Book Review: For the Sake of His Name (AR08)

Book by David M. Doran et. all

Review by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Being introduced to this book as the one to read for missions this year and last has been such a beneficial blessing to any others and myself who have been given the privilege to serve on the missions teams, especially in giving direction in how we should tell others the Gospel message.

For the Sake of His Name is a book that spells out unashamedly that the local church is to be the driving force for the sending of missionaries, and should be training up men and women to strap up and go out in the hopes that His glory would be made great. This is a message many have not heard today, and are in desperate need to hear the Scriptures and heed them to go in the manner and with the method that Christ has provided for us. This book lays out the landscape for modern missions today by taking a look at the past, dealing with the Student Volunteer Movement, warts and all. Students, with great and godly desires to see Christ worshipped among the universities, sought to bring about a missions mindset among other colleges, leading to a movement that began to stir up many young missionaries to countries to proclaim the Gospel. The dangers that came from their zeal were unfortunate, in that it led to a downward spiral of doctrine and the loss of clarity in the purpose of missions as laid out in Scripture. This led to a culture of pragmatic and social agendas, a gospel that spoke much of the kingdom of God here on earth without consulting the king Himself, and a loss of accountability from the local church, the body that Christ Himself died to establish for the propagating of His Name and glory. The fear is that many people in the church, students as well as adults, are blinded by what God Himself speaks to be the major goal of missions: His Glory upheld on His terms.

The authors move on to redirect their readers back to a biblical view of missions and a Christ-centered focus on the Great Commission—one that leads to disciples, not decisions, and churches that reproduce themselves among the nations, and not just numbers. There is grave concern that many in the church are losing hope in the authority of the local church and are turning to missions agencies to be the primary senders of missionaries, without goals or directions that will be honoring to Christ. There is also a proper emphasis on what needs to be proclaimed by believers truly desiring God to be worshipped and magnified, not serving a message that will ease the consciences of men, but one that will stay true to Scripture and seek to please the One who made and saved us, pointing to Christ as the goal of the Gospel and not an eternal change of address.

They also address the many challenges and views spread outside and even within the church to draw people away from being uncomfortable and lead to a non-confrontational life of Christianity. Middle knowledge, open theism, and other inclusive views of salvation lead many to not have a passion for Christ to be exalted among all the nations, leading many to think the work of missions is not as important as what we thought in the past. Doran et. all, but forcefully, draw out the testimony of Scripture to lay those claims to rest, and to push for a prayer-led, Scripture-devoted cause for missions work among local churches, both in supporting and in supervising missionaries to being faithful to Christ’s entire command to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching and observing all He has commanded His disciples.

This book has been an eye-opening work on the state of global missions today, and the dangers that come from believing subtle falsehoods that are widely being accepted in evangelicalism today. The authors are not afraid to come to Scriptures to describe the depravity and sinfulness of man, and the exclusivity of Christ in true salvation. They also plead with members in the church to become global students, to bridge the widest gap, not just by going to another country and getting to know the people, but to depend upon God by the study of the Word and prayer, to stop thinking of their own land as their only mission field, and to fight for God to be desired more than anything else this world has to offer—showing the world who is really worth living for. I hope everyone who reads this review will have an opportunity to read the book, think through their own decisions and look to the Scriptures to see how to follow God for the sake of His Name.

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The Beacon is the monthly newsletter for Lighthouse Bible Church in San Diego, California. It covers a variety of subjects including LBC events, church history, current events from a Christan perspective, ministry profiles, and messages from our pastors and elders. To join the Beacon ministry, please contact Stephen Rodgers.

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