Book Review: Missions Reading (AR09)

by Cesar Vigil-Ruiz

Reading John Piper’s Let the Nations Be Glad has been such a blessing and a great challenge to my own life. Though it’s not my first missions-themed book (Doran’s book was), it made me aware of a world in real need of Jesus Christ. The view of missions that was typically thought of in my mind made me separate those who were gung-ho about going out to another culture and those who were slackers. However, upon reading and reflecting upon this book, it was a very illinformed impression. It opened my eyes and, by God’s grace, my heart to have a new and great view of God who is working today in this world. Simply by looking at the table of contents, the focus of the entire book is making God seen as supreme in the work of missions. There’s structure and focus that brings us to being captured by this vision of wanting to follow all of Scripture in key issues on missions. It was a very helpful book that brought all of us to wrestle hard with how to describe to one who hasn’t read the book or who disagrees with the importance of saving faith in Jesus Christ exclusively; or what the end goal of missions is; or even what the meaning of worship is. The impact this makes, at least on my part, is that studying a vast body of deep truths forms the foundation of our going out and telling others this great news of the Gospel. Also it shows that we are to call all people to this same vision -to those who don’t believe, to our own teammates, and continually to our brothers and sisters in our church. I would caution you to read through this book, and read it slowly, because it might cause you to want you to be, as Piper one said, “All Christians fit into three categories with regard to missions: the goers, the senders, and the disobedient.”

For the supplemental readings, we read books that helped us come to grips with what great work we were all choosing to participate in. Tell the Truth (Will Metzger), The Gospel According to Jesus (John MacArthur), Finally Alive (John Piper) and The Gospel and Personal Evangelism (Mark Dever) were commended to us all to have a biblical view of conversion, evangelism, and a biblical view of the Gospel. All authors firmly believe in the sovereignty of God and the responsibility and culpability of man to respond to the Gospel, and place a firm emphasis on searching the Scriptures to establish the reality of what we are to do, what we are to say, and in whom we are to trust. Dever explains the uneasiness in evangelizing to non-believers, but he engages with the most common objections to why people shouldn’t evangelize. Metzger drives home the idea that evangelism has too often been man-centered, affecting its methodology in many evangelism programs, and guides us back to having a Godcentered way of doing evangelism, one that gives God honor in the biblical message we are to proclaim and live out daily. Piper treads familiar ground, and yet among many, an almost untouched study into the new birth that is a divine miracle by God Himself, which reawakened me to have a stronger motivation to share the Gospel with someone than not. MacArthur tackles the glorious subject of salvation, defining it in terms of the lordship of Christ to be an essential component to the Gospel for people to believe, embrace, and also deny its opposition to what many have uncritically accepted: non- Lordship salvation. All these issues helped many of us to ask deep questions to one another, solidifying our unity in Christ, and making us bolder witnesses of the grace God has shown each of us individually as ambassadors of the living God.

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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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