One of my favorite types of books are biographies. John Piper does an excellent job in the Swans Are Not Silent series of combining autobiographical writings, biography, and application. The 5th book in the series, Filling up the Afflictions of Christ, is no different.He he highlights William Tyndale, John Paton, and Adoniram Judson. Judson was the one I was most familiar with because I did missions and college ministry at the Summit. You can’t be at the Summit for any amount of time and not know of Adoniram Judson. Tyndale and Paton were familiar – but didn’t know their story as much.
Here are some of the key things that I underlined:
I remember Bruce Ashford saying something like this in the first chapel message he preached (as a professor) at SEBTS: “What is lacking in the afflictions of Christ is not that they are deficient in worth, as though they could not sufficiently cover the sins of all who believe. What is lacking is that the infinitie value of Christ’s afflictions is not known and trusted in the world.” (22)
(Tyndale) “The key to spiritual achievement is to work hard, and to know and believe and be happy that God’s sovereign grace is the decisive cause of all the good that comes… That is they both believed in hard work to say things clearly and creatively and compellingly when they spoke for Christ.” (36-7). I need to remember this in my writing projects.
Most memorable John Paton quote: “I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms; and in the great day my resurrection body will rise as fair as yours in the likeness of our Risen Redeemer.” (58)
“Often since have I thought that the Lord stripped me thus bare of all these interests, that I might with undistracted mind devote my entire energy to the special work soon to be carved out for me, and of which at this moment neither I nor anyone had ever dreamed.” (75) May I live my life with this FOCUS.
How I need this: “(Paton’s Mother to her children) “Oh my children, love your Heavenly Father, tell Him in faith and prayer all your needs, and He will supply your wants so far as it shall be for your good and His glory.” This is what Paton trusted God for in claiming the promises: God would supply all his needs insofar as this would be for Paton’s good and for God’s glory.” (77)
When life is painful (Judson): “As with all events under God’s merficul providence, this painful circumstance had some remarkable positive effects.” (95)
Honestly, when I question, I always say this – because it is my firm foundation – the truth and character of God – whether I agree or understand it or not. “Adoniram had been sustained with hope and with a spirit deeply submissive to the providence of God.” (99)