Review of John Stuart Ross, The Power and the Glory: The Evangelisation Of Manchuria And Korea, Christian Focus Publications Ltd, Fearn, Scotland, 2022.

ISBN 978-1-5271-0891-2 (Hardback); ISBN 978-1-5271-0981-0 (Ebook)

THE Mission to Manchuria and Korea of the 19th and 20th Centuries provides a perfect illustration of Isaiah 55.11: ‘So is my word that goes out from my mouth:  it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’ and Ecclesiastes 11.1: ‘Ship your grain across the sea; after many days you may receive a return.’

     In Korea itself the Word sown back then has produced a flourishing church today, while ‘the grain shipped’ by those who endured intense persecution and even suffered martyrdom back then has given an abundant return to the sending churches today as the Korean Diaspora has brought the descendants of the early converts to the shores of Great Britain, the USA and Australia in particular. I for one harbour a great love and respect for our Korean brethren for their devotion, spirituality and evangelistic zeal, borne of the seed well sown under God by our and their forefathers in the Faith.

     Sadly, though, little is known of ‘the great works of Christ’ in these countries, particularly in Manchuria.

     John Stuart Ross, a minister of the Free Church of Scotland, and himself a missionary for some 50 years, was presented with a challenge on his retirement by William Mackenzie, principal of Christian Focus Publications: to write a biography of his namesake, John Ross (1842 to 1915). John Ross rose to the challenge with a will, and the end product is a handsomely bound volume which recounts most comprehensively John Ross’s life and work, and so demonstrates the value of building on ‘that foundation other than which no man can lay’ (1 Corinthians 3.11).

     ‘The Power and the Glory’ is clearly the result of the author’s careful research into original sources – the missionary’s own writings, newspaper and journal articles, and other material written previously to his own helpful and stimulating labour.

     But this volume is no mere filling of the gaps. It draws an encouraging picture of the way the Lord works through His faithful servants, by empowering them to do His work and so disclosing His glory.

     David Robertson (‘The Wee Flea’, let the reader understand) says of this book: ‘ “The Power and the Glory” has both historical and spiritual depth. It is a fascinating account of life and ministry in Scotland, Manchuria and Korea. Just as the Korean Church is greatly indebted to John Ross the missionary, so we are indebted to John Ross his biographer for a work that should have a lasting impact.’

     ‘The Power and the Glory’ is aptly titled and highly commended.

– Bob Thomas