Each year at the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, hosted by Bethlehem Baptist Church of Minneapolis, John Piper delivers a biographical address dealing with a notable Christian figure from the history of the church. Every few years, several of these addresses are compiled into a book as part of “The Swans are Not Silent” series. The most recent of these titles is Contending For Our All, subtitled “Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen and J. Gresham Machen.”
Transcripts of the speeches delivered by Piper are available online . It might be reasonable to ask, then, why anyone would care to pay for them. The best reason is that appended to these transcripts are a preface, and introduction and a conclusion, also written by Piper. Within the introduction he discusses why he has chosen to publish the three speeches together. In this book we learn that the common theme of Contending for Our all is that Athanasius, Owen and Machen all stood for the truth of God’s Word in the face of opposition. None of them delighted in this controversy, and none was concerned with his popularity. What bound them together, even through almost two millenia of history, is their willingness to suffer for what they knew to be right in their defense of the gospel.
The thrust of each of the sections is to help the reader understand the lessons each of these men offers the church today. Piper does not offer mere biography, but biography that leads to lessons in practical theology.
Contending For Our All is a welcome addition to this series and is a book that is well worth reading. Any believer will benefit from reading about these great men of the faith, whether they do so through purchasing the book or from reading the biographies online.