John Piper is the foremost evangelical catalyst for world missions, and Philip Hopkins is the foremost interpreter of Piper’s theology of missions. The convergence of these two facts makes Hopkins’ recent book, God’s Desire for the Nations: The Missionary Theology of John Piper (Gonzalez, FL: Energion, 2010) significant for pastors, missionaries, professors, and students who seek to do missions for the glory of God.
In the book, Hopkins demonstrates the inner coherence of Piper’s thought by elucidating three central concepts: God’s glory, God’s two wills, and Christian hedonisms. For Piper, God’s glory is a concept at bedrock bottom of Christian missions. God does everything for his glory, for his renown, and for the sake of his name; missions is no exception. God is most glorified among the nations when he calls for himself hot-hearted worshipers from among every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. Furthermore, Piper argues that an understanding of God’s two wills (secret and revealed) is vital for the cause of missions. The reason Christian missionaries can have absolute confidence in Christ’s redemption of the nations is because God has willed from eternity past the salvation of those who he calls. Finally, Piper presses his Christian hedonism into service for the sake of world missions. The Christian who loves and embraces God will find that the search for his own happiness and for God’s glory coincide-they are one and the same. As the Christian seeks to glorify God, he will find his truest and deepest happiness. For this reason, Christians who seek to glorify God will realize that God desires to glorify himself among the nations, they will seek to join their desires to God’s desires, and in so doing find deep and abiding joy in pursuing God’s renown among the nations.
For those persons studying theology of missions, God’s Desire for the Nations is a valuable and worthwhile resource. For those who are studying Piper’s missiology in particular, this book is an indispensable guide. Highly recommended.
Philip O. Hopkins, God’s Desire for the Nations: The Missionary Theology of John Piper (Gonzalez, FL: Energion, 2010). ISBN-13: 978-1-893729-89-6.