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Book Review: Hope of Nations

Hope of Nations by John S. Dickerson is a strong call to the church to awake from their bed of apathy and rise up with a newly focused call to missions. It describes the hostile land in which we live, the stark reality of our Post-Christian, Post-Truth society. The book also shares the hope we have for the future with a caveat that the responsibility for that future lies in how we move forward. Will we continue unchanged or move with the fervor and boldness of missionaries past?

Several points I have already blogged about here and here. Here are some more thoughts from my reading:

  • “Following World War II, some 93 percent of Americans identified as Christian—either Protestant or Catholic. That was only seven decades ago. On today’s trajectory, it is almost certain that fewer than half of Americans will identify as Christian by 2048 (that figure includes very nominal and casual Christians). In a time of unprecedented peace and prosperity compared to historical averages, one of the most Christianized nations in history has steadily turned away from its faith. (pg. 140)” Coincidentally, an increase in mental health diagnoses has occurred. Violence has increased. Addictions are on the rise. Suicides appear up. Mental health is a 203.6 billion dollar industry.
  • “Enjoying the fruits while neglecting the roots. (Pg. 161)” A lack of historical knowledge of our country’s Christian roots and institutions and a lack of knowledge of history, in general, is hurting our nation. Hope of Nations talks about Germany and how Nazism began. The book reminds us to care for the country our grandparents and ancestors worked to maintain so that we might enjoy its prosperity.
  • Hope of Nations goes over several probable endings for America. All are terrifying. One particular scenario will only continue this sense of apathy in the church while others may bring about revival as we lose the possessions and comforts we presently value over God’s desire for our obedience.
  • The growth of the unchurched. It is mostly the older generation that gives to missions and its causes. The unchurched didn’t grow up steeped in church tradition and may be unfamiliar with the Great Commission and how to exercise their faith. In fact, when a church begins a series on stewardship, I often hear people refer to it as the church asking for more money. Without a theological understanding of stewardship, America may not long enjoy having the richest churches around the globe.
  • Manifesto gives us guidelines on how to navigate this new world. Hope of Nations calls all of us to recognize that we need to learn from our missionaries how to act and share our faith in an increasingly hostile culture.

Let me remind you of the stats cementing why it is important for churches and individuals to support what I am doing with WorldVenture:

  • 1 missionary for every 200,000 to 400,000 people (depending on whom you ask).
  • 1 pastor for an average 300-person church. Or a staff for a 4,000 person church that is often over-worked.

We expect a level of sacrifice from our missionaries and pastors, but not from ourselves. Hope of Nations reaffirms for me the importance of my calling in social media to mobilize the church and strategically design partnerships for a global revival. Hope of Nations prepares us for moving into a future as people with purpose and a hope. Let’s put to the cross our fears, our prejudices, our politics, and our offenses and realize that we are all image-bearers of God. Let’s share that gift of hope with others through good works, compassion, and truth.

**Book given by publisher to review**