The Risky Upside of Missionary Biographies

By M.R. Conrad (Reposted from Rooted Thinking)

Eighteen-year-old Sarah Hall curled up in her New England home, her legs tucked beneath her voluminous 1700’s skirt.1 Neither the chill of the room nor the hardness of the wooden chair distracted her from her book. She barely noticed her younger brothers and sisters as they noisily went about their business in the common room. The hardbound volume, stiff with newness, recounted the life of the recently deceased missionary Samuel Mills.

What Missionary Biographies Did to Sarah Hall

Soon after finishing the book, Sarah wrote to a friend: “I have just completed the perusal of the life of Samuel J. Mills; and never shall I forget the emotions of my heart while following thus the footsteps of this devoted missionary. I have almost caught his spirit, and been ready to exclaim: Oh! that I, too, could suffer privations, hardships, and discouragements, and even find a watery grave, for the sake of bearing the news of salvation to the poor heathen!”2

Reading missionary biographies ignited Sarah’s passion for serving God. What she read would shape her future life and ministry. This young woman caught the spirit of Mills, launching her first into local ministry and then foreign missions.

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“Isaacson’s narrative...genuinely helped me understand the history and the current state of the technological world I live in.”

On The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson... "Somehow some writers of biography end up sounding trite, both in their relating of their subjects’ stories and in the lessons they draw from them." - Mark Ward

541 reads

Review - Martin Luther: A Spiritual Biography

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Quite rightly, in view of the historical and spiritual importance of the Reformation, there have been a spate of books about Martin Luther; this year, and indeed last week, being the five hundredth anniversary of the event that sparked the movement into flame — the nailing of Luther’s 95 theses onto the church door at Wittenberg on October 31st, 1517.

The author of the present book, Herman Selderhuis, has distinguished himself with his work on John Calvin, including a study of Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms and The Calvin Handbook. He has also written a similar biography to this on John Calvin.

The first thing I want to say about this biography of Luther is that it is very well written. Selderhuis has a plain, pithy and subtly tongue-in-cheek style that really makes the material flow. The second thing I would say is that this is not biography lurching into hagiography. The book presents the Reformer as a very flawed but endlessly fascinating individual. Luther was, for example, proud (179) and stubborn (181).

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Reflections on the Life of Robert L. Thomas

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By William D. Barrick. Reposted with permission from Dispensational Publishing House.

Robert L. Thomas, Th.D. (June 4, 1928-Sept. 6, 2017)

Dr. Robert L. Thomas modeled this truth in his own life and ministry in the Word of God. Throughout his teaching ministry (1959-2008) he applied his brilliant, God-given mind to Bible study, research, writing, and teaching. That career culminated in December 2014 with Dr. John MacArthur announcing the awarding of professor emeritus status to Dr. Thomas in honor of his 49 years of full-time teaching on the graduate level (1959-2008).

As a member of the Evangelical Theological Society from 1961 until the present, Dr. Thomas gathered with his peers and helped to guide the society. He served as secretary-treasurer, Far West Section (1969-1970); vice-chairman, Far West Section (1970-1972); chairman, Far West Section (1972-1973); led in the formation of a new section for the Pacific Northwest (named the Northwest Section); National Membership Committee member (1979-1982; 1984-1988); vice-president, president-elect and president (1988-1990); and executive committee member (1990-1994). Throughout the history of the Dispensational Study Group in ETS, Dr. Thomas attended the meetings, presented papers and engaged his peers in the ongoing discussions of hot-button topics.

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