Although I’ve written about how moving this book is (and I could have written much more), a question arose in my mind. Is Piper overemphasizing “people groups”? Can we be obedient if we reach people groups but fail to go to the ends of the earth to do it? If we reach individuals who are from people groups that are primarily remote in their geographic concentrations, but we only reach those individuals who have taken residence in population centers, have we really “reached” that people group? Have we really obeyed Acts 1:8?
When I finished the book recently, I read the last footnote to Piper’s contribution. (He wrote the overwhelming majority of the book, but the afterword was written by another pastor at Piper’s church.) I’m quoting this footnote in full because it was quite interesting to me:
David Doran, in his book, For the Sake of His Name: Challenging a New Generation for World Missions (Allen Park, Mich.: Student Global Impact, 2002), 131-154, has written a chapter called “The Territory of the Great Commission.” In it he gives a corrective to a lopsided emphasis on the people-group focus in missions at the expense of the geographic focus. In spite of our interaction, I do not think it necessary to change anything I have written. But I do alert the reader that Doran interacts with me in his book and so may provide a perspective that I am neglecting.Obviously, you’ll need the second edition of Piper’s book, published in 2003, to get the footnote. I do not know whether Doran’s analysis is remotely similar to mine. If there is similarity, his thoughts and exegesis is clearly far more developed than mine. I plan to order For the Sake of His Name soon, but I don’t know when I’ll dive in. I plan to post an update when I get there.