Yes, there were only two in this category that I read last year, but I’m pretty sure they were the best books that I read – and I can’t pick one over the other. Read them both. If you don’t own them, get hold of them – now! You can get Carson’s “Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor” for free as a PDF here (don’t worry, it’s legitimate) and Ryle’s “Five English Reformers” is available for a little as 99p on kindle (or under a fiver at 10ofthose).
Both brought me close to tears, and both made substantial theological points about great Christian men of the past, without making me feel inferior or judged. I heartily recommend these both to you. Please get hold of them!
This excellent account of the life and ministry of Tom Carson (the author’s father) gives a fascinating insight into the challenges of normal ministry. It is hard to express how moving was the labour of this great saint, especially in the context of persecution ‘from within’.
His resilient faith and refusal to drift into slander are a testament to God’s great work in the man, and I strongly encourage anyone to get hold of this book. He wasn’t a superhero, just a man who knew his Bible and believed it.
If you’re going to read anything on my list from last year, read this one.
The eagle-eyed amongst you will have realised that I don’t read much that hasn’t been published recently. It’s an unhelpful bias, demonstrated especially by the brilliance of this little book. It’s not long, but with its older style it’s slightly more difficult to read. Nonetheless, it is well worth the effort.
These five saints from the time of the counter-Reformation stood up for the truths of the Bible – and were willing to go to death over things that I think most Christians would consider pretty minor. Yet they recognise the eternal and immense significance of these issues, and Ryle highlighted their examples as a rallying cry to a modern generation to do the same. Here it is in our time to do the same.