Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2014
Having read ‘The Letters of Samuel Rutherford’ several times, I can’t help but enthusiastically recommend Richard Hannula’s Bitesize Biography verison of Samuel Rutherford. Rutherford is quickly becoming one of my earthly pastoral ‘heroes’. Letters should be required reading for every seminary student entering pastoral ministry. Forget church growth technique. Throw out ‘seeker-sensitive’ models. Abandon all things business-esque that one thinks will grow and run a church. Instead, be introduced to the grand Mr. Rutherford and pastor like he did.
‘Hang upon the Word but with all to look beyond the Word and with the use of the Word, call for the inward grace of the Spirit.’ (Rutherford, page 32) Rutherford would implore his congregation at Anwoth to be soaked with the Word, but always with the aim to see Christ, the Living Word Himself. He loved Christ above all things and would commend this same love to his flock: ‘I had but one joy out of heaven next to Christ my Lord, and that was to preach Him.’ (Rutherford, page 35) How it grieved him when, during his early years at Anwoth, he saw little fruit: ‘I see exceedingly small fruit of my ministry. I would be glad of one soul to be my crown of joy on the day of Christ.’ (Rutherford, page 39) [My copy is littered with Post-It Notes® marking quote after quote.] Christ was everything to Rutherford, never more so than just prior to his home-going: ‘But Christ is to me wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.’ (Rutherford, page 131) His last words, just prior to death were: ‘O for a well-tuned harp.’ and ‘Glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.’ (Rutherford, pages 131, 132)
Rutherford was known by his colleagues in Scotland as a great pastor, preacher and theologian. He lived in that topsy-turvy time of the 17th century, when England’s throne ruled over Scotland but Scotland’s church would have none of England’s bishops’ rule over them. They were exciting days, challenging days, dangerous days and foundational days. Rutherford was in the thick of it almost from the beginning, albeit somewhat reluctantly.
Discover how God used Rutherford, amidst physical weakness and great trials (he lost several children and one wife during his life time). Find out what made this man’s heart beat with such passion for Christ. And then go deeper, as Hannula provides further reading resources for your exploration in the future. Again, I would commend ‘The Letters of Samuel Rutherford’ to you as well. You’ll never be the same again.
Get your hands on this bitesize biography right away.