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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


Tyndale. Judson. Paton.

The fifth volume in Piper’s acclaimed “The Swans Are Not Silent” series illustrates powerful and enduring lessons through the sufferings of Tyndale, Judson, and Paton.

Jesus’s words in John 12 are sobering: unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it will bear little fruit. The history of Christianity’s expansion proves that God’s strategy for reaching unreached peoples with the gospel includes the sufferings of his frontline heralds: the missionaries who willingly die a thousand daily deaths to advance God’s kingdom.

Pastor John Piper’s latest addition to “The Swans Are Not Silent” series focuses on this flesh-and-blood reality in the lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton. The price they paid to translate the word of God, to pave the way for missionary mobilization around the world, and to lead the hostile to Christ was great. Yet their stories show in triplicate how the gospel advances not only through the faithful proclamation of the truth but through representing the afflictions of Christ in our sufferings.

“What overwhelms me, as I ponder this and trace the lives of William Tyndale, John Paton, and Adoniram Judson, is how strategic it was that they died so many times and in so many ways before their lives on earth ended. This is no rhetorical flourish. The Bible speaks this way, and these followers of Christ knew it.”