Jesus’s words in John 12 are sobering: Unless a grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it will bear little fruit. Throughout history, God’s strategy for reaching unreached peoples with the gospel has often included the suffering of his frontline heralds—the missionaries who made countless sacrifices to advance the kingdom of God. In the fifth volume of the popular The Swans Are Not Silent series, John Piper focuses on this flesh-and-blood reality of pain in the lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton. Paying dearly to translate the Word of God, mobilize missionaries around the world, and lead the hostile to Christ, their stories illustrate how God builds his kingdom through the suffering of his servants. Now available in paperback.
About the Author:
John Piper (DTheol, University of Munich) is teacher and founder of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College and Seminary. He served for 33 years as senior pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis and is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God, Don’t Waste Your Life, This Momentary Marriage, Bloodlines, and Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
William Tyndale. Adoniram Judson. John Paton. Do you know any of these men? Like me, you may only know 1 – I’ve heard of William Tyndale before and we’ve studied him this year in our history curricula but I had not heard of the other two men of Faith. I find learning about great missionaries exciting – both because their faith can help me grow in my faith as well as learning from them about how they handled their hardships and struggles. How many of us would sign up to voluntarily go with our spouses and a soon to be born baby into a land of cannibals? How many of us would lay down our lives so that a Bible could be translated even though it’s illegal? Or undergo torture so that a hostile people could learn about Christ? Not many of us – but what if we did and our legacy was one not on how big our house was or how many cars we had but how many lives were brought to Christ?
This doesn’t read like an exciting expose on the missionaries but gives a look into their lives about how they lived and why they suffered the way they did – all for Christ. Filled with quotes and some background information John Piper takes a fascinating look at these three men and what they did during their lives that won so many more souls for Christ. This is the fifth book in the series “The Swans Are Not Silent” and I’m hoping to be able to find the other ones to add to my collection. The book is just over 100 pages long and is a fairly quick read unless you take the time to savor the words and the facts surrounding the men in the pages. I’m not sure if I would follow a husband while pregnant to the jungles to preach to cannibals, especially if I knew I would die of sickness and withing months my child would follow. It’s not about what I want though.
I’d highly recommend this book if you or someone you know enjoys reading about people of faith who have gone before us to preach the Gospel or are a missionary yourself – it could bolster one who is floundering in their service or even just in their faith generally speaking. To see that being a Christian and a missionary doesn’t mean your life is going to always go well or according to your plan is a step in recognizing that God is in control and it is a very eye opening and inspirational book to read.
(c) 2013, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws