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Hear me carefully

September 2012 | by Andrew Swanson

Hear me carefully

John Blanchard ¬— a biography

Marlene Williams
EP Books, 143 pages, £6.99
ISBN: 9780852347850

Among the many who have benefitted from the literary output of John Blanchard, there are probably not a few who would appreciate knowing more about his life story and 50 years in full-time ministry.
    The same will doubtless be true for the many who have appreciated his spoken ministry. For all such, this biography, written by the wife of a close colleague of Mr Blanchard over the last 10 years, will do much to lend weight to their appreciation.
    The first 32 years of Mr Blanchard’s 80-year life (to date) are covered in three chapters. The first chapter quickly sketches the first 21 years of his life, during which he became ‘a good, religious boy’.
    The next two tell of his conversion at the age of 22, the early days of his marriage, the births of his first four sons, removal from Guernsey to Weston-Super-Mare, and the commencement of his work as a full-time evangelist.
    Chapters 4-5 cover the next 33 years, during which he emerged from the comparative obscurity of his early days to become a well-known evangelist and the author of such books as Right with God (1971) and Ultimate Questions (1987).
    Alongside these writing projects, he was involved, with his co-workers Peter Anderson and Derek Cleave, in a variety of evangelistic enterprises in the UK and world-wide.
    The next three chapters indicate that there was no retirement at 65. They recount another very fruitful 11 years of ministry. At this point, however, with the publication of his biggest book ever, Does God believe in atheists? (2000), a different focus came into view and his ministry took a new direction.
    John ‘was absolutely convinced that the Lord was calling him to devote his ministry to apologetics — challenging atheism and equipping Christians to do the same’. As well as a ministry that has covered the UK and many parts of the world, he has authored a steady stream of new, attractively presented apologetic literature.
    The last two chapters cover the latest four years of his ministry and include a sensitive and moving account of his wife’s final days and burial.
    This book is an easy read, but it is also challenging and encouraging to see how much God has accomplished through these 50 years of ministry. May God use the example of John Blanchard’s life to encourage all who read this book to devote their lives and talents to the Lord.
 Andrew Swanson
 The Middle East

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