Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christian Biographies Applied by Heather Thieneman

Heather Thieneman, one of my co-workers and friends at Sayers Classical Academy, has written a book called Christian Biographies Applied, which is available for $12.00 from www.lulu.com. I began reading this book awhile back (reading only the first few pages), but allowed other things to keep me from continuing with it. As my family took our seven-hour trip to Georgia from Kentucky for this Christmas Break (my wife [Abby] having to drive, due to her tendency to become car-sick), I finally returned to reading this wonderful series of biographical sketches.

I am certainly thankful to God, that-in His providence-He recalled Heather's book to my memory. The book is admirable on several levels. I would commend it to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ for the following five reasons.

1. Readability. I was able to easily complete this book during a seven-hour trip. Though I will certainly want to return to different parts of the book in the future, I was not simply skimming through it. Heather writes an a clear and concise manner. She is able to paint vivid pictures of various situations using just a few well-chosen words.

2. Interest. Because the circumstances recorded in the different biographical sketches vary so widely, sections of various chapters seem like they belong to separate genres of literature. Though each chapter is characterized by great trials, one section seems like it should be from an adventure, the next seems almost comedic, while the next may seem like a love-story from a Jane Austen novel. All of this serves to keep the reader riveted, making the book a real page-turner.

3. Well-chosen subject matter. The biographies outlined and applied in this book are of the following men:

-George Muller
-John Paton
-Adoniram Judson
-Hudson Taylor
-William Borden
-Charles Spurgeon

If you have been a Christian for a long time, you have likely heard of some of these men. But, unless you have a Ph.D in Church History, it is quite unlikely that you know the important details from all of these individuals' biographies. Each of these men, however, exemplifies a Christian life that is wholly dedicated to God and the spread of His gospel.

4. A heart for making disciples. Heather's purpose in this book is not just that readers would be impressed with the achievements or faithfulness of godly men. Rather, she consistently presses her readers to consider how the example each of these men has set should challenge us to a more consistent walk of faith. In this, she does not only focus on the good decisions each of these men made (though each of them is-on the whole-a very positive example); she also gives examples where some of these men could have acted with greater wisdom.

5. Theological sensitivity. Unlike many biographers I have read, Heather is quite sensitive to evaluate each of her subjects and their decisions in light of God's Word. While each of the men represented in her book sought to live in submission to scriptural authority, sometimes they came to conclusions that need further examination. To give two examples: Heather devotes careful thought to Taylor's view of sanctification and Borden's fundamentalist inclinations. She provides sound scriptural guidance to her readers concerning how these should be evaluated.

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Once again, I heartily commend this book to everyone. It is ideal for individual reading, or it could be used in a Sunday school setting. It is available to order HERE.

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