Tony Reinke. The Joy Project. Minneapolis: Desiring God, 2015. 122 pp. $8.99
Every human being searches for happiness. No one is exempt. The Creator of the universe has hardwired human beings to be joyful. Tony Reinke makes this argument the centerpiece of his excellent book, The Joy Project. The thesis is simple and breathtakingly profound: “Making glad worshipers out of spiritually dead sinners is the grand design of God’s Joy Project.”
Reinke’s undergirds his thesis by making a case for historic Calvinism. He refers readers back to the Synod of Dort where the doctrines of grace were systematically spelled out by our theological forefathers. What grew out of the Synod was the well-known acronym, TULIP. The author puts the five points of Calvinism on display in vivid terms:
- TOTAL DEPRAVITY is not just badness, but blindness to beauty and deadness to joy.
- UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION is how God planned, before we existed to complete our joy in Christ.
- LIMITED ATONEMENT is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured for us by the blood of Jesus.
- IRRESISTIBLE GRACE is the sovereign commitment of God to make sure we hold on to superior delights instead of the false pleasures that will ultimately destroy us.
- PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS is the almighty work of God to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of pleasures at God’s right hand forever.
The author proclaims, “Our eternal joy will flourish when we are the objects of God’s sovereign grace. So the remainder of the book is devoted to unpacking the doctrines of grace (otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism). Critiques of Reformed theology will no doubt be drawn to Reinke’s winsome approach, an approach which is drowning in grace and Christ-saturated joy. Folks who are already convinced of Reformed theology will walk away with warmed hearts and drawn to the heart of the Savior.
The Joy Project could be viewed in many ways as the cliff notes for John Piper’s best-selling book, Desiring God. Tony Reinke should be commending for articulating the doctrines of grace in such a creative way, without losing any doctrinal punch. I recommend The Joy Project to anyone ready to be captivated by sovereign grace. Readers will certainly discover that joyful Calvinism is the only kind of Calvinism.
Download a free version of this book at [http://www.desiringgod.org/books/the-joy-project]