The Missionary Call (Book Review)
April 20, 2012
By M. David Sills
(Original Posting, October 2009)
M. David Sills, who served as a missionary in Ecuador, begins one of his chapters by quoting missiologist J. Herbert Kane: “The ‘missionary call’ should never have been coined. It is not scriptural and therefore can be harmful.” Sills goes on to state that the missionary call has been a topic of much discussion down through the centuries with varying opinions. In his book he tries to bring some clarity to the subject by thoroughly examining the missionary call from a biblical, practical and historical perspective.
In the first section of the book, Sills looks at the broad picture by asking, “What is the Missionary Call?” In the middle section he gets more specific and seeks to assist the reader in understanding their own call. In the final section of the book, he assists the potential missionary by giving guidance to fulfilling their missionary call.
Sills states that the view on the missionary call can be divided into three basic views. The first view holds there is no specific missionary call and therefore all could go to the field. This view does not try to dissuade people from going, rather it is a response to those who believe that just because they have not received a call they don’t need to consider missionary service.
The second view states that every believer received a missionary call when they made a profession of faith. The marching orders have been given to take the gospel to all nations and therefore everyone should go. People who hold this view believe that if there is not sufficient cause to stay home then everyone should go. The final view holds that the mission field is difficult and the missionary faces many dangers. As a result, only those who definitely believe they are called by God should go overseas.
Sills also considers what constitutes a missionary call. Firstly, he believes that there needs to be a clear understanding of the need for missionaries, but that alone should not constitute a call. Secondly, along with a knowledge of the need, one must also understand the commands of Christ to take the gospel to every ethnolinguistic group. Christ gave the church the command to take the gospel to the world, and those who believe God is calling them into full time mission service have a keen awareness of this. Thirdly, there is a strong desire to make God’s name known and praised around the world, which leads to action. Finally, one’s home church should recognize this person’s gifts, and that God is leading them into missions. These four points make up the missionary call.
As one reads the book they will discover that the author is a firm believer of the missionary call, and it is “so personal that no one else can comprehend it fully”. It is his prayer that if God is calling someone into missions that they will be obedient and if He is not, that they will stay “home” and follow His leading.
The Missionary Call is easy and enjoyable to read. It will certainly clarify in the reader’s mind what a call looks like and enable a person to fulfill God’s calling on their life.
I highly recommend it to those who wonder if God is calling them into missions. I would also encourage mobilizers, pastors and bible college professors to read it to better enable them to counsel and guide a person in discerning whether or not God is calling them into missions.
The book can be purchased through amazon.com and chapters.ca at a very reasonable price.
Book Review By Merla Gogel