Sunday, January 4, 2009


I thank God for giving me another year to praise and serve Him, and also to reflect on His past mercies. The New Year is a good time to look back, as well as to look forward.
About 20 years ago God lead my wife and I to take, over the course of several years, about a half-dozen courses (some were one week inter-term courses offered in Januay and August) at Westminster Seminary-West in Escondido, California.
Subsequently, He lead us to take the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement Course in Redlands, California, where we were mentored by Frank and Nancy Tichy, and where we had the privilege of hearing Ralph and Roberta Winter, Don Richardson, Lloyd Kwast, Arthur Glasser, Don McCurdy, Stan Yoder, Thomas and Elizabeth Brewster, and others. We later moved to Indiana and, as Perspectives class alumni and helpers, were able to learn from Ruth Tucker, David Hesselgrave, Marti Smith, Amy Law, Carol Davis, Jennifer Collins, David Giles, Jim Lo, Randy Spracht and others. Our oldest daughter also had been able to take the Perspectives course in Hemet, California.
My two excellent mission classes at Westminster-West were with Timothy Monsma, co-author with Roger Greenaway, of Cities: Missions' New Frontiers, and with Derk Bergsma.
We were really challenged to be involved in missions.
This involvement soon included short term projects in Africa, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Guyana, and two years in Indonesia. For our oldest daughter it meant a summer project in the Philippines with New Tribes Mission and 2 years teaching in Dominican Republic. Elizabeth Elliot became one of her favorite authors.
The past several years have entailed recruiting and leading medical mission teams mainly to Guyana, South America, to do outreach clinics, and to help children there get needed surgeries. We have also done short-term projects in Jamaica and Indonesia.
I have been thinking about the mission-oriented books that most influenced and challenged me in these past 20 years and have come up with a list of 20. Since I have an avid interest in missions history, my choices are skewed somewhat in that direction. I would enjoy getting feedback from you-especially about some mission books that might be on your list. My list includes some large reference-type books. I've listed them first.

My "20/20" List:

1. Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, A. Scott Moreau, editor, Baker Books, 2000. 1068 p. A gift from my daughter and a book I'll occasionally spend most of an evening absorbing.

2. Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader, Ralph Winter and Steven Hawthorne, editors, William Carey Library, 1981, 1992. 846p. Our Perspectives class textbook. A new edition, I haven't seen, was just released. My old hardcover copy is well marked and still referred to frequently.

3. Operation World: When We Pray God Works, Patrick Johnstone and Jason Mandrryk, editors, U.S Center for World Mission and WEC International, 21st Century edition, 2001, 797p. Still an indispensible reference and prayer guide to every country in the world.

4. From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions, Ruth Tucker, Zondervan, 1983, 511p. Winner of the Gold Medallion Award. A book I've read in full, marked up, and reread in parts.

5. A History of Christian Missions, Stephen Neal, Pelican Books, 624p. My little paperback version makes for nice travel reading. A good overview of the momentum of Christian missions through history.

6. Eternity in their Hearts, Don Richardson, Regal Books, 1981. My favorite of Don's books because of its sweeping view of 27 ancient cultures God prepared for the gospel with astonishing redemptive analogies. The book title is from Eccles. 3:11. His "4000-Year Connection" is one of the chapter titles, and also the title of his one-day seminar we attended in the 1990's. The mission mandate is emphasized. I did a book report on this one for the Perspectives class. Peace Child, the story of the Sawi headhunters and redemptive analogy was his best-seller, translated in 18 languages, and a Readers Digest book-of-the-month selection. Lords of the Earth, about missionary Stan Dale and the stone-age Yali of Irian Jawa was also a good read.

7. Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, John Piper, 1993, revised and expanded 2003. A passionate plea for God-centered missions. " Missions exist because worship doesn't. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man." A classic.

8. The Life and Diary of David Brainerd, Moody Press, 1949. A missionary to Native Americans in NJ , NY, and PA, who counted about 150 converts in NJ BY 1746, just before his death. A classic since it was made widely available by Moody Press. My compact pocket-sized, 1850's abridgement (The Life of the Rev. David Brainerd, by the Rev. Jonathan Edwards, Riligious Tract Society, 1799ff) of the original 1740's diary, has been overseas with me several times, and is one of the few books I've read (and cried) through more than once. The great theologian and missionary in his own right, Jonathan Edwards, Brainerd's mentor, put the diary into publishable form, after Brainerd's death from tuberculosis at age 29.

9. My Love Must Wait: The Story of Henry Martyn, D. Bentley-Taylor. I no longer have a copy, but shed some tears over this one too. English missionary to India and Iran, who followed in the tradition of Brainerd and Carey. He died in Turkey at age 21. He had earlier written in India, "Now, let me burn out for God." I would also like to see a 21st century biography written on the life of William Borden, another missionary, who like Brainerd and Martyn burnt out for God in his youth.

10. Five Pioneer Missionaries: David Brainerd, William C. Burns, John Eliot, Henry Martyn, John G. Paton, Banner of Truth Trust, 1965, 1987. 345p. The best biography of some of the greatest calvinistic-oriented missionaries of the 18th and 19th century, although it doesn't include missionary greats like Moffat, Carey, and Judson.

11. The St. Andrews Seven: The Finest Flowering of Missionary Zeal in Scottish History, Stuart Piggin and John Roxborough, Banner of Truth Trust, 1985, 130p. The story of the legendary Thomas Chalmers and six of his students at the University of Saint Andrews in the 1820's. The six students were: Alexander Duff, John Urquhart, John Adam, Robert Nesbit, William Sinclair Mackay, and John Ewart. Their teenage enthusiasm to serve Christ to the ends of the earth, led to great missionary work later, primarily in India. The early death of John Urquhart spurred the other five to "discover God's will and do it."

12. The Missionary Heroes of Africa, J. H. Morrison, George Doran Co., 1922, Reprinted by Greenwood Publishing Group, 1969. 267 pages. Has a chapter on each of these notable 19th and early 20th century "missionary heroes" of Africa: Robert Moffat, David Livingstone, John Mackenzie, James Stewart (of Lovedale), Robert Laws (of Livingstonia), Alexander Mackay (of Uganda), George Grenfell (of the Congo), Francois Coillard (of the Zambezi), and Mary Slessor (of Calabar). Another book I've enjoyed rereading recently.

13. Company of Heaven: Early Missionaries in the South Seas, Graeme Kent, Thomas Nelson, 1972, 230p. Many, nice historical illustrations. Written by an English author, who also served in the British Army, as a school teacher, and as a BBC producer, and lived with his family in the Soloman Islands. Fascinating, well writen account.

14. Some Gave All: Four Stories of Missionary Martyrs, Ellen Caughey, Barbour Publishing, 2002, 208p. The four martyrs are John Birch (China), Betty Olsen (Vietnam), Lottie Moon (China), and Nate Saint (Ecuador). From Barbour's "Heroes of the Faith" series- in paperback.

15. Cities: Missions New Frontier, Roger S. Greenaway and Timothy M. Monsma, Baker Book House, 1989, 2nd ed. 1990. Textbook for my class with Monsma at Westminster-West. An excellent, scholarly global overview of urban missions.

15. Let the Whole World Know: Resources for Preaching on Missions, Richard R. DeRidder and Roger S. Greenaway, Baker Book House, 1988. An great resource for preaching or teaching. I have used it, including, my favorites, these summaries of Christ's commission:

GO - authority enough
YE - messengers enough
INTO ALL THE WORLD -territory enough
AND PREACH -work enough
THE GOSPEL -message enough
TO EVERY CREATURE -audience enough
I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS -assurance enough

IN JERUSALEM -where I was rejected and condemned
IN JUDEA -where I was crucified
IN SAMARIA -where I was not wanted

16. Revolution in World Missions, K. P. Yohannan, gfa books a division of Gospel for Asia, many printings 1986 to the present, 212p. Yohannan challenges us to "examine our lifestyles in view of millions who have never heard the gospel." I read it in 1992 and passed it on to a Guyanese pastor who quickly read it with exitement. Advocates supporting indiginous missionaries in the vast unreached 10/40 window, as Gospel For Asia does. Nearly a million copies are in print. Older used copies are still easy to find, under title, The Coming Revolution in Word Missions: Final Thrust to Reach The 10/40 Window.

17. Catch the Vision 2000, Bill and Amy Stearns, Bethany House Publishers, 1991. I found this a practical book, in the 1990's, to better understand God's global purpose and to reach every unreached people group. Their newer Run with the Vision should be as helpful also.

18. How to be a World Class Christian: Special 50-Day Adventure Abridged Edition, Paul Borthwick, Victor Books, 1993. Have given away several copies-it's compact, useful, and inexpensive ( and easy to find used copies). Borthwick's A Mind for Missions is similarily useful but not as compact.

19. In the Gap:What it Means to be a World Christian, David Bryant, Inter-Varsity Press, 1979, 1981. Empasizes prayer, partnering, and teamwork. In the back it has a verse from every book of the Bible showing God's missionary heart and purpose. Bryant's newer book is Stand in the Gap.

20. A Vision for Missions, Tom Wells, Banner of Truth, 1985, 157p. A little book I discovered and read recently. The missionary endeavour is very basic to Christianity. He delves into the inspiration behind the 18th and 19th century missionary movement, with special emphasis on the examples of David Brainerd, William Carey, and Henry Martyn.

My reading list for the New Year includes:

1. David Bosch, Transforming Mission, Orbis, 2003.
2. Philip Jenkins, The Coming of Global Christianity, Oxford University Press, 2002.
3. Vishal and Ruth Mangalwadi, The Legacy of William Carey: A Model for Transformation of a Culture, Crossway Books, 1999. Summarized in a recent issue of Mission Frontiers magazine
4. Daniel Weber, William Carey and the Missionary Vision, Banner of Truth Trust, 2005. Part 2 of the book, over half the book, has Carey's complete An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens, written in 1792, a book God used mightily at the beginning of the modern missionary era.
5. Andrew F. Walls, The Missionary Movement in Christian History: Studies in the Transmission of Faith, Orbis Books, 1197. A winner of "Christianity Today Book Award."
6. David Hesselgrave, Paradigms in Conflict: 10 Key Questions in Christian Missions Today, Kregel Books, 2005. Hesselgrave signed my copy at the Perspectives class.
7. Mrs Howard Taylor, Borden of Yale '09, C.I.M., 1913. Moody Press reprint 1923.
8. Charles Soutter Campbell, William Borden: A Short Life Complete in Christ, 1909. If I can find it.

I recently read summaries of, or acquired and perused, most of these books, stimulating my interest in reading them in full. I would like to read more about the lives of early 20th century missionaries William Borden (No book has been written about Borden since 1913, it seems) and Eric Liddell (Liddell's 1924 Olympic feats are well know through the movie, Chariots of Fire). John Keddie's Running the Race, a biography of Eric Liddell was recently published in Mandarin and is being distributed in China, where Liddell is a hero, mainly because of his internment by the Japanese at Weihsien in China until his death in 1945, with a brain tumor. The film project about Eric Liddell, The Flying Man, and his missionary years in China is exciting. Mission Frontiers, Nov-Dec 2008 issue, has a 4 page article, "Eric Liddell, The Flying Man: China Rediscovers Its Hero," by Mark Harris. You may also wish to inquire about the future film by emailing to:


Anonymous said...

I recently read "Lords of the Earth". My zeal for missionary work is starting to come back. Thank the Lord for people like Stan Dale and all those "normal everyday" people who show that humans everywhere can do amazing things with faith.

Margot Harris said...

I had Scott Moreau as a professor my freshman year at Wheaton College. Very much appreciated his perspective and insight into demonology. Found his work to be helpful when I read Rod Henry's Filipino Spirit World book.