You have been served notice: Ten Who Changed the World (B&H, 2012) is a book that you will want to buy immediately, for yourself and for your friends. It will be the best $10 you spend this year (you might soon consider those bucks the “ten that changed your life”). The book is a unique blend of biography, theology, missiology, and spiritual formation, in which Akin tells the riveting stories of ten Baptist missionaries (William Carey, Adoniram and Ann Judson, Bill Wallace, Lottie Moon, Jim Elliot, George Leile, David Brainerd, Eric Liddell, John and Bety Stam, and James Fraser) pairing each of their stories with a passage of Scripture that illumines their lives.
Here are some samples of what Christian leaders are saying about the book:
John Piper: “As a lover of rich and readable biography, I thank God for this little explosion of inspiration.”
Al Mohler: “A powerful book . . . read it, and pray that the next edition tells the stories of thousands who similarly changed the world.”
C. J. Mahaney: “These ten compelling biographies will stir your soul ten times over, inspiring you to pray, give, and if called, go for the sake of the gospel.”
Thom Rainer: “It is rare that a book has such a profound impact upon my life that I leave its reading with a certainty that I have known the nudge of God. But when I finished Ten Who Changed the World, I found myself near the point of tears. Above all, I came away pleading with Him to take my wretched life and shape it that I might be used, even if only slightly, like these heroes of the faith.”
Russ Moore: “Reading any page in this book can kindle a fire in your bones.”
Johnny Hunt: “Inspiring, encouraging, and challenging all at the same time.”
Ed Stetzer: “Ten Who Changed the World is not for armchair theologians, but for those who are ready to ‘go and do likewise.’”
Here is what I wrote in the preface:
Missions matters because God is a missionary God. Therefore, his people must be a missionary people. From Genesis to Revelation, we see God’s central promise that He would send a Savior, and that this Savior would win the nations unto himself. Through the Savior, God’s glory will cover the earth and through the Savior the lost will be found.
And yet there are almost two billion people who have little or no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ. In many corners of the globe there are not churches, no Bibles, and no Christians to bear testimony. Many of these two billion people could leave their homes and search – for days and weeks and months – and never find a Christian, a Bible, or a church. It is our responsibility to remedy this. Our Lord commands us in Matthew 28:18-20 to make disciples of all nations.
The magnitude of this task is great, but it is matched and exceeded by the magnitude of our biblical convictions: that God is a missionary God; that all people without Christ are lost; that a central theme in the Scriptures is God’s desire to win the nations unto Himself; that since the coming of His Son, God has chosen that all saving faith be consciously focused on Christ; that the church’s task in each generation is to proclaim the gospel to her generation; and that this progress of the gospel to the ends of the earth may be hindered temporarily, but there can be no doubt about its final triumph.
In Revelation 5, our Lord gives John a breathtaking vision. In this vision, all of heaven burst forth into praise. Among those worshiping, John sees men and women from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. This is the vision that drives us—that our Lord will be worshiped from all corners of the globe. He alone is worthy of such worship. Our lives should be lived in such a way as to contribute to this triumphant march of God, as He draws unto Himself worshipers from ever tribe, tongue, people, and nation.
This vision is the driving passion behind the book you are reading. The chapters arise out of a series of missions messages preached by Danny Akin, and collected in this book. In each message, he couples a passage of Scripture with a missionary biography. As he preaches through Matthew 28:16-20, Romans 8:28-39, Philippians 1:21; Romans 12:1, Psalm 96, Revelation 5:8-10, 2 Timothy 1:8-12, Galationas 6:11-18, Psalm 67, and Hebrews 12:1-3, he expounds and illustrates those same passages with riveting lessons and stories from the lives of William Carey, Adoniram Judson, William Wallace, Lottie Moon, Jim Elliot, James Fraser, David Brainerd, George Leile, John and Betty Stam, and Eric Liddell.
Be forewarned, however, This book is for readers who like their coffee strong. Those who read these messages will find themselves informed, rebuked, challenged, and motivated. They may even find themselves able to say, as Jim Elliot does in the pages of this book, that “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Consider this blogpost an encouragement to buy this book, read it, and give it out to your friends. May the Lord multiply it for his glory and for the sake of the nations.