Book Review: "Let the Nations be Glad"

This book was a look into the perspective of God’s supremacy in missions. John Piper is a well-known author and speaker in the evangelical circles. He has been a Pastor at Bethlehem Baptist church in Minneapolis, Minnesota since 1980. He has written twenty books that focus on God’s supremacy in all things and seeing the joy of Jesus in all people. John Piper gives many insights into the focus of missions being on seeing God glorified. His three-part outline of the purpose, power, and price of missions emphasize the right heart attitude on worship, prayer, and suffering. His focal point was on missions being God-centered and doing everything to bring glory and fame to His name. The focus on worship is the basis for why missions is done, to glorify God. The focus of prayer is the advancement of the kingdom and giving Him glory for always providing for His children. The biblical emphasis was not upon praying to better a person’s well-being but to finish the course of a life of service to Jesus. Prayer is warfare against Satan and the Christian using the Word of God to combat the attacks of the enemy. Another aspect of prayer that is foundational for missions is the believer’s joy may be full. Also, prayer without the Word being preached will not glorify God; both are inseparable to achieve a balanced mission to the world.

Suffering was another point that the author focused on in the book. The biblical emphasis was on when a person comes to Christ they must die to themselves that is built off of Luke 9:23. Jesus’ substitutionary atonement on the cross paid for the punishment from God, but not from suffering and loving people like He loved them. The focal point is that believers should accept any suffering that comes from doing what Jesus did. The supremacy of Christ is the focus of saving faith. The hearing of the Word is our calling as believers to a lost and dying world. The supremacy of God among all the nations was on how God’s love relates to missions. It is defining missions the way God says and then following through on His will. The Great Commission was given to command us to reach all people with the gospel and the focus on the authority of Christ over everything. The focus on compassion for man’s soul was an explanation of worship being the basis for glorifying God in missions. A biblical view on the reality of an eternal Hell is important in having compassion for missions and mobilizing believers to act.

Worship is defined by, “…manifold external expressions in life and liturgy.” Worship is a lifestyle and that is an outer expression of an inward devotion to Christ. Worship is not a place, but in Jesus Christ and Him alone. The essence of worship is the satisfaction with God in Christ. The implication is a people who will seek God above all things knowing that He is the only one that can satisfy.

The author’s focus on God’s supremacy was a passionate look at the heart of missions. It is correct in its basis in glorifying God through worship being and it energizing missions. The author was correct in explaining prayer as a way of knowing God’s will and advancing the Kingdom. It is not seeking to change God’s mind and Him doing what man wants, but joining God on His mission to seek and save the lost. It is important to note that God’s grace is what gives a person each breath and that prayer is humbly coming before a loving and mighty God. A wrong view on prayer is using it to better one’s lot her on earth, but to seek God’s face and finding satisfaction in Him alone.

Suffering is an issue that affects the church today in a profound way. Piper took a biblical stance on the issue and it was correct in every way. The reason it is a good look was in its reference to Jesus’ command for us to “deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him.” To put to death a person’s own will and desires is where one finds God’s will where the fullness of joy is found. Missions is a hard task and is usually brings people out of their comfort zone, but if it is God’s will then God will deliver the needed contentment. The fullness of joy is found in Jesus and serving Him, whether you are in America or Africa. Relevance on this issue was felt on the chapter on suffering and is a needed focus of the modern church to understand and apply. The author was accurate in his explanation of a believer experiencing suffering, without it then one is not a true follower of Christ. Defending the faith with a life of sacrifice will include suffering and is exactly what Christ went through for the world.

God’s sovereignty is an issue that needs to be accepted by Christians to learn to trust God. Missions is faith-based and without an accurate belief in it, then missions will not be set on God being in control. The author takes a strong stand upon this principle and it should be understood and balanced with the rest of the counsel of the word of God. It is important to not take it too far and use God’s sovereignty as a license to live care-free thinking that believers do not have a mandate to live in a way that is above reproach. A biblical view of missions was explained in this book and evaluating it has shown that it is a clear example of God-centered missions. The statement of doing missions to glorify God and not just based on the Great Commission and love for sinners is a good insight. It is a great look that if a person is glorifying God then they will love sinners and follow God’s command to reach the world with the gospel. There is a need for re-thinking on reaching America and the world with the gospel of Jesus, long-lasting traditions are becoming more rare. The need for biblical answers that are from Jesus and His commands will change lives all across the globe, not handling missions the way some might think should be done. This book was a fresh look at God’s supremacy and seeing Jesus glorified in missions. Implementation of these principles will benefit any believer seeking to serve God through missions and in the end God will get all the glory that is due to His almighty name.