I am almost ashamed to admit that I just finished reading From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya for the first time. I feel like I should have read this book a decade ago! But, at any rate, I am glad I have finally read it.
The book is a biographical history of Christian missions. It tells the stories of the progress, the successes, and the failures of missionaries through the centuries. More than that, it tells the story of how God has used frail individuals to carry the greatest story every told to the ends of the earth.
Though I certainly did not agree with the author’s classification of all those in this book as gospel missionaries (especially those who preached salvation through any other means beside faith in Christ), I still liked the book for the following reasons:
- It strives to be an honest assessment of missionaries and does not gloss over the missionaries’ failures and weaknesses. This helps us to learn from their mistakes and to realize that perfection is a not requirement to be used by God.
- It is quite comprehensive, in that it summarizes the experiences of a wide range of individuals and methods. This helps us to compare and contrast various approaches and methods to mission work.
- It is a biographical history which makes it very interesting to read. The stories of the lives of real people provide for very entertaining reading.
- It provides us with a frame of reference regarding many different mission terms/strategies, the history and development of mission work, and various well-known missionaries throughout history. This helps us as we seek by God’s grace to launch out and develop our personal strategy for reaching the world with the gospel.
- It motivates us to be willing to forsake all and follow Christ just as many of the individuals in this book did. Most of them paid a far higher price than we will ever have to, but certainly we should be willing to sacrifice as much as they did.
Let me encourage out pick up a copy of this book today and read it. Let me know what you think. I don’t think you will be disappointed.