HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton
Author: John Piper
Cover designer: Amy Bristow
Publisher: Crossway, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-1433510465 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1433510464 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-1433533839 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 1433533839 (Paperback)
Related websites: http://www.desiringGod.org (author), http://www.crossway.org (publisher)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Teens and adults
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Piper, John. Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton (published in 2009 by Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, 1300 Crescent St., Wheaton, IL 60187). This is Book No. 5 in the series The Swans Are Not Silent. Piper explains the series title in the Preface, where he writes, “By swans I mean the inspiring lives of faithful Christians in history. They are not silent in the sense that their lives still speak powerfully for our encouragement and guidance. He then quotes Eraclius at the retirement of Augustine as Bishop of Hippo in A.D. 430 when he said, “The cricket chirps, the swan is silent.” Piper wrote when he read that, he thought, “No, Eraclius the swans are not silent. They go on speaking. That is, they continue speaking if someone tells their story and gives them a voice.”
Concerning the book title, Piper explains in his Introduction that it is based on Colossians 1:24 where Paul wrote, “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church.” His point is that “this voluntary suffering and death to save others is not only the content but it is also the method of our mission.” He then illustrates this principle by reviewing the lives and work of William Tyndale, the English Reformation leader who translated the Bible into the English language and was burned at the stake for it in 1536; John G. Paton, Scottish missionary to the island of Tanna in the South Pacific’s New Hebrides chain beginning in 1824; and Adoniram Judson, the American missionary to the southeast Asian country of Burma, now Myanmar.
Other books in the series are The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin; The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd; The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce; and Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen. You must remember that Piper is an evangelical Calvinist, so some of the doctrines of evangelical Calvinism, like salvation by faith alone and total hereditary depravity, pop up from time to time. However, the men whom he discusses were all important figures in religious history who have a lot to tell us. Whether we agree with everything which they taught or not, we can admire their conviction to stand up for what they believed in and learn the important lessons which their attitudes and actions can teach us.