Before I picked up this book I had never heard of James Philip or the church Holyrood Abey… However, by the end of the book I felt like I should have. The book is a collection of contributions from individuals who have been impacted by the ministry of James Philip during his years as pastor at Holyrood Abey in Edinburgh Scotland. Phillips passion and dedication to the expository preaching the entire scripture, prayer, and care for people in and out of his congregation has had an impact far beyond what human eyes can see.
The book is divided into 4 sections. 1) the making of the man 2) the holyrood years 3) the wider mission 4) perspectives: biblical, theological, church-historical. The first three section deal a lot with Philips and his impact on people’s lives. That last section deals more in depth with the principles that Philips applied in his life and ministry. As a minister, this book was an encouragement and challenge. As with the last book review (the supremacy of God in preaching) I was challenged to keep the scriptures and Christ at the center of my preaching. To deviate is to do injustice to the position and call of a preacher. Along with this conviction, it was great to hear the response of people to the preaching of scripture. Story after story was about how sitting under the expository preaching and teaching of the bible changed people’s lives forever. I found myself saying, “I’ve never heard of this guy, but I want to be just like him.”
While the book is great, it is easy to get lost as the writers often go from story telling to teaching/point making mode. The last section really throws you if you aren’t prepared to shift gears to strictly theological reading. That said, like any book, you just have to roll with it. While this book isn’t going to be one that everyone rushes to the store to pick up (since most stores don’t carry it) I’d still recommend it to those who have some free reading time to fill… Actually, it’d be a good beach book… Something to inspire, entertain and educate you all in one happy binding.