My only quibbles with the book are in its writing and not in its arguments. One, Piper too often confesses and apologizes for the racism he harbored in his heart growing up in South Carolina. Clearly the book was very personal for him. I was moved by his repentance the first several instances they cropped up in the book, but at some point, I felt like his guilt was affecting his prose. Secondly, there is a bit of repetition from chapter to chapter. Almost every chapter begins by reviewing what was covered in the last chapter. But almost every chapter also ends with a forecast of what arguments are going to be made in coming chapters. During a sales training, I was once told that a good salesperson will “Tell them what you’ll tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them.” Piper was clearly emphasizing and repeating every point out of a desire to urge the reader to soak in every point; at times it felt repetitive. Nevertheless, this is a powerful read. I recommend every Christian read it to fully grasp the God-glorifying unity of diversity possible because of the gospel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bob Hayton

    John Piper gives us a sober, challenging read which should shake some of us out of our lethargy, when it comes to racial harmony. Piper brings up his own past, of growing up in a segregated south where the conservative Church turned a blind eye to the black man's struggle. He exposes his own racism, and labors to show how Scripture and specifically the gospel of Christ, cuts at the root of racism. Piper is known for his rational thought and his Calvinism. While admitting that Calvinists have hist John Piper gives us a sober, challenging read which should shake some of us out of our lethargy, when it comes to racial harmony. Piper brings up his own past, of growing up in a segregated south where the conservative Church turned a blind eye to the black man's struggle. He exposes his own racism, and labors to show how Scripture and specifically the gospel of Christ, cuts at the root of racism. Piper is known for his rational thought and his Calvinism. While admitting that Calvinists have historically fared poorly if judged on racial concerns, he nevertheless builds a pretty strong case that each of the Calvinistic doctrinal points should lead toward a greater solidarity between races. None of us are favored because of our own actions, our race shouldn't determine our fate, what's more is that Jesus Christ died specifically to redeem men and women of every race. A multicolored and multi-ethnic throng surrounds the throne of the Lamb in Revelation 5. And that should be our goal, to make heaven's will a reality here on earth. Along the way, Piper discusses practical aspects for how to implement a culture that aims for racial harmony, and he counters numerous objections. He delves into a cultural analysis too of structural racism and white guilt, among other topics. I found some of the appendices most helpful. One was a detailed discussion of the curse of Ham, which has long been a fundamentalist rationale for rigid racial segregation and separation. Another appendix shared some of the vision and policy statements of Piper's church, Bethlehem Baptist. This book is accessible, and personal. It is also informative and provocative. I believe it is very helpful and may have a lasting impact on the church at large. This topic is worth thinking through and praying long and hard about, and John Piper is just the man to help us on this journey. His prayers and his struggles bleed through the pages of this weighty little book. I hope that people of all colors will pick up this book and see the vision for the multi-ethnic church that Christ died for. We all can learn from the wisdom in these pages. I highly recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    "What I have tried to do in this book is show that the gospel of Jesus Christ - the death and resurrection of the Son of God for sinners - is the only sufficient power for this effort [racial harmony], and the only power that in the end will bring the bloodlines of race into the single bloodline of the cross." (233) I believe Piper has done what he claims to do with this book, that is, to highlight why racial harmony and reconcilliation matters to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and why the gospel is "What I have tried to do in this book is show that the gospel of Jesus Christ - the death and resurrection of the Son of God for sinners - is the only sufficient power for this effort [racial harmony], and the only power that in the end will bring the bloodlines of race into the single bloodline of the cross." (233) I believe Piper has done what he claims to do with this book, that is, to highlight why racial harmony and reconcilliation matters to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and why the gospel is the only adequate power to bring racial harmony about. Those readers with an understanding of Reformed theology will especially benefit from his description of how reformed soteriology and the Five Solas are the basis for racial harmony to the glory of God. His method is anecdotal, sociological, historical, theological, but most importantly exegetical and therefore gospel-centered. Short of writing a book two or three times as long, the scope of Bloodlines is limited. While the book (I believe) accomplished what it claimed to do, I only gave four stars because it lacks the wood and fuel to keep the fire hot. This book is like a spark that has the potential to help individuals burn brighter and saltier, but not without kindling (poor analogy but hopefully you get the point). There is a significant lack of writing on practical and corporate practices that can help facilitate racial harmony and reconciliation. As the book progressed, I began to get the sense that the implicit reasons for this are because (1) Piper just doesn't have the answers, and (2) if there are any, the answers are plain old messy. With those two points as my missing criteria for a five-star biblical book on racial harmony, I understand that such a book may never exist. Yet I gladly give Bloodlines four stars because I believe that this is the kind of the book that will get faithful, but imperfect Christians to reject attitudes of apathy, discouragement, or reductionism and make racial harmony an emphasis in their lives, whatever it looks like.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dottie Parish

    John Piper has written a profound and risky book about how the Gospel can solve the problems of racism that permeate our culture. Piper’s thesis is that God desires unity in the church including “every tribe, tongue, people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9) He describes his own “racist” background, and focuses largely on black and white relationships. He says that since the civil rights movement there has been “a downward spiral together.” He cites both black and white sinfulness and says “The while child John Piper has written a profound and risky book about how the Gospel can solve the problems of racism that permeate our culture. Piper’s thesis is that God desires unity in the church including “every tribe, tongue, people and nation.” (Rev. 5:9) He describes his own “racist” background, and focuses largely on black and white relationships. He says that since the civil rights movement there has been “a downward spiral together.” He cites both black and white sinfulness and says “The while children of the flower children of the sixties have paid dearly for the abandonment of truth and moral absolutes.” 66 Piper carefully guides readers through one scripture after another that demonstrate God’s desire for ALL to be represented in his church. For example he says: “Every human being in every ethnic group has an immortal soul in the image of God: a mind with unique God-like reasoning powers, a heart with capacities for moral judgments and spiritual affections, and a potential for a relationship with God that transforms us into the image of his Son, Jesus Christ.” 153 He explains how Reformed Theology fits into this rationale of extending our love to all and to purposefully seeking diverse leaders for the church. We need to break down the barriers that separate us and Piper would say, this can happen when we are “new creations,” humble and sold out to Christ and then pursue a goal to change our culture of division and racism. “Only the gospel can do two seemingly contradictory things: destroy pride and increase courage.” 96 In converted hearts, in a community of believers Colossians 3:11 says “There is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.” 163 Piper leaves nothing out. He has a final excellent chapter on interracial marriage. He also includes several appendixes with further information about how his own Bethlehem Baptist Church pursues ethnic diversity. This is a challenging, ground breaking book that we must prayerfully read and implement in our churches.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    "No lesson in the pursuit of racial and ethnic diversity and harmony has been more forceful than the lesson that it is easy to get so wounded and so tired that you decide to quit....The most hopeless temptation is to give up--to say that there are other important things to work on (which is true), and I will let someone else worry about racial issues." A challenge and a call to "earnest, practical, everyday effort." "No lesson in the pursuit of racial and ethnic diversity and harmony has been more forceful than the lesson that it is easy to get so wounded and so tired that you decide to quit....The most hopeless temptation is to give up--to say that there are other important things to work on (which is true), and I will let someone else worry about racial issues." A challenge and a call to "earnest, practical, everyday effort."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mark Jr.

    Reformed theology undercuts racism: not only our creation in the image of God but our mutual fallenness makes racism nonsensical; God purposefully elected people from every kindred, tribe, people, and nation. See full review at http://www.markandlauraward.com/blog/... Reformed theology undercuts racism: not only our creation in the image of God but our mutual fallenness makes racism nonsensical; God purposefully elected people from every kindred, tribe, people, and nation. See full review at http://www.markandlauraward.com/blog/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Linda Hagedorn

    In this age of racial tension, confusion, and examination of self, I found much of Piper's share so enlightening. I personally have come to recognize prejudices within myself in spite of my denial. This book provided food for thought and an avenue to check myself. In this age of racial tension, confusion, and examination of self, I found much of Piper's share so enlightening. I personally have come to recognize prejudices within myself in spite of my denial. This book provided food for thought and an avenue to check myself.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Felicia follum

    I would recommend. I struggle with Paper's writing style. Listening to the audio white reading along was helpful for me. Piper is 100% Bible centered on the topic of race. I would encourage this to be read with John Perkin's One Blood. I would recommend. I struggle with Paper's writing style. Listening to the audio white reading along was helpful for me. Piper is 100% Bible centered on the topic of race. I would encourage this to be read with John Perkin's One Blood.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Uriesougmail.com

    Excellent. Video review to come.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    I thought it would be a book about how to help defeat racism in the church practically, not a book on *why racism in the church is bad*. We already know that it's bad, and that it's an issue. So: This is not a book for young people who aren't racist, this is a book for old people who may or may not be racist, but are probably more racist then they care to admit. Basically, I wasn't the target audience for this, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm also not sure why the conversion process I thought it would be a book about how to help defeat racism in the church practically, not a book on *why racism in the church is bad*. We already know that it's bad, and that it's an issue. So: This is not a book for young people who aren't racist, this is a book for old people who may or may not be racist, but are probably more racist then they care to admit. Basically, I wasn't the target audience for this, so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm also not sure why the conversion process has to be covered in a book about racism and Christianity, as people who are reading this book are presumably already saved, but it was there. Piper also spends so much time on saying 'racism is a problem' and bloats his point with statistics and many quotes from other people. Quite frankly, if I wanted to read what other people had to say about Racism, I'd read their books. I wanted to hear what he had to say, and I really...didn't? He just regurgitated what everyone else says. By the time I finished wading through systematic vs. personal racism (He didn't seem to think that one was more important to tackle then the other, although he spent an unfortunate amount of time swinging between the two opinions by giving lots of quotes that supported both sides and not really....giving his own opinion? If he did, it was buried so far underneath the opinions of other people that it would be easier to dig to china than to find his opinion.), I was too frustrated and disappointed to enjoy the biblically supported parts of the book. But credit where it is due. When he did finally get to the biblically supported part, Piper did quite aptly point out a lot of racial implications about the bible that I hadn't considered. He brought up bible verses and stories aplenty. When he actually got to the bible instead of statistics, he really shined in his typical Piper way. If only I could hear him say it instead of having to read it. *Sighs wistfully.* And again, I just...wish he'd given more practical advice about how to actually stop racism on a systematic level in the church instead of on a personal level within myself. Most of this was simply saying that racism was bad, with a small part about how to recognize racism within yourself, and when statistical analysis becomes sinful stereotyping. That part in particular was very good. And it being a Piper Book(tm), it was very bible centered, edifying Christ and encouraging me in my walk. So tldr: Almost completely unhelpful for someone of my age and background, but at least it helped encourage and solidify my love for Christ. And, oh, John Piper is a great preacher. A great talker. His energy, enthusiasm, genuine love for God, and personality shine through anywhere he uses his voice - be it a conference or a podcast. But his dense vocabulary and need to work from the bottom up every time make me grind my teeth as I force my way through his writing with the same frustration that I force myself through a mountain of flaccid broccoli that my mother heaps on my plate. I understand why he's so dense, why it's a struggle to read it, and that I'm used to lighter reading. (Part of the reason I forced myself to finish this was because I know I need to read harder things.) Part of the difficulty of living in the 'Now' generation of the First World *is* that it's difficult to glean the slower wisdom of the previous generations. But there has to be a middle ground between taking a paragraph to say a piece of the puzzle and saying the whole puzzle in three words. I wish he could find the middle ground, and I hope I'm capable of understanding his extremes. Because at the end of the day, Piper knows what he's talking about, even if it's hard to understand, bogged down with irrelevant information, and not what I expected to hear.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    There are two significant takeaways from this book that have become foundational for me in thinking about race and ethnicity. The most valuable aspect of this book was how Piper helped me see the beauty of ethnic diversity from the perspective of God’s plan of redemption. It is easy to roll our eyes when our culture makes diversity a talking point to either virtue signal or gain votes in the election. Piper has helped me see that one of the primary aims of the gospel is to glorify God’s grace by There are two significant takeaways from this book that have become foundational for me in thinking about race and ethnicity. The most valuable aspect of this book was how Piper helped me see the beauty of ethnic diversity from the perspective of God’s plan of redemption. It is easy to roll our eyes when our culture makes diversity a talking point to either virtue signal or gain votes in the election. Piper has helped me see that one of the primary aims of the gospel is to glorify God’s grace by redeeming ethnically diverse people who are united in Christ (Rev 5:9-10). To know that God’s grace is magnified, and his purposes advanced in our pursuit of ethnic diversity should give us a deep and lasting motivation. This makes me want to pursue ethnic diversity for God’s sake and for the sake of the gospel instead of placating our culture. I pray that our churches would not be jaded by calls from our culture for superficial diversity, rather, we ought to pursue biblical ethnic diversity that is rooted in a biblical desire to exalt the name of Christ among all peoples. Second, I appreciated Piper's persistent aim to consider the issues of race and ethnicity foundationally from a biblical perspective. While the cultural conversation begins with blaming either personal or systemic issues as the root cause of racial division, Piper began by giving us a set of complex sinful forces from within and without that play a role in perpetuating racial division. Piper reminds us that behind the deep racial divisions in our country our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places which ought to inform our prayers. Piper also helped me see the power of sin at work in each of our lives that produces guilt, pride, hopelessness, greed, fear, hate, and apathy are fundamentally the root causes of racism in our society. Most people would acknowledge that these sin in our hearts is the reason racism persists; however, it is just as true that sinful people build sinful societies. From a theological perspective, it is easy to see that racist attitudes at a personal level will be reflected in racist structures in our society both at the community and institutional level. This does not give us easy answers on how to address the complexity of the issues, but it does help us see the pervasive effects of sin in our hearts as well as in every structure in society. Piper doesn’t leave us there, but he gives us hope that the gospel offers in addressing all the devastating efforts of sin. I hope that we can grow in understanding these issues primary through the lens of the gospel instead of the lenses the culture wants us to use. Piper's book is a good starting point towards that goal.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Thompson

    A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to see the movie “the Help.” I was outraged that human beings were treated with such disdain. I felt like I wanted to go out march on Selma or something. But, of course, that was back in the 50’s and 60’s long before my birth. I praise the Lord that such wicked segregation does not exist today. We live in a much more enlightened time today. So, the very next day I went off to worship at my overwhelmingly white church followed by a week of work at my overwhelmi A few weeks ago, my wife and I went to see the movie “the Help.” I was outraged that human beings were treated with such disdain. I felt like I wanted to go out march on Selma or something. But, of course, that was back in the 50’s and 60’s long before my birth. I praise the Lord that such wicked segregation does not exist today. We live in a much more enlightened time today. So, the very next day I went off to worship at my overwhelmingly white church followed by a week of work at my overwhelming white Christian school.I couldn’t help but think of this experience when I finished reading the book Bloodlines by John Piper. Of course, I am always eager to read anything by Piper. I knew it would be about race, and I was ok with that. After all, I am against racism. I have no problem reading about the sins of others…The book was facade-shattering from the very first chapter. As Piper describes his early childhood, he shocked me with this statement, “I was, in those years, manifestly racist. As a child and a teenager my attitudes and actions assumed the superiority of my race in almost every way without knowing or wanting to know anybody who was black, except Lucy. Lucy came to our house on Saturdays to help my mother clean. I liked Lucy, but the whole structure of the relationship was demeaning. Those who defend the noble spirit of Southern slaveholders by pointing to how nice they were to their slaves, and how deep the affections were, and how they even attended each other’s personal celebrations, seem to be naïve about what makes a relationship degrading. No, she was not a slave. But the point still stands. Of course, we were nice. Of course, we loved Lucy. Of course, she was invited to my sister’s wedding. As long as she and her family ‘knew their place.’ John Piper was a racist? Really? Yes. I think the phrase “naïve about what makes a relationship degrading” is the key in all of this. We who are in the majority often are guilty of just not thinking about race issues. “The majority culture (which for a little while longer is still white) has the luxury of being oblivious to race (which would change in an instant, if we moved to Nigeria). But for minority peoples, race-related issues are a persistent part of consciousness. If these issues are silently ignored in our relationships, the resulting harmony will be shallow and fragile. That is why I am dealing with them in this book.” (page 72) As long as we outwardly treat people of a different skin color nicely, we think we are covered. However, Scripture calls to much higher action. The glory of God will be magnified as people from every tribe, kindred and nation are brought together as one through the Cross of Christ. Christ’s redemptive mission was to bring people into the kingdom who once were strangers and aliens. The call for racial reconciliation is more than merely treating people nicely, it is a gospel-driven pursuit calls for intentional fellowship and burden-bearing. Bearing one another’s burdens, so fulfilling the law of Christ, requires sensitivity and awareness – not just “being nice.” Piper leaves no stone unturned here. Not only does he address the problems of structural racism, but he also takes on racist stereotypes being portrayed by thugs and hip-hop moguls who do nothing than promote a culture of anti-intellectualism, immorality and irresponsibility. He makes an excellent point asking what good was it to fight against segregated schools in favor of equal education opportunities if modern African Americans are refusing to learn? But before we get too focused on these obvious sins, Piper reminds us, “In this progressing collapse of the last forty years, there can be no white or black finger-pointing. We have fallen together. And we who are white should be as keenly aware of the peculiarly white corruption. For example, in the months leading up to the writing of this book, the news has been full of several enormous financial fraud cases that have ruined hundreds of people and hurt thousands. The faces of these swindlers are white. In the last month, two more stories have been in the news of young killers mowing down students in school and random townspeople. What color do I expect to see on the television? A sullen, pale, white face in a dark coat. And together with every other race, whites are killing their babies and wallowing in their porn and taking their illegal drugs and leaving their wives and having babies without marriage. The difference is that when you develop patterns of sin in the majority race, they have no racial connotation. Since majority people don’t think of themselves in terms of race, none of our dysfunctions is viewed as a racial dysfunction. When you are the majority ethnicity, nothing you do is ethnic. It’s just the way it’s done. When you are a minority, everything you do has color.” (page 67) An absolute must-read section is found in the chapters in which each of the five points of Calvinism are shown to actually lead toward racial reconciliation. In other words, reformed theology does need lead to racism but toward a global unity in Christ. Toward the end of the book, Piper takes on two very controversial topics: interracial marriage and the curse on Ham that supposedly ensured black slavery. I can recall hearing both of these arguments many times growing up and even in college. One more quote, my favorite in the entire book. The context is a call to action, not merely a tolerant apathy toward these issues. Piper says, “[Apathy] is the inability to be shocked into action by the steady-state lostness and suffering of the world. It is the emptiness that comes from thinking of godliness as the avoidance of doing bad things instead of the aggressive pursuit of doing good things. If that were God’s intention for the godliness of his people, why would Paul say, “All who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Tim. 3:12)? People who stay at home and watch clean videos don’t get persecuted. Godliness must mean something more public, more aggressively good. In fact, the aim of the gospel is the creation of people who are passionate for doing good rather than settling for the passionless avoidance of evil. “[Christ] gave himself for us . . . to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). The gospel produces people who are created for good works (Eph.2:10), and have a reputation for good works (1 Tim. 5:10), and are rich in good works (1 Tim. 6:18), and present a model of good works (Titus 2:7), and devote themselves to good works (Titus 3:8, 14), and stir each other up to good works (Heb. 10:24).” (page 101) By time I finished the last chapter, my heart was convicted. I saw within myself a racism that had been covered over by shallow excuses and ignorant denials. God used this book to reveal many things I simply had not thought about before simply because I never bothered to. I never harbored hate toward those of another ethnicity (and by the way, the discussion in this book about race as opposed to ethnicity is fascinating) but I never bothered to give much thought to any other race but my own. That is selfish, unloving, and dare I say it, racist. This short review doesn’t even scratch the surface of the issues covered in this book. But I hope these few words stir up a curiosity and a desire to want to read more and delve into the depths of the issues raised in this book. Don’t waste any more time reading this silly review, go out and read the book for yourself. You won’t regret it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    This book is a great starting resource to investigate how the Bible inherently rebuts racism and ethnocentrism. Piper makes it clear—especially helpful via the case study of William Wilberforce—that Biblical doctrine must inform Biblical morals, and therefore, we must live through a salvation-as-justification worldview. In other words, combating racism involved absolute surrender to the omnipotent power of Jesus Christ and then addressing our own means of action influenced by Him, rather than at This book is a great starting resource to investigate how the Bible inherently rebuts racism and ethnocentrism. Piper makes it clear—especially helpful via the case study of William Wilberforce—that Biblical doctrine must inform Biblical morals, and therefore, we must live through a salvation-as-justification worldview. In other words, combating racism involved absolute surrender to the omnipotent power of Jesus Christ and then addressing our own means of action influenced by Him, rather than attempting to solve the problem and then bringing it to Christ. Furthermore, Piper helpfully introduces the idea that anti-racism isn’t an adrenaline-driven sprint, but rather a marathon that very much mirrors the long-term and never-ending process of sanctification. I especially enjoyed the chapter on interracial marriage. Aside from its merits, this book did have a few aspects that hindered my overall enjoyment. First, the writing was sometimes dry and difficult for me to understand. I often found myself forgetting what the purpose of a particular chapter or section was, since it sometimes felt jumbled. Additionally, Piper delved into some specific Calvinistic assertions, which, despite the fact that I tend to disagree with some of those points as an Arminiusist, I felt were not clearly relevant to the purpose of the text. It seems that the average layperson might have trouble accessing this as a resource to pursue improved racial relations because it is heavily filtered with concepts and language that might only be found in seminary. I do wish this book had more tangibly applicable guidelines by which Christians could pursue racial reconciliation, both in the church and in daily life. Overall, I would give this book 3.5 stars. I felt as though it went into a deep deliberation of why racism is inherently wrong with a biblical lens, which was helpful to an extent, but also seemed very intuitive to Christianity. It seemed to me that the length of this book for its simplistic message was maybe unnecessary for me, as were the sometimes difficult to understand theological explanations. I respect Piper as an author and evangelist, but I wish there were some more applicable truths from this read in addition to the section on interracial marriage.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jerry

    I was going to give this book 3 stars, but I’ve reconsidered and given it 4. The truth is, this is a very important book. Piper takes a unique angle while addressing the importance of racial and ethnic reconciliation for Christians. If you know Piper, you know where he stands theologically, and in terms of this, he does not disappoint. The significance of this book lies in how strongly Piper ties racial reconciliation to the heart of the Christianity--the gospel. God sent Christ to redeem and re I was going to give this book 3 stars, but I’ve reconsidered and given it 4. The truth is, this is a very important book. Piper takes a unique angle while addressing the importance of racial and ethnic reconciliation for Christians. If you know Piper, you know where he stands theologically, and in terms of this, he does not disappoint. The significance of this book lies in how strongly Piper ties racial reconciliation to the heart of the Christianity--the gospel. God sent Christ to redeem and reconcile all of creation, including Jews and Gentiles, unto himself, uniting us under the banner of Jesus. Therefore, Christians have a unique responsibility to both understand and pursue aspects of racial equity, working toward a more loving, unified, and redemptive world. I did find it interesting, and a bit hard to understand why, that Piper chose to hang the meat of his theological analysis on the five points of Calvinism. At various points it seemed as if remarks about racism were being shoehorned into the points of Calvinism or vice versa. Chapter 12, about gospel freedom and the perseverance of the saints is probably the most egregious example. Regardless, I learned a great deal about TULIP, ideas I had not yet understood. I found the second section particularly helpful. Piper addresses the tension between personal responsibility and structural/systemic/institutionalized interventions in a way that is fair, humble, and just. Once again, he establishes himself as a purveyor of a hope-filled truth outside and above the either/or dichotomous conclusions of so many other academics and theologians. Unfortunately, he does use some outdated references, particularly in this section, that may distract some readers. While the doctrinal focus was strong, I felt the book somewhat lacking anthropological or sociological analysis and application. It could be argued that this is actually a strength of the book, and rightly so. There is an incredible amount of books focusing on the anthropology, sociology, and historical issues surrounding racism. And so, in many ways, Piper is setting himself apart, casting broad theological truths that are global and foundational to getting the issue right. I just cannot help but think how amazing it might be to have a modern, post-summer-2020 book by Piper about the faith and practice of Christian anti-racism.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Philip Brown

    Really good. I've been aware of this book for a while and thought given the circumstances it would be a timely read. Wasn't disappointed. Obviously this is a hugely dicey issue, with very entrenched perspectives and ideologies surrounding it, coupled with the fact that the ethics involved implicate culture, religion, and politics. Of course these have overlap, but sometimes identifying where that begins and ends, and thus who is responsible for what becomes complicated. I have my own political t Really good. I've been aware of this book for a while and thought given the circumstances it would be a timely read. Wasn't disappointed. Obviously this is a hugely dicey issue, with very entrenched perspectives and ideologies surrounding it, coupled with the fact that the ethics involved implicate culture, religion, and politics. Of course these have overlap, but sometimes identifying where that begins and ends, and thus who is responsible for what becomes complicated. I have my own political take on the issue, and so was interested to hear how Piper would tackle it. The strength of this book is that your politics are almost irrelevant. Piper's point is the that Christian gospel is the only ultimate solution to this problem, and regardless of which ideology is rightly pointing out what the problem is, the gospel is what will solve it. If it is true that lack of personal responsibility is causing the societal problems, the gospel is what will empower personal responsibility. On the other hand, if it is true that racist people in power are the problem, the gospel will change their hearts and minds. So, this book isn't about political solutions, but how to be consistently Christian on the issue no matter the prevailing political notion of the times. Piper's unpacking of key doctrines, particularly around justification by faith, the all overarching problem of human sinfulness, and Christ's work in the incarnation shed serious light on the issue. Not sure I agreed with all of the implications on what we ought to do going forward on this issue, but as I say, this is complex stuff, and I could totally be wrong. For my part, I've got some thinking to do, not on what I think the state should do about these things, but what I should do personally.

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