Skip to content ↓

Pressure Points

Book Reviews Collection cover image

Pressure can be an amazingly destructive force. When pressure builds up inside the earth’s crust, it can result in a devastating earthquake. But pressure can also be beneficial. We would not have running water with it; neither would be able to enjoy the beauty of diamonds. Pressure, with its possibilities of benefit or destruction, is the metaphor at the heart of a new book by J.D. Payne.

Pressure Points lays out twelve of the global issues shaping the face of the church today, which is to say, twelve of the global issues that already are, and will continue to, impact the advancement of the gospel in the twenty-first century. Christians do not get to choose the issues that we must respond to or adapt to; however, we are able to choose how we will respond to them. Each of these issues represents a pressure point and with each point comes the possibility of success or failure, of responding well or responding poorly. Payne says, “While the church does not have control over the macro-level contextual issues of each generation, her response to them is a matter of kingdom stewardship.”

While we have seen many books like this in the past—books that describe contemporary challenges to Christianity’s advance—Pressure Points stands out in its positive tone. This is not a lament for what was or what should be. It is not a complaint about current realities. It is simply a realistic assessment of ways the world is changing and the new realities it presents. Payne believes the church’s best days are ahead and that each of these pressure points represents a great opportunity for the gospel.

Here are a few of the issues he identifies:

  • unreached people groups
  • the West as a mission field
  • pluralism
  • globalization
  • international migration
  • oral learners
  • pornification of societies

In each case he describes the issue, explains how it challenges the church, and offers a few thoughts on how the church can face the issue well. While none of the issues will have equal urgency in every place and every context, at least a few of them will apply to your church and to mine. Here in Toronto we see massive international migration, we see the effects of globalization, we see the importance of cities, and we cannot deny the impact of the pornification of society.

If there are weaknesses in the book, they may be related to the cursory examination of each of the issues. Because this is meant to be only a short book, Payne can not go into great detail on any single issue, though each could easily merit a book of its own. Also, he at times seems to blur “professed Christians,” of which there may be 2 billion on earth, with true disciples of Christ of which there are obviously far, far fewer. One of the greatest and most difficult mission fields of all is those who profess Christ and yet are committed to a false and unsaving gospel.

I found this a helpful examination of current issues and an encouraging look at the issues that will either help or hinder gospel advance in the years to come.


  • We All Have To Do With God

    We All Have To Do With God

    Every one of us must deal with God. Every one of us must, at some time, face God. Every one of us must be prepared to give an account to God. For, as Scripture says, “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (February 24)

    A La Carte: Wherever he leads, he’ll go / Britain’s loneliest sheep / Helping your teen with porn / How do the Arminian and Calvinist views of election differ? / Exposing the good in digital distractions / Kindle deals / and more.

  • Free Stuff Fridays (Coram Deo Pastors Conference)

    This week the blog and this giveaway are sponsored by the Coram Deo Pastors Conference. Dear brother pastor, In a spirit of prayerful expectation, I want to invite you to the Coram Deo Pastors Conference. This new event is hosted by Clearly Reformed (a new ministry I help to lead) and Christ Covenant Church (where…

  • The Kindness of God

    God’s Goodness in a Cruel World

    There is much to love and appreciate about our God, much for which we ought to give him praise and thanks. One of the attributes we may consider too seldom is his goodness, and as an aspect or component of his goodness, his kindness. And that is the subject of

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 23)

    A La Carte: Order, preparation, and the Spirit’s leading / Desecration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral / Why did God stigmatize the disabled? / Who would I be if I was happy? / 7 parenting errors that can influence adult children to leave the faith / and more.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (February 22)

    A La Carte: Ice, wind, and unanswered prayers / Was it all a waste? / Prepping for the impending apocalypse / The best analogy for the Trinity / Getting to stop by woods on a snowy evening / Bible translation and AI / and more.