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Hear Me Carefully – John Blanchard A Biography

By Marlene Williams
September 2012 | Review by Andrew Swanson

Synopsis

In 1940, when Adolf Hitler’s troops invaded the peaceful Channel Island community of Guernsey, the eight-year-old John Blanchard was one of thousands of school children who were hastily evacuated from the island and remained cut off from all contact with their homes and families for the next five years. John was sent to the remote island of Islay, off the west coast of Scotland, where he worked long hours on a farm and walked miles to school. Following his return to Guernsey in his teens, he left school at the age of sixteen with no formal qualifications and joined the Guernsey Civil Service. It was here that he met his future wife, and at her invitation that he attended a series of evangelistic services held on the island which were to change his life for ever. In 2012 John celebrates not only his eightieth birthday, but fifty years in full-time Christian ministry. He is an internationally acclaimed Christian author, teacher and conference speaker, particularly in the field of Christian apologetics. He has over thirty titles in print, some of them in more than sixty languages. Marlene Williams is a Civil Servant who has had a career in the Department for Work and Pensions and was awarded the MBE in 2007. As a management trainer she has produced a wide range of written resources but Hear me carefully is her first book. She lives in Ashton-in-Makerfield, Lancs, and is married to Howard, who has worked with John Blanchard on the Popular Christian Apologetics project for the past ten years. She is also a proof-reader for John Blanchard.

  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0-85234-785-0
  • Pages: 144
  • Price: 6.99
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Book Review

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 fifty 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 ten years, will do much to lend weight to their appreciation.

      The first 32 years of Mr Blanchards 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 fulltime evangelist.

      Chapter’s 4 to 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 U.K. 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 covered the U.K. and many parts of the world he has authored a steady stream of new, attractively presented apologetic literature.

      The last two chapters cover his 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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