Seeds and Stars: Resting in Christ for Great Commission Service
by E.D. Burns
©2023 E.D. Burns
Published by Founders Press
Printed in the United States of America
Page Count: 256
Foreword by Dustin Benge
Protestants following the Reformed tradition historically split in to three tribes: the confessionalists, emphasizing doctrinal rigor; the pietists, emphasizing personal devotion, and the Kuyperians, emphasizing cultural engagement. This book marvelously blends all three perspectives by asking and answering a pivotal question: what sort of robust Christian piety and doctrine lead to balanced and bold Great Commission obedience in all of life? For those frustrated by the soft legalism of much of missions-focused literature and the narrow ecclesiocentrism of pietist thought, you’ll find Seeds and Stars to be a refreshing restatement of timeless gospel truths andan engaging unfolding of some implications few usually ponder.
Director of Advancement and Communications, ABWE
E. D. Burns knows from his own years of labor on the mission field that the soil from which ministry fruit grows is the heart of a minister. Unless you are trusting in the Lord, you are bound to be discouraged and quit or resort to underhanded means which the Lord abhors. Thus he writes this doctrinally rich book from his heart to ours so that we can learn to cast our bread upon the waters and rest while the Lord in His time brings forth fruit. This is a book that will make your spirit buoyant again if you are sinking under the weight of ministerial discouragement. Add it to your go-to books. You will need it!
Dr. Conrad Mbewe
Pastor, Kabwata Baptist Church
Founding Chancellor, African Christian University in Lusaka, Zambia
Once again, Burns has stepped into the role of older brother to bring clarity and conviction to the subject of mission theology. Seeds and Stars moves personally and passionately in the often-ignored direction of “Great Commission spirituality.” This book is the ready antidote for missionaries on the verge of burnout and for students young and old who want to connect doctrine and devotion more directly for the cause of Christ across the world. Read Seeds and Stars in colleges, seminaries, Bible studies, church equipping classes, and wherever your Great Commission fervor is waning and you need a fresh vision of God’s sovereign grace in your life and service.
Chris Burnett, PhD
Associate Director of Academics, The Master’s Academy International
Any orthodox work on missiology has to find its way through a number of potholes—not the least of which are a tragic trend of shortsightedness and an overemphasis on the emboldened individual rather than the church. Burns has led us as readers safely through these potholes. What Burns has done in this work is twofold: he has helped the church understand how authentic missions is to be conducted, and he has reminded the church of the message that is to be proclaimed. He reminds the missiologically inclined reader that the Great Commission is the task of the church, not of an army of passionate individuals. And Burns doesn’t let a strategy or tactic entice him away from the very center of missions work—the message that is preached when you get there. Burns explains that fidelity to the gospel message of justification by faith alone is the heartbeat of missions, and faithfulness on an individual level is guarded by a connection to the local church. If one of mytheological students expressed an interest in the mission field, this is the book I would recommend.
Peter Sammons, PhD
Director of Academic Publications, The Master’s Seminary
Assistant Faculty in Theology, The Master’s Seminary
Just as you cannot teach reading without knowing the alphabet, you cannot be an effective herald of the gospel without knowing certain fundamental truths of orthodox Christianity. Like the creeds and confessions of old, this book is a timely collection of those coreChristian truths that in today’s relativistic age are being abandoned by church leaders and missionaries alike in exchange for error, sentimentality, and subjectivism. Dr. Burns effectively reminds us that the key to a Christ-honoring ministry is not its clever approach to cultural issues, but rather rests in its ability to clearly and persuasively articulate and teach the ABCs of Christianity.
John A. Tucker, Esq.,
Pastor, Community Bible Church – Beloit, Ohio
Burns brings a unique blend of theological acumen, exegetical precision, and pastoral comfort to encourage the battle-weary gospel servant. Each chapter explains the implications of one of the five Solas of the Reformation. Burns applies these to the mission, worldview, and gospel service of Great Commission servants. He has spent enough time on mission fields around the world to know both the acute pain of suffering loss for the sake of Christ and the joys of triumph in ministry. He speaks candidly about the mystical, gnostic, and quasi-Christian movements and ideologies that litter the field of foreign and domestic missions and undermine the effectiveness and longevity of gospel servants. Burns is not afraid of attacking the sacred cows of modern evangelicalism, the false doctrines and man-centered disciplines that keep well-intentioned and highly motivated gospel servants shackled to the treadmill of achievement-oriented effort in Christian service. This book confronts and corrects the bad theology that infects Great Commission service. It comforts those discouraged in their efforts toward gospel advancement. The grand and glorious truths at the heart of the Reformed Protestant faith are as necessary today for the church’s mission as they were five hundred years ago when their proclamation and defense sparked that greatest revival of truth the world has ever seen. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!
Pastor, Kootenai Community Church
In contemporary evangelicalism, the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, biblical theology, and orthodox doctrine are out. Social activism, pietistic mysticism, and naked pragmatism are in. Consequently, much thinking about spirituality and missions seeks relevancy in “what works,” or better, “what works for me.”
Thanks be to God, Burns responds. Page after page of Seeds and Stars calls for a Great Commission spirituality that decidedly does not devolve from the present spirit of Sola experientia. Instead,Burns challenges the church to return to the great doctrines of theReformation: Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria.
Burns cuts to the heart, distinguishing law and gospel, exposing empty slogans, and proclaiming biblical truth. The Word of God indeed sets free those missionaries who have exhausted themselves in believing or striving harder for unrealized spiritual breakthroughs, but whose real need is to return to the joy of life enslaved to Christ. Into the dry and weary land of missiology, where theologically questionable messages and methods abound, Seeds and Stars falls like a longed-for and refreshing rain. What a blessing!
Dr. Scott N. Callaham
Dean, The Institute of Public Theology