“A Book of Protestant Saints”, by Ernest Gordon. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids. Mich.
We stated in our introductory remarks that we would from time to time review and recommend works of biography. As you may know many books of this nature are rather dry and uninteresting, probably because they give a detailed exposition of only one person. “A Book of Protestant Saints”, however, deals with 25 different personages who have occupied a more or less prominent ‘position in the history of the Christian Church. For this reason, the 25 biographical sketches contained in the book’s 190 pages are necessarily comparatively short. We found that this fact added to the interest of the book more than if long, detailed accounts of the individual lives were recorded.
The author’s success at having focused all attention on the devoutness and sacrifices of these Christian heroes is very commendable. It also becomes apparent throughout the book that the author colors the various life sketches with his emphasis on the fundamental truths as opposed to modernism. We would caution our youth to be alert, however, to discern in these sketches traces of Arminianism which (perhaps unknown to the author and therefore written in ignorance) must eventually lead to modernism. Another unfavorable element which we must point out is the emphasis laid upon the fact that these lives were consumed more with a love for their fellow-men than a love for the “house of God”. It is true, of course, that we must love our neighbors as our
selves. but the love for our neighbor must proceed from and find its basis in our love for God. We can never truly love our neighbor if the love of God is not the ruling principle of our lives.
Finally, I would remark that the author has not chosen a very appropriate title for his book. It indicates that he wishes to place over-against the Saints which the Catholic Church honors, and even worships, other so-called Protestant Saints. Our objection is not that we doubt that the persons whose lives are sketched were indeed saints but that these saints are not distinct as such from other people of God. According to Scripture every child of God is a saint, cf. Eph. 1:1 and I John 2:20. The author evidently proceeds from the supposition that there are saints as well as other children of God, which we would deny. Surely there is a difference of degree in the walk of the one child of God or another, but there is no such distinction in sainthood. To be a saint is the blessed privilege of everyone who is sanctified in the blood of the Redeemer. The author has, however, very beautifully pictured the saintliness and devotion of the men and women whose lives he sketches. We would recommend this book to our young people as being both interesting and educational.