Category Archives: Biography Book Reviews

This Life I Live by Rory Feek

Feek, Rory. This Life I Live – One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed it Forever. Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2017. 240 pp. $24.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for much less.

Introduction

Rory Feek is one of Nashville’s premiere songwriters. He has written two of my favorite songs: Some Beach performed by Blake Shelton (this my “Delaney’s Law” song!) and Someone You Used to Know by Collin Raye. He and his wife recorded an album of her favorite hymns.

You can find out more at This Life I Live.

Summary

Joey and Rory Feek were enjoying a steadily growing fan base in country music when Joey was diagnosed unexpectedly with a rapidly spreading cancer. This vibrant and beautiful young woman would soon be on a unique journey for which no one is ever fully prepared. Her husband, Rory, and children, Heidi, Hopie, and Indiana, were beside her each step of the way. Rory, a prolific songwriter, entrepreneur, farmer, and overall tender man, has seen God bless his life in countless unexpected ways and had started a blog, thislifeilive.com, not really knowing its purpose other than he needed to write. That purpose soon became clearer when Joey’s cancer battle hit.

By inviting so many into the final months of Joey’s life, this astounding couple captured the hearts of millions with their powerful love story, the manner in which they were handling the diagnosis, and the inspiring simple way they had chosen to live their lives.

In this vulnerable book, Rory takes us into his own challenging life story and shows what can happen when God brings both his presence and the right companion into our lives. He also gives never-before-revealed details on what he calls “the long goodbye,” the blessing of being able to know that life is going to end and taking advantage of it. Feek shows how we all are actually there already and how we can learn to live that way every day. He then goes into detail toward the end of the book on what it’s like to try to move on with your life once you’ve “had it all.”

Review

This book is a behind the scenes look so to speak at a public portrayal of one couple’s battle with an aggressive, and ultimately, terminal cancer. Joey entered in the presence of her Lord and Savior on 4 March 2016. There was a Facebook page in which Joey and Rory shared quite a bit of detail with those who were interested. This led to much attention and consequently allowed them to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to a world watching and hoping.

As we all do, they traversed the unknown with courage and shared many pitfalls and concerns with their “fans.” This book, This Life I Live, takes a step back less than a year later and offers a different more personal perspective.

It reads more like a private journal and a stream of conscience thought project. In other words, it can be quite raw in some areas which adds to the allure of the book. Far from perfectly edited, it shows the reader that the social media persona was not a facade.

What comes through on most every page is their faith in Christ and the hope that even though the cancer was going to take Joey’s life, it would not destroy her spirit.

Recommendation

If you are into love stories, feel-good stories, or stories of faith, I recommend this book. It will keep you up at night wanting to know more (even though you know how it ended!) and bring tears and laughter sometimes in a matter of two pages. Readers will enjoy the raw look and learn that even the “famous songwriters” put their jeans on one leg at a time.

Michelangelo for Kids by Simonetta Carr

Carr, Simonetta. Michelangelo for Kids: His Life and Ideas with 21 Activities. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2016. 132 pp. $18.99. Purchase for less at Amazon.

Introduction

Simonetta is definitely no stranger to Christian Book Notes. I have reviewed a number of her books, most of which are for children, and have been fortunate enough to interview her as well. This is her first book in this series which includes resources on Leonardo da Vinci, Monet, a Van Gogh to name a few.

Summary

Part biography, part introduction to art, part art lab, there is something for every student of art in this resource.

From the back of the book:
Michelangelo Buonarroti – known simply as Michelangelo – has been called the greatest artist who has ever lived. His enormous masterpieces astonished his contemporaries and remain some of today’s most famous artworks. Michelangelo for Kids offers and in-depth look at his life, ideas, and accomplishments, while providing a fascinating view of the Italian Renaissance and how it shaped and affected his work.

Young readers will come to know Michelangelo the man as well as the artistic giant, following his life from his childhood in rural Italy to his emergence as a rather egotistical teenager to a humble and caring old man. They’ll learn that he did exhausting, back-breaking labor to create his art yet worked well, even with humor, with others in the stone quarry and in his workshop. Budding artists will come to appreciate the artist’s techniques and to understand exactly what made his work so great.

Review

Too be honest, I am not much into art or art history. I mostly know Michelangelo as the orange-bandanna wearing turtle who loves pizza. That is, until I flipped through this book. I did know he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel having grown up Roman Catholic. This book was extremely informational. Also, with all of the activities, my kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

I would like to point out, however, that this is not a Christian book per se. Simonetta explains in a blog post why she decided to write this particular book. Personally, I am grateful she took on the responsibility to write it. Having known her through email conversations and becoming familiar with her writing style and faithfulness to historic fact, she has proven herself to be a trustworthy biographer. Also, she was able to intertwine the Reformation and its influence on the artist even though he remained Roman Catholic.

I am fairly certain this resource become a staple in children’s art classes for years to come.

Recommendation

If you homeschool your children and you teach them art or art history, you will want to use Michelangelo for Kids as one of your resources. It is full of 21 different activities that will engage the children (and the teachers!) all the while teaching them about one of the greatest artists of all time, if not the greatest.

I highly recommend this resource to anyone interested in an introduction to the life of Michelangelo.

Shaken by Tim Tebow with A.J. Gregory

Tebow, Tim and A.J. Gregory. Shaken: Discovering Your True Identity in the Midst of Life’s Storms. New York: WaterBrook, 2016. 224 pp. $25.00. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for much less.

Introduction

Truthfully, Tim Tebow needs no introduction. Ever since he exploded on the scene as two-time national champion and Heisman Trophy winner in college football for the Florida Gators, he has been making headlines for his faith and athleticism. He was a surprise first round draft pick of the Denver Broncos before he was signed by the New York Jets and then released by the New England Patriots. He recently made headlines again by signing with the New York Mets. He also works for the SEC Network and ESPN and, due to his faith, made “Tebowing” famous (i.e., bowing in short prayer).

He is perhaps best known for his faith as this book explains.

Summary

The book begins with his being cut by the New England Patriots and his dreams of playing in the NFL dying. He shares his experiences of the highs and lows of a professional life before the ever criticizing eye of the media. Through it all, Tebow explains that his identity has never been in his awards or titles or victories or defeats. Rather, his identity has always been in Christ.

Review

This book shows how important it is to understand who you are in Christ. If you get caught up in the rat race of life and allow others to define who you are, you are going to wind up hurt and disillusioned. Tebow, with the help of A.J. Gregory, explains how important it is to seek the greater identity found in Christ.

Tim Tebow is obviously not a pastor, but he certainly has a large platform. He is a great example for everyone to emulate regarding using the influence God has granted you to point others to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Tim does exactly that as often as he can.

He shows that the limelight is not the place you really want to be though so many aspire to that kind of greatness. To think about a young man working out his theology and faith before an ever increasing hostile world is hard to imagine, but Tebow has done it and done it well.

What is more, while most of us will never have the platform Tebow does, we all have influence in various spheres of life. He offers us a great example of how we should live our lives as salt and light in this world.

I do wish, however, there would have been more Scripture, but I also understand what Tebow is seeking to accomplish with Shaken. For that, I thought the book excelled and will be a wonderful ministry tool.

Recommendation

If you enjoy biographies about athletes, you will enjoy Shaken. If you enjoy reading about the faith of athletes, you will enjoy Shaken. If you know a young man who loves the Lord and loves athletics, you need to get him a copy of Shaken. I do recommend this book to all believers and unbeliever alike.

 

One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd

Ladd, Jason B., One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview. Wasilla: Boone Shepherd, LLC., 2015. 318 pp. $16.99. Purchase at Amazon for less and on Kindle for much less.

Introduction

Jason Ladd has flown the F/A-18 “Hornet” as a Weapons and Tactics Instructor and the F-16 “Fighting Falcon” as an Instructor Pilot in the United States Marine Corp. He also flew combat missions in Iraq. While in the Marines, he fought the greatest battle of his life…what did he believe in regarding God and salvation. One of a Few is his retelling of how he came to faith in the one true God.

You can learn more about Jason at his blog, and, for a limited time, download the audio book for free though it does require a subscription at JasonBLadd.com.

Summary

Divided into three parts over 27 chapters, Jason recounts his journey from skepticism to unbelief to belief.

We learn that Jason grew up in a military family and spends his young life filled with spiritual apathy as many children do. Even though he grew up in the military, he never developed a solid moral foundation even with his basic knowledge of right and wrong instilled in him by his father.

Ladd enters the US Marine Corps, becomes a fighter pilot, and sees combat in Iraq before life events align to nudge him into profound spiritual inquiry. Digging deep into his quest for truth, he realizes the art and science of fighter pilot fundamentals can help him on his journey.

Ladd takes the reader on an interesting journey as his skills as a fighter pilot are no match for the One who sought Jason in order to save him from the ultimate defeat.

Review

First, I must confess that I am a veteran of the United States Army and therefore have no reason to really say anything good about a Marine! (This is a joke for those who have never been in the military. We all can tease one another because we are part of a brotherhood that transcends much of American culture.) That being said, Jason explains how he joined a brotherhood that transcends all culture and can only be found in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

Jason’s story is gripping and will keep the reader turning pages well into the evening. His zeal to find the truth and his willingness to leave no stone unturned is to be commended…especially as a Marine. As I read this biography that became an apologetic for the Christian faith, I couldn’t help but think back to my own salvation and growth in the Christian faith. For the resources he quotes and recommends are the same resources that were extremely influential in my early walk with Christ while studying philosophy at a state university.

Jason challenges his reader to do the research himself. It is almost as if he is daring the reader to doubt the claims made by Christ and the Christian faith. In the end, this resource proves to be an excellent read that will leave you breathless as a fan of combat pilots as well as the equipping with information that there is something greater out there and you have the responsibility to understand what it is God is calling you to.

I love his question, “What are you fighting for?” This is a question we all must ask. Often the answer will not be what we think.

Recommendation

I heartily recommend this biography to all. Further, it can be an excellent tool for the young man interested in the military generally and in fighter pilots specifically. They will have a modern day veteran to look up to who will point them even higher than any aircraft can travel.

Theodore Beza by Shawn D. Wright

Wright, Shawn D. Theodore Beza: The Man and the Myth. Great Britian: Christian Focus Publications, 2015. 256 pp. $14.99. Purchase at Amazon or for Kindle for less.

Introduction

Dr. Shawn Wright is Assistant Professor of Church History at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves in the local church as an elder.

Theodore Beza (1519-1605) was the successor to one John Calvin.

Summary

With only 8 chapters divided over 256 pages, Wright looks first at Beza’s life and the context in which he ministered. He then paints with broad strokes the theological vision of Beza. The majority of the book is a summary of five publications of Beza:

  • Confession of the Christian Faith
  • Tabula Praedestinationis
  • Treatize of the Plague
  • Treatize of Comforting such as are Troubled about their Predestination
  • Maister Besaes Household Prayers

Review

Wright pulls no punches and is unapologetic in his own personal views. He is a Calvinist and he endorses the commonly used acronymn, TULIP. He writes with great sympathy toward Beza in the hopes of dispelling some of the myths that have come to be accepted throughout the history of the church.

After offering the introductory and summary of the life and theology of Beza in the first couple chapters, Dr. Wright dives in head first into the more controversial works of Beza. His fifth chapter entitled “Letting God be God” is, in my estimation as a reader and reviewer, the purpose of writing the book.

It is in this chapter that Wright tackles Beza’s doctrine of double predestination – the belief that as God predestines some to salvation, He in turn predestines others to hell. Some may have heard of this doctrine called reprobation. They are one in the same.

What sets Wright apart, specifically in this chapter, but in the entire work as a whole, is his pastoral care as he wades into the deep end of theology. For many, these concepts kill evangelism and missions. For Dr. Wright, they give the messenger a greater boldness to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in an increasingly hostile environment (here in the U.S.).

Another aspect of this biography is the “Uses” section at the end of each chapter. These are designed to be discussion questions, but they are not simply a wrestling with the issues. Rather, Wright wants his readers to understand how the various truths Beza, and consequently what Dr. Wright writes about, impact our daily life and view of God.

Recommendation

For many, Theodore Beza is one of those historical theologians that they know little about and care to learn more because of his dangerous assertions. Dr. Shawn Wright has done a favor for the church in not only writing this biography and elucidating truth and dispelling myths, but he has also equipped a new generation of pastors and Christians to wrestle with divine truth. I highly recommend this biography to all Christians who want to take the time to get to know the heart and theology of perhaps one of the more misunderstood theologians in the history of the church.

The Works of John Newton Volume 1

Works of John NewtonNew Edition – The Works of John Newton: Volume 1. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2015. 636 pp. 4-Volume set – $150.00 Purchase the entire set from The Banner of Truth Trust for much less.

Introduction

You can read the review of Volume 2 here. You can read the review of Volume 3 here. You can read the review of volume 4 here.

From the dust jacket:

When John Newton, ex-sea captain and, as yet, unsuccessful candidate for the Church of England ministry, finished his first book (an autobiography) in 1762 there was no ready publisher. Any thought that he was destined to become one of the best known authors of his age would have been as fantastic as the last 37 years of his life. But in both cases the improbable came about. Becoming curate of Olney, a small village in the south of England, in 1764, Newton there laid his reputation as an evangelical writer, pre-eminently by his published letters and by the Olney Hymns (including ‘How Great the Name of Jesus Sounds, ‘Glorious things of Thee are spoken’ and ‘Amazing grace’). Before the end of his subsequent pastorate at St. Mary Woolnoth, London (1780-1807), his writings were prized around the world from America to Australia.

Newton has a firm place in the classics of Christian literature. While his style is strong and clear, it is the spiritual attractiveness and importance of his main themes which secure the permanent value of his writings. Most of his books came, unpremeditated, out of a need to help his congregation or individual hearers, and it is in practical helpfulness towards Christian living that he excels. If he is loved rather than admired, it is for this reason. Conformity to Christ is the one subject upon which his themes finally focus (‘It will not be a burden to me at the hour of death that I have thought too highly of Jesus, expected too much from Him myself, or laboured too much in commending and setting Him forth to others’). Not surprisingly, Alexander Whyte could write, ‘For myself, I keep John Newton on my selectest shelf of spiritual books: by far the best kind of books in the whole world of books.’

The text of this new four-volume edition of The Works of John Newton has been entirely reformatted, producing a clear and easily navigable set of documents for today’s reader.

Summary

This first volume is comprised of some 165 letters written by John Newton. These letters are grouped according to subject matter. The first 14 letters are more biographical in nature while the next 41 all deal with various subjects that are religious in nature.  While the final 110 letters are simply correspondence with a number of different people that offers a look at the thinking of John Newton in various circumstances.

Many of the letters have a short introduction in order to help the reader understand the greater context of the letter.

Review

We have lost the art of writing a letter. That is what I learned from reading through this volume of Newton’s Works. Many biographies abound concerning John Newton which are drawn from many of these letters, I am sure. To read his own writings, however, elevates the biographical information to whole new level.

Through these letters, we see the heart of a pastor to be sure. More importantly, we catch a glimpse of just how amazing the grace was that saved a wretch like John. To read these letters is to be taken to a depth of pastoral concern and care that is sadly missing in today’s age of text messages and blogs. There is depth to theology and an obvious care for the love of those who are pilgrims in this life.

These letters would serve as a phenomenal daily read which would most certainly aid today’s Christian to navigate the stormy sea that never seems to abate.

Recommendation

While I cannot find the individual volumes on sale at this time, nor can I find these works available on Kindle, I can say that this first volume is so rich with pastoral care and biblical theology that every Christian would do well to read it. I highly recommend this particular volume to all and look forward to reviewing the next three.

Equanimity by Samuel D. Bartoli

EquanimityBartoli, Samuel D. Equanimity: The Spirit Within. Houston: Halo Publishing, 2014. 326 pp. $21.95. Purchase at Amazon and on Kndle for much less.

Introduction

Sam is a former Southern California Golden Gloves Boxing Champ. in 1993 he felt the calling to leave the sport and return to writing both non-fiction and and fictional novels in addition to screenplays.

Summary

Divided into twenty-one chapters, Bartoli offers a look into his own spiritual boxing match. After hanging up his gloves due to an illness, Samuel embarked on a spiritual journey unlike anything he had ever experienced.

Each chapter is a conglomeration of biblical sayings and quotes from other thinkers throughout history.

From the back of the book:

This voyage led him through a trial by fire where he was face to face with the Devil himself in a battle for his soul. Samuel was a former amateur boxer who had spent the last five and a half years of his life trying to make it from the local boxing scene to the big time as a professional prizefighter. After developing a form of Pugilistic Dementia which he can only classify as a first stage impairment of the mental senses he began to develop: Slowed motor skills, impaired speech, lack of concentration while communicating along with shaky hands and blurred vision. Eventually knowing that this battle was going nowhere he could hear the final bell. Calling out to God, the Creator (Father Almighty) comforted and protected Samuel leading him away from the enemy and into Christ’s saving light. The book is a form of rebirth for any person looking for not only a new way in which to handle their fears or problems but to grab hold of life and truly enjoy it for its beauty and grace for which God has so richly blessed them with.

Review

While the subject matter is of great interest to pretty much every human being, I would caution the reader of the extreme eclectic nature of the book. To add quotes from atheistic philosophers and thinkers in line with Biblical text and other believers is to create a shade of gray when it comes to thinking biblically about life’s situations.

That being said, to read this work at face value – a biography of a man who wrestled with the devil and offers the details of how he overcame – would be beneficial for many. Samuel shows himself to be an over-comer in the pages of Equanimity. After all, “equanimity” means “mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.” That is exactly what Bartoli shows in this appropriately titled book. Gratefully, he also explains the essential nature and importance of Christ.

Recommendation

While the book would most certainly be enjoyed by many, I can only recommend this resource to the discerning Christian given the eclectic quotations used throughout.

Huckabee: The Authorized Biography by Scott Lamb

HuckabeeLamb, Scott. Huckabee: The Authorized Biography. Nasville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2015. 336 pp. $24.99. Purchase at Amazon and on Kindle for  less.

Introduction

This is Scott Lamb’s second biography. His first was co-authored with Tim Ellsworth and was entitled Pujols: More than the Game and third book overall as he coauthored Whatever the Cost with David and Jason Benham. Scott currently serves as the executive director of the Presbyterian Lay Committee and is the president of Reformation Press in Nashville. He is also a personal friend of mine and operates a website to which I sometimes contribute. It is called A Christian Manifesto.

Mike Huckabee is most noted for being a politician. You can read more about Mike at his website.

Summary

From the publisher’s description:

For the first time, the former governor of Arkansas opens up the vault to friend and biographer W. Scott Lamb to tell his life story. In this thoroughly unique biography of one of the most likeable, influential leaders in America, Lamb covers the entire scope of Mike Huckabee’s life and career. With full, unfettered access to Governor Huckabee’s personal library, files, and family records, fans will finally get the definitive account of one humble man’s rise to political prominence.

Readers are introduced to young Michael Dale Huckabee, son of a local fireman in Hope, Arkansas. Huckabee would soon share the same grade school teacher as Bill Clinton, who is nine years his senior. Huckabee’s collegiate aspirations took him to Ouachita Baptist University, where he graduated in two and a half years and met his future wife, Janet. Huckabee also honed his musical talents, becoming a bass player and forming the band Capitol Offense. Later he would also serve at the side of television personality James Robison during the early years of his television ministry. He hit his ministerial stride in the early 1980s, when he took the helm of Immanuel Baptist Church in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, from 1980 to 1986.

Most people, however, know Mike Huckabee as a politician. In 1994, he became lieutenant governor and faced the now infamous Whitewater scandal that sent then-governor Jim Guy Tucker into court to face felony charges of corruption and fraud. In the interim Huckabee decided to run for governor, but not before Tucker would change his mind at the eleventh hour and cause a statewide constitutional crisis that challenged Huckabee to the core. Huckabee’s courageous handling of the debacle endeared him to the hearts of many citizens, causing him to serve as the forty-fourth governor of Arkansas from 1996 until 2007.

Huckabee also takes a good look at other difficult decisions he faced. In 2000 he granted clemency to prisoner Maurice Clemmons, who, while on parole, moved to Washington State and murdered four policemen in 2009. Huckabee was forced to field question after question about this case during his 2008 presidential bid—a race in which he finished second to John McCain.

Today, Mike Huckabee is known for his television program on the Fox News channel and as a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. His many fans will now have the opportunity to get to know the man behind the famous, reassuring smile.

Review

The first thing I noticed as I read this book is how much better the writing style was compared to his bio on Pujols. It is obvious how much Scott has grown as an author. One aspect of this growth is the creative way in which he titled the chapters. Playing off of Mike’s love of music, every single chapter is a song title.

Yet another way Scott has grown is his interlacing of current and past information seamlessly and effortlessly throughout the bio in order to show how events from Mike’s past shaped who he is today. It will also be of interest to the reader that much of Huckabee’s political thinking was forged in his youth and in his calling to itinerant gospel preaching. Nonetheless, Huckabee continues to think critically through a biblical worldview today as the culture is ever changing.

He also shows how other cultural phenomena (like Woodstock, the Apollo missions, Vietnam, etc.) shaped Mike’s understanding of the culture and what he thought was a proper response. Furthermore, and Mike Huckabee has never been shy about this, we see how his faith and his salvation has been ground zero for everything he does as a politician and as a man. I write in that order because for most people, they will pick up this biography because they know Huckabee as a politician. What they will find is that he is a genuine man and truly what you see is what you get.

This is lost on most today as the basic assumption of all politicians being liars and cheats is held by most in the public. Lamb even traces this back to the Watergate Scandal with Richard Nixon. While Lamb does offer a favorable view of Mike Huckabee, this is not because he wants to paint a different picture than the public persona we all know. Instead, he offers a favorable view of Huckabee because that is simply who the guy is.

He is not perfect, and you will quickly understand that as you read the biography. What you will find is a trustworthy man who has a calling to a public office that many do not. You will also discover a man who tells it like it is even if it is not popular.

Recommendation

If you are interested in biographies, you will thoroughly enjoy this one. If you are a fan of Mike Huckabee, then this is must reading. Regardless, to be able to peer behind the curtain and see what makes a man tick is always interesting. To see that the person you know in public, especially if he is more famous, is the same person in private is quite rare. Mike Huckabee is a rare man. Scott Lamb shows us why.

The Printer and the Preacher by Randy Petersen

The Printer and the PreacherPetersen, Randy. The Printer and the Preacher: Ben Franklin, George Whitefield, and the Surprising Friendship that Invented America. Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015. 320 pp. $26.99. Purchase at Amazon or on Kindle for less.

Introduction

Every American knows Benjamin Franklin. Most every Christian knows George Whitefield. Many know they were friends. Very few know the story of their friendship. Randy Petersen, a former editor and writer for Christian History magazine, offers insight into this friendship upon which America was founded.

Summary

Divided into twenty-four chapters and three appendices, Petersen starts at the beginning of how a man in American and a man in England formed a bond that would span thousands of nautical miles and the years of the infancy of the United States.

He follows three major segments of their lives: before they met, when Whitefield was in America, and then possible times they met and their correspondence together.

Throughout the course of the book, you will get a peak at what life was like in colonial America from the vantage point of secularism and faith.

Review

A little slow moving but very informational. It was an enjoyable read that brought two streams, often not studied in tandem, together in a way that helps to explain perhaps the original intent of the separation of church and state.  It is also beneficial to see how a man of faith and a man of politics interacted with one another unlike many are able to do today.

The book is heavily researched as evidenced by the fifteen pages of end notes and, I thought, well told. It is part biography of Whitefield, part biography of Franklin, and all biography of the Colonial United States.

Recommendation

For those interested in history of America, Franklin, or Whitefield, you will enjoy this book. For those who simply want to peer back in time at two men who genuinely helped forge the American identity, this book is for you. I recommend it to all people regardless of faith.

The Voice of Faith by Peter Beck

The Voice of FaithBeck, Peter. The Voice of Faith: Jonathan Edwards’s Theology of Prayer. Ontario: Joshua Press, 2010. 336 pp. $29.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.

Introduction

Dr. Beck is assistant professor of religion and director of the Honors Program at Charleston Southern University in South Carolina. He has become a notable scholar on Jonathan Edwards.

Summary

Divided into eight chapters, Beck offers an “internal” and “external” look at Jonathan Edwards. He begins with a chapter on the prayer hearing God before offering a chapter on the early life of Edwards. The third chapter looks at the excellent Christ while the fourth chapter gives detail on Edwards’s conversion.

The fifth chapter looks at the importance of understanding the true spirit of prayer before moving into the final third part of the external biography of Edwards – that of his controversy and dismissal from North Hampton.

The final two chapters offer insight into Edwards’s congregation, their happiness, and how all of this assimilates into a deeper understanding of what motivated Jonathan Edwards…communion with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Review

If you are interested in Jonathan Edwards, you will thoroughly enjoy this heretofore little studied aspect of the life of Edwards. I greatly appreciated the interweaving of biography with academic study. It helped to locate the theological growth of Jonathan Edwards in its proper context.

While many will know about the life of Jonathan Edwards through many excellent biographies available, not as many will have studied his prayer life. In fact, according to many of the endorsements, this is the first book that intentionally studies the prayer life of Jonathan Edwards. That alone is worth the price of the book.

Further, this book does not read like an academic paper though it is obviously that. It does elucidate many unknown qualities about what drove Jonathan Edwards and will leave a fresh imprint in the mind of the reader today to strive toward a closer communion with the Lord through prayer.

Recommendation

If you enjoy reading Jonathan Edwards and have benefited from his works, I highly recommend you read The Voice of Faith by Peter Beck. It may be more instrumental in your walk with Christ and will certainly bring to life the wisdom of Jonathan Edwards in a radical way that will cause you to reread what you have of Edwards already.