Wednesday, January 4, 2012


I’ll admit it up front: John Piper is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of his books. That confessed, I don’t necessarily agree with all he writes. In fact, I disagree with much that he says about pastors and leadership. Simply put, I’m not what some refer to as a “Piper-ite.”

The purpose of my above admission is that I don’t want you to think I am recommending Piper’s book entitled Bloodlines simply because he wrote it. Instead, I think highly of the book because it is well written, needed, and beneficial.

In Bloodlines, Piper addresses the often ignored issues (at least in the church) of racial strife and disharmony. Piper takes the issue head on, admitting that he grew up as a racist in Greenville, SC (in spite of his parents' example). I appreciate the author’s transparency as he discusses his teen years as a motivation for writing this book.

Bloodlines has two distinct halves. We could refer to them as diagnosis and cure. Piper calls the first half “Our World: The Need for the Gospel.” This is where he talks about his early years in the South. He also deals with the history of black-white relations in this country. Although race relationships certainly go far beyond simple black-white, Piper focuses on that particular interaction both because of the stain of slavery on this country and because of his own personal experience. Another interesting topic in the first 50% of the book is that of personal responsibility vs. systemic intervention.

The second half of Bloodlines carries the title “God’s Word: The Power of the Gospel.” I greatly appreciate that Piper suggests only one cure for racial strife. That cure is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The author goes into biblical depth to show that one of the benefits of the gospel is the bringing together of Jew and Gentile into one people for God. The gospel overcomes sinful attitudes and prejudices and allows for healing between the races to occur.

My favorite part of the book comes toward the end; it is a short chapter where Piper deals specifically with interracial marriage. He not only shows that scripture approves of interracial marriage, but also writes about the benefits of it.

This is not a politically correct book. Rather, Piper just deals in a straightforward manner with a real but often ignored issue of the day. He hits the proverbial nail on the head in proposing that the gospel is the one and only solution to racial strife and racism. I recommend it.


Jeffrey said...

It's a sad fact that most local church gatherings are still among the most segregated events in America. I've never understood that.

Eric said...


It truly is a sad thing. It's become such a pattern in church life in this country that segregation on Sunday morning has a momentum and "normalcy" of its own. We must actively pursue overcoming this problem. This difficult part is how to do it.