It seemed, from a redaction perspective, as if he was just piecing together various texts he's already written on Christian hedonism, exclusivism vs inclusivism, universalism, and some new material he had developed on the "people group" motif. That said - the section on people groups, in its historical context, is very valuable to read. His section on inclusivism and exclusivism is, to me, the best new contribution (from a history-of-Piper's theology standpoint).
On the one hand, it's a great entry level book on missions. I would gladly hand it to someone who had no theological background and tell them to read it and learn about the importance of worship and missions.
Al Mohler says, "'Let the Nations Be Glad!' is the most important book on missions for this generation, and I hope it will be the most influential as well." My thoughts on this book would echo Dr. Mohler's opinion.
John Pipers volume Let The Nations Be Glad presents a cogent, clear, and commendable case for making world missions a celebrated means, rather than a mere necessary end. Missions books often promote a view that the end goal of missions is to make missionaries, train them, and get them into the field. It is nothing less than the collective peoples of the earth, together treasuring the glory of God in the face of Christ. That is the end for which the means of mission was purposed, and worship, prayer, and sufferingthe books three-pronged first partare integral in getting us there. In the first chapter, Piper introduces the supremacy of God in missions through worship. Here Piper establishes his foundation, that worship is ultimate because God is ultimate, and the grateful acknowledgement of his supremacy (worship) is what we are seeking when we involve ourselves in missions. Piper here does nothing less than radically draw our eyes to the depths and trepidations of the biblical doctrine of hell and the heights and rising peaks of Gods love for us in Christ as the only Savior from it. Chapter six and seven end the volume with a survey of the life of Jonathan Edwards and an elaboration on Pipers purpose for writing the book. Let The Nations Be Glad is written with the Christian lay-believer and the Christian pastor in mind. I experienced this in chapter 5 where Piper sets forth an extended argumentation on what he sees as the correct way to interpret panta ta ethne (all nations in Matthew 28:20). Piper may be justified in his laborious defense, for how we interpret all nations will determine in large part our view of the extent of the great commission, one of Christs final commands and a battle cry for Christian missions. MEDITATION: A LOVE OF THINGS Every now and again as one reads a book, uncovering some distant theological landscape or familiarizing oneself with a new spiritual topic, a sentence will suddenly leap from the page, gripping the reader and making so forceful an impression as to change them in their seat. This did not happen for me in my reading of Let The Nations Be Glad. Piper wrote: It will be difficult to bring the nations to love God from a lifestyle that communicates a love of things. Yet this is not how it ought to be, and we believers who share Pipers passion for the supremacy of God must feel this incongruency more deeply. Pipers statement jarred me into wondering how readily my own lifestyle communicates the love of things, and what damage that could do to my commendation of Christ. This I believe is a point that requires more emphasis in the local churchradical generosity, counter-cultural living, in our finances, our things, our time. May we, as Piper encourages us to do in Let The Nations Be Glad (chapter 5, but the beam shines across the whole thing), store up our treasure not here, in the immanent and the temporary, but there, in the transcendent and the eternal, as have many great missionaries who precede us. This book does that with remarkable immediacy and effectiveness; I found my affections for Christ and my gratitude for his work being consistently stirred and my limited view for international missions being opened to the biblical view. In some ways, the following quote on the love of God summarizes exactly the entire message of the books 288 pages. The love of God for perishing sinners moved him to provide at great cost a way to rescue them from everlasting destruction, and missions is the extension of that love to the unreached peoples of the world. John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1993, 2003, 2010), Kindle Edition.
It is imminently quoted due to its strong theological polemic for missions and the writer formidable skills of articulation. Aside from these observations on the books contents, there is the sheer joy of ready the work of a capable author who combines acumen with artistic skill to produce a passionate polemic for the church to fulfill her mission mandate.
For six years, he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem.