I know of only one book that I would recommend for the foreword alone: Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood: A Response to Evangelical Feminism, edited by John Piper and Wayne Grudem. The foreword, "For Single Men and Women (and the Rest of Us)" is an absolute must-read for every single person in their 20s and beyond. Actually, that sells it short. It is also an absolute must-read for every member of the body of Christ who ministers to, yea, interacts with, any single person in their 20s or beyond. More on that perhaps in part 2, since this is an awful way to start a review for another book.
That other book is Sex And The Supremacy Of Christ, which will be released on June 13th (more info from Crossway). SATSO Christ does not have a foreword, but it does have an introduction and a couple pages of blurbs. And based on those two elements alone, I wholeheartedly offer my recommendation. From these pages alone it becomes evident that SATSO Christ is not essentially about sex, but about the theology of progressive sanctification defined and applied to one of the primary battlefields in believers' lives.
It should come as no surprise that the second book I've endorsed for its front matter alone is also edited by Piper, this time in conjunction with Justin Taylor of Desiring God Ministries. As in all of Piper's writings that I have read, SATSO Christ establishes from the beginning that the believer's santification does not hinge on cleverly crafted strategies like accountability or journaling, but on the recognition that we can find no pleasure in heaven or on earth greater than what we find when we value Christ supremely. When we exchange submission to His power and glory for earthly pleasures, we exchange that which is most valuable for a demonic lie. Piper explains this truth in the first two chapters. Although he only briefly alludes to Philippians 3, I find no other chapter in Scripture that so concisely reflects these truths that he explains.
I have heard and read individuals accuse Piper of being a one-string banjo. Apparently, some grow weary of hearing that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. So is he a one-string banjo? Well, I don't know much about banjos, but when it comes to expositing biblical teaching about the Christian life, I'm convinced that Piper's string is pretty important. A "Christian life banjo" without the string of the supremacy of Christ would create some (and in my experience, has created many) hollow-sounding chords. It seems to me that what Piper is doing is installing this same string into a wide assortment of banjos with the result that a long-neglected element of the gospel is being renewed in our hearts and minds. Through books like Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, these truths are infiltrating every aspect of our minds so that the influence of the flesh is gradually being defeated.
On that note, I'll need to wrap things up for tonight. Lord willing, part 2 will follow later this week. In it, I'll try to hit the high points of this collection of essays written by many of the evangelicals who are most effectively challenging my generation towards spiritual maturity and ministry. I also intend to offer some points of criticism and personal reflection.