review of NEIGHBOR TO THE NATIONS

172829979Ron Murch has given readers a great gift in this short biography of Dr. Fred L. Piper. Piper was a pastor, author, educator and poet, but it was a short term missions trip to Jamaica that proved the highlight of this man’s life. His passion for reaching the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ led him to endure the hardships and uncertainties of that trip. He made an impact on the lives of the people he met, and the experience impacted him for the rest of his life.

Missionaries who have had similar experiences will enjoy reading this book. Those engaged in any Christian ministry will be encouraged by its pages. It reveals the heart of a man who – while still young, suffered the heartbreak of losing his wife to a serious illness. This tragedy did not turn Fred from his devotion to Christ and the lost. In fact, it made him more compassionate.

Fred spent most of his life as a promoter of missions, and seeking to make connections between other supporters and those who were doing the work.

Theologically, he was a conditionalist. He believed that immortality is not an innate possession in humanity, but is a gift of grace available on condition of faith in Christ. Opponents of this view often claim that conditionalists lack the zeal to promote evangelism and missions because they reject the fear factor involved in the popular notion of a perpetual hell for the lost. Piper was living proof that this is not the case. Conditionalists are moved to reach out to the lost with the gospel because the God we know wants them to live for eternity with him.

This story was first written as part of a college assignment, and is just now being published over 50 years later. The story itself is timeless, because it captures the passion of a man who spent his life loving God with all his heart and his neighbor as himself.

Jefferson Vann
Saturday, June 09, 2012
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