Monday, May 14, 2007

10 Great Scottish Chrstian Autobiographies. IV.

9. G. N. M. Collins, 'The Days of the Years of my Pilgrimage (Knox Press, paperback)
£ 4.95 fromFree Presbyterian Bookroom
Rev. G. N. M. Collins was one of the great men of the Free Church of Scotland of the twentieth century. We first came to know him through his excellent popular-level works on Scottish Church history, especially his biographies of Professor John Macleod and Professor Donald Maclean, and were thrilled to discover the existence of this slim volume. Born in 1901, he died in 1989. He had therefore a view of the twentieth century few others had. This book is full of little portraits of men who were leaders in a British evangelicalism that changed completely during Collins' life. Our quotation is his sketch of F.B. Meyer:
"Dr. F.B. Meyer of Christ Church was another of the London preachers I used to hear in my student days. His quiet dignity and sustained serenity never failed to impress, although he himsels was quite unaware of these qualities. His books read well, even in this fastidious age, and they continue to command a wide circulation throughout the English-speaking world." (Pp. 49-50)

10. William Still (1911-1997): 'Dying to live' (Christian Focus, paperback)
£6.99 from Christian Focus Publications
William Still did for Scottish Evangelicalism what Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones did for English. We would not approve of all his methods (but you knew that, since he was a presbyterian and the present writer is a Baptist), but we have found his writings most helpful at times. A great advocate of systematic expository preaching in the tradition of John Knox, William Still ministered in the same congregation for more than 45 years - quite an achievement seeing as the church in question was slated for closure when he was called to the pastorate!
Much of Still's ministry reads like that of Lloyd-Jones, making allowances for the Scottish background. Like Lloyd-Jones, William Still discontinued the social events and concenrated on the 'one thing needful'. This book is a challenge to all who read it, and a tonic as well.
Our quotation comes from Still's recollection of the beginning of his ministry in Aberdeen:
"The one thing I recall saying at that Induction Social was that, viewing this beautiful church building and its high arch over the pulpit, it would be my desire to inscribe high up on its walls the two words, CHRIST CRUCIFIED. I now think that sounded too dramatic, and I believe that some of those present may have thought it too agressively pietistic. We never did inscribe the walls, but better than that, we have proclaimed Christ Crucified not only in justificationary terms but in sanctificatory terms, as the victor over all the powers of evil." (P. 79)

And so we complete our series on ten great Scottish Christian autobiographies. We hope that this has been suggestive to readers, as that was its aim. No doubt we have missed personal favourites of some, and referred to characters others are less keen on. But we did not aim to please all, as that would have been quite fruitless.



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