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Preacher to the Remnant: The Story of James Renwick

By Maurice Grant
August 2010 | Review by Wayne Pearce
  • Publisher: Blue Banner Productions
  • ISBN: 978-0951148495
  • Pages: 280
  • Price: £12.75
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Book Review

Those familiar with Maurice Grant’s biographies of Donald Cargill and Richard Cameron will welcome this new and timely biography on James Renwick.

Renwick was successor to Cargill and Cameron and is described as the ‘last of the great trio of field-preachers who preached to the suffering remnant of the Church of Scotland in the persecution of the late 17th century’.

He was the last of the Covenanting ministers martyred for his commitment to Christ’s crown and covenant and for holding resolutely to Reformation and Covenanting principles. He was executed in Edinburgh on 17 February 1688 at the tender age of 26, just a few months short of the Glorious Revolution which enshrined many of the principles for which he suffered and died.

Renwick’s itinerant ministry lasted little more than four years, in which he willingly and courageously suffered continual opposition, persecution, hardships and deprivations. His refusal to submit to the authority and discipline of the established church, due to its episcopal church government and subservience to the Crown, compelled him to seek training and ordination at the hands of the reformed church in Holland in preparation for his ministry.

This book is published in hardback under the auspices of the Scottish Reformation Society and, like Grant’s previous works, is meticulously researched and well written. It will primarily appeal to those that have an interest in Scottish Church history. However, its subject matter is most apposite to the church in a day of increasing hostility to the Christian faith by the state and society generally throughout the western world.

While Preacher to the remnant does presuppose some knowledge about the period and issues involved, a little extra effort will pay dividends in getting to grips with this subject.

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