Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth, 2018
David Calhoun had a wonderful idea in putting this book together, and the result is most encouraging and refreshing. In Acts 9 we read of the conversion of the apostle Paul, but in Acts 20-26 he twice gives us his testimony, telling of his conversion and other aspects of his Christian life. Garry Wills has argued that Augustine’s Confessions should really be Augustine’s Testimony. Calhoun has sought to do something similar for Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Bunyan. Luther’s Table-talk and Bunyan’s Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners provide plenty of material, but Knox is a little less forthcoming, and Calvin even more restrained. Yet there are references abounding to confound the most doubtful skeptic on this matter.
Each ministry is illumined with accounts from the personal lives of these four preachers. There are gems scattered all through the book. Luther rejoiced that ‘God has taken my salvation out of my hands into his.’ Calvin was prone to shyness and even something of a bad temper, and needed to remind himself: ‘When I remember that I am not my own, I offer up my heart, presented as a sacrifice to the Lord.’ Knox too was rather shy, even diffident, yet put his lips to the gospel trumpet in Scotland: ‘I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the truth, and therefore the truth I speak.’ Bunyan spent twelve years in prison because he refused not to preach the gospel, and so he wrote: ‘I must do it, I must do it.’
This book is a delight to read, and is warmly commended.