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All articles from issue June 2019

Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

‘Ever, only, ALL for Thee’: Glimpses of the life of Frances Ridley Havergal

I really like this little book and can easily understand how it came to be written and compiled. While proof-reading The complete works of Frances Ridley Havergal, Pamela Bugden realised the many blessings to be obtained through reading and studying Havergal’s hymns and other writings. Many will have sung her hymns over the years, but few may know the story of her life, her many talents and the vast quantity of other written material. She was a talented musician as well as hymn-writer, composing many of the tunes to her hymns, and was also said to be gifted with a beautiful singing voice. Pamela Bugden’s...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Frances Ridley Havergal, the English hymn-writer and poet

To most readers of this review Frances Ridley Havergal is probably best known as the writer of such hymns as ‘Take my life’, and ‘Lord, speak to me, that I may speak’. This book, the latest of the Day One Travel Guides – and the first written about a woman – is both a potted biography and practical guide for anyone wishing to visit the places associated with Frances. Frances was born in 1836, the youngest of six children. Her father was rector in Astley, Worcestershire. She was a gifted individual and wrote hymns (and tunes to accompany them), poems and devotional books for adults and children....

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Christmas Evans – no ordinary preacher

One thing is certain: this book is a conversation starter. Whenever I left my copy on the coffee table, visitors would pick it up and ask in bemused tones, ‘What sort of a name is Christmas Evans?’ I knew a little about Christmas Evans before reading this, but as I read I began to realise he was not dubbed ‘the John Bunyan of Wales’ for nothing.  I learnt of the far-reaching effect of his ministry all over Wales, and that we have Christmas Evans to thank for gospel witness in Anglesey today. It might be fairer to call him the ‘remarkable itinerant evangelist of Wales’....

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Cornelius Van Til: Reformed apologist and churchman

Cornelius Van Til was arguably the most significant and yet most under-appreciated Christian apologist of the 20th century. That is so in part because his writings are not always easy to understand and he has often been viewed as a controversialist. John Muether provides a major corrective to those misperceptions in this new biography. As part of the American Reformed Biographies series, which sets out to chart Reformed church history through biographies of key figures in that movement, Muether views Van Til primarily in light of his Presbyterian convictions and churchmanship. Tracing out his family roots in the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, we are...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Christianity: Is it True?—Answering questions through real lives

This is a really interesting small book consisting of twelve biographies of Christian heroes of faith. They begin with the earliest, St Columba of Iona, then work through history, including John Bunyan and William Wilberforce on the way, before finishing with Joni Eareckson Tada. Each biography covers eight to ten pages with the aim of showing how these people from different backgrounds put their faith into action in different and sometimes challenging circumstances. A short introduction and conclusion put the biographies into the context of the book’s title—Christianity: Is it True? They also answer two other questions which the author sets: ‘does it work?’, and...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Five Half-Truths—Addressing the most common misconceptions of Christianity

This helpful little book aims to help navigate people though confusions that contemporary society generates, and which so often derail those who engage with Christian teaching. It also serves to clearly ground believers in the faith, especially as they seek to help others explore it. The ‘Five Half Truths’ are: 1) The Bible was written by men; 2) all religions are the same; 3) God is love; 4) Jesus is truly a man; and 5) our good deeds matter. The book concludes with chapters on ‘the whole truth’ and a final challenge to think all this through. Positively, the author gives helpful, clear explanations of...

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Review

June 2019
Reviews > Book

Journal of the Seminary of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Volume 4.

This edition of the Journal contains seven articles, six by contemporary Free Church (Continuing) ministers who have lectured at the seminary, and one by a nineteenth-century Free Church of Scotland theologian, George Smeaton. The work could have done with better editing. There are too many spelling mistakes and examples of incorrect grammar, and occasionally footnotes appear on the wrong page. Three of the articles deal with large theological themes. John Morrison writes on the atonement, William Macleod on Christology, and James Clarke on God’s immanence and transcendence. In a volume of this size, the treatment of these major themes is inevitably sketchy, but the authors...

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Review

May 2019
Reviews > Book

Called? Pastoral Guidance for the Divine Call to Gospel Ministry

It is a momentous thing for a man to feel that the Lord is calling him to gospel ministry. Michael A. Milton sets out to guide his readers through the various stages of responding to the Lord’s call. His work is full of practical advice, often drawn from Milton’s own experience. A theology of calling is sketched out. Several chapters are devoted to choosing a seminary and the privileges and pitfalls of seminary life. Attention is given to the early phase of gospel service after training has been completed. Then there is the matter of persevering in the work over the long haul. The work...

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