Monday, November 15, 2010

Five Who Changed the World – Daniel L. Akin

© 2008 Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC

Danny Akin is the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he is a nut about missions. I know this because I was able to hear him speak last week at the Illinois Baptist State Association Pastor’s Conference. Our theme was “In It to Win It” encouraging pastors to keep running the race set before us. In all three of his addresses, Akin saturated the audience with images of mission work, mission activity, and mission lifestyles. So it is no wonder that he addressed his own seminary family with a series of sermons highlighting the lives of missionary heroes.

As the title suggests, this small volume inspires readers with the example of five missionaries who “changed the world.” In missions circles, and especially in Southern Baptist Life, the names of the missionaries are never far from the tip of the tongue. Akin studies the lives of these missionaries illuminated by Scripture passages chosen that seemed to be embodied by the people they are coupled with. In the almost 100 pages the reader will find William Carey—the Father of the Modern Missions Movement, Adoniram & Ann Judson—the first Baptist missionaries from America, Bill Wallace—a medical doctor who went to China and wound up martyred for his faith, Lottie Moon—the namesake for Southern Baptists’ international missions offering who literally gave her life for the Chinese she served, and Jim Elliot—brutally murdered by the people he brought the gospel to and whose surviving wife (Elisabeth) and daughter (Valerie) returned to South America to see Jim’s dream of believers among the “Auca” come to life.

The messages were inspiring to read, and they are a reminder to anyone who is a Christian of our task—“Go . . . make disciples. . .” Thanks for the inspiration Danny (and William, Adoniram & Ann, Bill, Lottie, and Jim). These winning sermons earn five reading glasses from this preacher.

—Benjamin Potter, November 15, 2010

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Preaching the Cross – Mark Dever, J. Ligon Duncan III, R. Albert Mohler Jr., & C.J. Mehaney

©2007 Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL

This is a collection of addresses that were delivered at the first (2006) Together for the Gospel conference. The catalysts for the conference are a group of Christian thinkers who have become friends over the years and their desire for their friendship to benefit other church leaders/pastors. The group includes two Baptists (Dever and Mohler), a Presbyterian (Duncan), and a non-denominational leader (Mehaney) who set aside their differences to focus on the main agenda—Christ and the Cross. Also appearing at the conference (and consequently in the book) are other popular preachers of our day—John MacArthur, John Piper, and R.C. Sproul.

Dever pens the introduction, speaking for the group, which outlines the history and make-up of the Together for the Gospel ideology. And then each person contributes a chapter dealing with a variety of aspects pertinent to genuine gospel preaching—Old Testament connections, Cultural responsibility, expository preaching, and the like.

Some of the addresses are exceptionally helpful, while others tend to drag. I found Dever’s treatment of I Corinthians 4, inspiring as a pastor, and Duncan’s highlight of preaching Christ from the Old Testament was certainly refreshing. Piper, who has a tendency to lose me after the first paragraph, continued to do so (perhaps I’m just not as intellectual as he is).

Altogether, this is a sound book for any preacher to have in his library. I would hesitate to recommend it to a larger audience out of simple interest appeal, though. Therefore I give it a rating of 3 out of 5 reading glasses.

Benjamin Potter, November 13, 2010

Popular Posts