Monday, May 25, 2015

Book Review: God's Love Compels Us

God's Love Compels Us: Taking the Gospel to the World. Edited by Kathleen Nielson and D.A. Carson. 2015. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

God's Love Compels Us is a collection of seven messages on world missions. Contributors include D.A. Carson, David Platt, John Piper, J. Mack Stiles, Andrew Davis, Michael Oh, and Stephen Um. These presentations were given at a pre-Cross conference in April 2013.

(Earlier in the year, I reviewed Cross: Unrivaled Christ, Unstoppable Gospel, Unreached Peoples, Unending Joy, another essay collection about world missions. That book was based on the Cross conference in December 2013. Both books focus on reaching unreached and unengaged people groups. If you're interested in the subject, I'd definitely recommend reading both books.)


  • The Biblical Basis for Missions: Treasure in Jars of Clay (2 Corinthians 4:1-12) by D.A. Carson
  • Why the Great Commission is Great: Reaching More and More People (2 Corinthians 4:13-18) by David Platt
  • The Heart of God in the Call to Proclaim: A Joyfully Serious courage in the Cause of World Missions (2 Corinthians 5:1-10) by John Piper
  • Being Ambassadors for Christ: The Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:11-21) by J. Mack Stiles
  • Are People Without Christ Really Lost? by Andrew Davis
  • The Individual's Suffering and the Salvation of the World by Michael Oh (Psalm 22)
  • Jesus and Justice by Stephen Um
The first four messages are expositions of passages from 2 Corinthians. The last three messages are more thematic; they are equally saturated in the Word, but, discuss various scripture verses.

I enjoyed reading all the essays in this collection. I loved the passion and urgency of the messages, the desire to see people from all around the world come to faith in Christ. Do I have a favorite contribution? It would be hard to pick just one. It really would. But my favorites include Andrew Davis' "Are People Without Christ Really Lost," David Platt's "Why The Great Commission is Great," and John Piper's "The Heart of God in the Call to Proclaim."

The human will is weak when it comes to doing the will of God. ~ John Piper

It is pretty hard to say nothing about hell and be faithful to Jesus. ~ D.A. Carson
Privatized Christianity is a profound curse across our culture and our churches. Multitudes of professing Christians live as if they believe the following: "Jesus has saved me. Jesus’s teachings work for me and my family. But who am I to tell my neighbor or my coworker what he or she should believe? Who am I to go and tell other people in other nations that their beliefs are wrong and my belief is right? And even more, who am I to tell anyone that if they don’t believe in what I believe, they’ll spend eternity damned in hell?" ~ David Platt
All of us— church members, church leaders, and pastors— need to ask ourselves this question: Do we really believe this gospel? Do we really believe this good news, that the sovereign, holy, just, and gracious Creator of the universe has looked upon hopelessly sinful men and women in their rebellion and has sent his Son, God in the flesh, to bear his wrath against sin on the cross and to show his power over sin in the resurrection? He has risen from the dead! We’re not talking resuscitation or reincarnation. It wasn’t as if Jesus was unconscious before getting a vision of heaven, and then he came back to write a best-selling book about it. We’re talking about being killed by crucifixion, wrapped in graveclothes, and put in a tomb, but three days later, the tomb was empty and Jesus was alive. He rose from the dead, and anyone and everyone who repents and believes in him will be reconciled to God forever. Do we believe this? If we do believe this gospel of the resurrected Christ, then we cannot sit quietly by in our churches while six thousand people groups in the world comprising 2 billion people have never even heard it. We cannot be content to spend our time, our money, and our resources in our lives and in our churches on comfortable plans and temporal possessions when hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people have never even heard the news of the resurrected Christ. We believe, and so we are compelled to proclaim the resurrected Christ to unreached peoples, knowing that as we speak this gospel to them, we will face suffering and affliction. These six thousand people groups are unreached for a reason— they’re hard to reach. All the easy ones have already been evangelized. These people groups are dangerous to reach. These people groups don’t want to be reached, and anyone who tries to reach them with the gospel will most certainly be met with suffering and affliction. ~ David Platt

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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