Here’s my summary of what John Piper said in this podcast: Steward the gift of introversion. Be a Bible translator or a writer to benefit others.
Missionaries are not colonists, we are servants. We are not here to take, but to give. I don’t want to own their land, make money off of their natural resources, or make them look or act like me. I don’t want to control them, I don’t even want to lead them. I want to help them, to give them access to God’s Word, and the ability to read. I want them to see that eating too many mangoes does not cause malaria, but sleeping under a mosquito net helps. And I am doing my best to work myself out of a job. I want to see Kwakum men and women leading their own people in all of these things.
Seize the hope.
[M]issionaries are actually the greatest catalyst in the development and stability of nations.
Yet not just any missionaries.
Woodberry’s observations only held true for “conversionary Protestants.” That is, missionaries (1) who preached the gospel with the intent of converting others and forming churches, (2) who encouraged everyone to read the Bible in the local language, and (3) who taught that salvation comes by grace through faith.
Ponder concludes from Woodberry’s research that making disciples of Jesus Christ is the most effective way to improve the world.
What a blessing for a missionary to have the gift of evangelism or the gift of teaching, but Paul reminds us that there is an even “better way” (1 Cor. 12:31). The most important quality for a missionary is love. If missionaries don’t have love, all their evangelism and teaching is “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Perhaps their knowledge of apologetics and of theology is deep and profound, but without love, they are “nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Yes, there is even deep sacrifice which is not accompanied by love (1 Cor. 13:3).
The great difficulty is to make what you have to say as simple as possible but no simpler — which means that you often have to work very hard to express certain ideas in ways that are accessible but non-reductive. … when you’re writing for a general audience who does not know the language of your guild, you have to understand those concepts well enough to translate them into a more accessible idiom.
I have seen this ability in a few teachers and writers, and consider it a hallmark of a spiritual gift.
Besides nine that are positive, Frame tries to avoid three criteria that are inadequate reasons to critique theological writing:
I must still be young because these three don’t seem like criteria to avoid. If Frame means that these three criteria are not worth critiquing because they are not problems, but symptoms of problems, then it does seem like wise advice.
It’s worth the effort to understand writing with which I disagree. Improper emphasis, comparability to other works that are poor, and unbiblical terminology are not the heart of the matter. They can be warning flags as well as an opportunity to learn the meaning behind another person’s expressions.
When I’m asked the more existential question of how I’ve survived so long as a freelancer, my response is always the same: above all, be reliable.