Book Notice: The Missionary Call, by David Sills

The Missionary Call: Find Your Place in God’s Plan for the World. By M. David Sills.

Chicago: Moody, 2008, 246 pp., $13.99.

Consider two facts. First, there are perhaps 2 billion people on planet Earth who could leave their homes and walk for days and weeks and never find a Christian, a Bible, or a church in their language. They do not have access to the gospel because they do not have access to a preacher. Second, it has never been easier, at any time in history, or for any other network of churches, to take the gospel to the nations than it is for evangelicals (and specifically Southern Baptists) in the United States of America.

These two facts bring to the forefront of our minds a cluster of questions: Why doesn’t the IMB have 20,000 workers instead of 5,000? What will it take to increase that number? More to the point, does the Lord want me to go, and if so how will I know? It is this last question, along with many related questions, that is at the heart of David Sills very helpful treatise, The Missionary Call.

In the book, Dr. Sills seeks to help the reader understand the concept of a “missionary call.” He asks and answers such questions as: “How can I know God’s will?”, “Is there a biblical basis for a missionary call?”, “How has the church, throughout history, understood this concept?”, “How specific does the call have to be?” and “What should I do if my spouse does not feel called?”. In addition, he deals with many practical issues such as overcoming the hindrances to one’s calling.

Dr. Sills provides as thorough a rendering of the issues that 246 pages will allow, and does so in an even-handed manner and with a pastoral tone throughout. Most importantly it is written by a man who clearly has a love for God’s glory among the nations. Here is one excerpt, in which he deals with the “inward” aspect of the missionary call: “The missionary call is not as much about the exact neighborhood where you are to serve as it is a sustained burden to see hell-bound souls around the world redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. It is a yearning to see all the nations fall before the throne to worship Christ, and a radical surrender of all one has and is for His glory. It is a fervent desire to cross any and every barrier to share the saving gospel of God’s grace: language barriers, geographic barriers, socioeconomic barriers, and cultural barriers.”

This book is well worth the read, both for those who are interested in the missionary call, and even more importantly for those who are not. But you should be forewarned that this is a dangerous book. Beware. In reading the pages of this book, you might find that God will turn your life upside down and send you overseas, for the sake of His glory, for the salvation of the lost, for the ingathering of the nations.

Thomas Meredith and the Early Biblical Recorder: Two Articles

This year marks the 175th anniversary of Baptist periodicals published for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC). Thomas Meredith (1795-1850) was one of the patriarchs of North Carolina Baptists. He pastored two churches in eastern North Carolina, helped establish the state convention in 1830, and co-founded Wake Forest College (now University) in 1834. Meredith College in Raleigh is named in his honor.

In 1833 Meredith began publishing the Baptist Interpreter, which a year later was succeeded by the Biblical Recorder. The latter periodical remains the official denominational paper for the BSCNC to the present day. Along with Georgia’ Christian Index and Virginia’s Religious Herald, the Biblical Recorder has played a key role in shaping the identity and priorities of Southern Baptists on the Eastern Seaboard for the better part of two centuries.

In honor of this important anniversary, the BSCNC asked me to write two short, popular articles about Thomas Meredith and his tenure as editor of the Biblical Recorder. Both of those articles are now available at the state convention’s website (click here and here). I hope you will read the articles and learn about the man, his ministry, and the history of Baptists in North Carolina.

Baptist 21 Podcast Interview with Johnny Hunt

The guys at Baptist 21 have recently recorded a podcast interview with Johnny Hunt, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Woodstock and current president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Interviewer Nathan Akin asks President Hunt a number of important questions, including the following:

  • Why are you a Southern Baptist?
  • Who has influenced you?
  • Why are younger men leaving or contemplating leaving the SBC and what do we say to them?
  • What are the benefits of denominations?
  • What does the future of the CP entail?
  • What does Woodstock’s church planting look like?
  • Advice for young ministers?

You can download the podcast from the Baptist 21 website.