This little book is a gem. It is not a formal biography but a study of four men from different backgrounds. In their own words, each one recalls the way in which God intervened in his life to teach him the way of salvation and then shaped him to become a preacher of the gospel.
The important details are extracted from their published writings. Each was lifted from obscurity to become an eminent Christian leader not only in his own generation but leaving a legacy that continues to enrich the church today.
Martin Luther and John Knox provided dynamic popular leadership. John Calvin, an outstanding scholar, was able to communicate the riches of his understanding to all classes of people. He left very little of a directly autobiographical nature, but Professor Calhoun has gathered scattered comments from letters and even commentaries. John Bunyan had little or no formal education, but his preaching drew artisans on the one hand and university teachers on the other.
The introductions are good, and the quotations are carefully drawn together. Clearly the various chapters are not enough to give a total picture of their subjects — standard biographies need to be consulted to supply context and detail — but this is a fine taster. It can be recommended for Christian people generally, and hopefully will lead on to more detailed investigation of the Reformation and Puritan eras.
Robert W. Oliver
Bradford on Avon