This summer our church Bible study was the Let The Nations Be Glad study that was based on this book by the same title (Note: Usually we use the Bible to study the Bible, but sometimes it’s helpful to use another person’s way of explaining Bible verses, particularly around a given theme. We choose very carefully though, and our default is to study the Bible in and of itself.). I wanted to read the lengthier and more-detailed book in parallel with the study to get the most out of it. This is a book about (Christian) missions. Even saying that, I bet you think you know what it means. But I will say that even though I’m a missionary, I had a LOT to learn about missions.
Piper’s thesis is, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.” And because we know from the Bible that God has called people from every tribe, tongue, nation, as Christians we should have a heart for people from every tribe, tongue, and nation to come to know God through Jesus, who is the only way to God, the only way to salvation. We’re not all called to be missionaries, but we are called to be missional in how we lives our lives and what we do with our time and money. He says things like “Missions is not a recruitment project for God’s labor force. It is a liberation project from the heavy burdens and hard yokes of other gods.” Not something we often hear in today’s world, but very true!
There are lengthy chapters on the role of prayer in missions, how Christ is made supreme through the suffering that often (or rather, ‘always’, in some form) comes in missions, as well as lengthy explanations of why calling on the name of Christ is the only way to be saved and why it’s so important that we increasingly have God’s heart for ALL nations. It’s a great, thorough, challenging, and meaty read that I whole-heartedly recommend. If you’re interested, the Bible study is an 8-week study by the same name with 30-minute talks by John Piper for each session and participant guides with questions to discuss/think about. It will definitely rock your world.