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‘You Must Read’ – A Review by Bob Thomas

Author
Category Book Reviews
Date August 5, 2015

A review by Bob Thomas of You Must Read: Books that have shaped our lives.1

Thirty-five luminaries of evangelical Christianity have each contributed an essay to this book in which they reveal which particular Christian book (apart from the Bible, of course) has been especially helpful in moulding their life, faith and ministry.

The common thread is that all the books have been brought to publication by the Banner of Truth Trust under the editorship of Iain Murray, and in some cases under his authorship as well – and the book is dedicated to ‘Iain and Jean Murray, with the affection and appreciation of grateful friends.’

In fact, You Must Read marks the Diamond Jubilee of three remarkable events: the 60th wedding anniversary of Iain and Jean Murray, the 60th anniversary of Iain’s being set apart for the ministry of the Gospel, and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Banner Of Truth Trust with the encouragement of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

One is tempted to set up a Facebook survey under the heading ‘How Much of a Banner Man Are You?’ The questions would be: 1. How many of these books have you read? I’d score 90.65%, leaving me a little disappointed with myself. 2. Which book has influenced you most in shaping your life and ministry? I was delighted to find that my choice would be the same as a good friend of mine, the Rev John J. Murray: The Diary Of Kenneth MacRae.

Joel Beeke, Alistair Begg, Ligon Duncan, John MacArthur, Stuart Olyott, R. C. Sproul, Geoffrey Thomas, Sinclair Ferguson, Maurice Roberts and our own Peter Barnes, are just some of the contributors, and it is fascinating to discover the books that ‘make them tick.’ It’s a bit like opening a window into each contributor’s Christian life and ministry, which in every case enhances our understanding of them and appreciation of their own life and work.

You Must Read is a helpful book in many ways. It gives us an awareness of books we might otherwise not have heard of or have possibly passed over as not exciting our interest. In a number of cases we are given a potted biography of the authors themselves and/or those they write about. By its very nature, You Must Read abounds in quotable quotes such as John MacArthur’s assertion that ‘Churches lose their spiritual power when they undermine the authority of Scripture’ (p226), Maurice Roberts’ view of Haldane’s Exposition of the Epistle
to the Romans
2 as being ‘a book full of light, love and life’ (p.82), Edward Donnelly’s estimation of Richard Baxter (The Reformed Pastor) as

A preacher who laboured to make plain the truth of God, who spoke from a burning heart as he pleaded with his people to close with Christ; a pastor who knew his sheep by name, speaking to them personally about the great concerns of their souls; he is not merely an historical curiosity, but a challenge and a stimulus (p.31).

Incidentally, Dr Donnelly’s analysis of Richard Baxter as a preacher sets out a model of preaching for preachers in these latter days, while J. I. Packer’s Introduction to The Reformed Pastor3 (unfortunately not noted) is a little gem.

As an added bonus, many of the books brought to our attention in You Must Read contain Introductions by Iain Murray, J. I. Packer (see above) and others, which make the books written about in You Must Read worth acquiring just for the sake of the introductions.

You Must Read will provide Christians with a springboard into a sound, helpful, uplifting list of books to read even as it demonstrates how to express thankfulness to a devoted servant.

Notes

    • You Must Read

      Books that have shaped our lives

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      A review by Bob Thomas of You Must Read: Books that have shaped our lives.1 Thirty-five luminaries of evangelical Christianity have each contributed an essay to this book in which they reveal which particular Christian book (apart from the Bible, of course) has been especially helpful in moulding their life, faith and ministry. The common […]


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      Avg. Rating
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      A review by Bob Thomas of You Must Read: Books that have shaped our lives.1 Thirty-five luminaries of evangelical Christianity have each contributed an essay to this book in which they reveal which particular Christian book (apart from the Bible, of course) has been especially helpful in moulding their life, faith and ministry. The common […]

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      A review by Bob Thomas of You Must Read: Books that have shaped our lives.1 Thirty-five luminaries of evangelical Christianity have each contributed an essay to this book in which they reveal which particular Christian book (apart from the Bible, of course) has been especially helpful in moulding their life, faith and ministry. The common […]

Taken with permission from New Life (Australia), 15 July 2015 (page 13).

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