Review: Newton on the Christian Life: To Live is Christ

Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ (Theologians on the Christian Life)Newton on the Christian Life: To Live Is Christ by Tony Reinke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tony Reinke has combed through the letters of John Newton and sifted out many of his words pertaining to the Christian life. Newton excelled at distilling practical wisdom for daily living. His counsels are personal and helpful. Reinke does point out a couple of areas of deficiency in his writings. I think those deficiencies and Newton’s advice in a couple of other areas show he was somewhat affected with pietism, though he also denounced and warned against legalism. None of that should hinder anyone from benefiting from this book.

The author has arranged Newton’s counsels in different chapters that touch on various aspects of Christian life on earth. He gives us much on overcoming sin and temptation, viewing trials, and battling self, which Newton viewed as the greatest enemy. Reinke also acknowledges different aspects of life he didn’t have space to deal with, but the book is a real blessing.

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Review: Education of a Wandering Man

Education of a Wandering ManEducation of a Wandering Man by Louis L’Amour
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fascinating read. This is L’Amour’s autobiographical memoir of his life. He focuses on his wandering travels and the books he read all along the way. I have never read anything by L’Amour, nor did I know much about him. If you’re a reader or a writer, you will enjoy and learn from this book. You will probably like it also if you are a fan of L’Amour’s novels.

By many ways of measuring, he had a full life. He would argue that his life was richer still for the books he read and the people he met that told of him people, places, and events he could never know otherwise. Some books he names only. Some books he comments on. He also scattered nuggets about living life, reading, writing, and learning throughout the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it and picked up some good recommendations.

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Preacher Biography

The life of Arthur W. Pink is a most interesting study. Ian Murray’s book is probably the definitive work on Pink though a few other books exist that have merit.

You might call his life a rise and fall. Through his preaching and writing, his popularity grew, but so did his opposition and detractors. When the door of public preaching finally closed to him, he poured all of his energies into his writing. Ironically, his writing is why we know who he was today. He also has more recognition and fame after his death than he did during his life.

Pink was exemplary in his discipline and study. He felt it was his job and that he should go about it as the farmer or banker to their tasks. His long hours and much study did cost him in the terms of fits of illness that sidelined him for periods of time. Once recovered, he would be right back at his work.

The last chapter of his life is a rather dark one. He sought seclusion in Scotland and seems to have had little personal interaction, fellowship, or relationships. His writing in those years is often characterized by a harsh tone and cynicism. This is especially seen in his correspondence of those later years.

This is a new edition of Murray’s biography that is expanded to include new material he did not have when he wrote the first one. It is certainly worth reading. Pink is a model in some ways and a warning in some others. I am thankful though, for I have certainly profited from his writing.

Missionary Biography

I listened to a reading of Hudson Taylor’s Spiritual Secret (Sermon Audio). I knew little of Taylor before listening to this reading. His main objective was to preach the Gospel to the millions of China. He did not seem to be a man of extraordinary gifts or attainment. However, he used what he did have to the fullest to reach those people. Though not necessarily a talented writer, he learned to write in order to inform people of the need in China, and his little pamphlet circulated in the millions.

The need he wrote of was the need of the people to have the Gospel, not the financial need of his mission work. In fact, he never asked for money from anyone other than God, and his needs were always met and he operated completely without debt. He did ask for laborers for the field and hundreds responded. It took many years for Taylor to do the work he hoped to do in China, and he was at it right up until his death.

Another interesting fact from this account is that George Mueller was a generous contributor to the China Inland Mission. Yes, the George Mueller that operated the orphanage in England, whose faith is noised abroad. If you know anything of Mueller at all, you know he did not have an abundance of this world’s goods.

I have read the accounts of him waking up in the morning with absolutely no food for him and the children. Surely, he did not have anything to spare. So, what was he doing giving to Taylor’s work while the orphanage was running so lean? He is a testimony to selfless, sacrificial giving. Though he was doing a good work, which had many needs, he did not become absorbed and self-centered in his own work. He still reached out to others in need, remaining Christ-centered. He understood that “God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). He gave out of his poverty abundantly. He did not worry over this for he had the promise: “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).

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