Grace, Grit and Gumption

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There are very few books I get to read twice. Me and Mrs L got away for a couple of days this week and I took with me Grace, Grit and Gumption by Geraint Fielder. It tells the story of 3 evangelists in Wales at the turn of the 20th century. John Pugh and the Joshua brothers. I read it over 10 years ago and remembered enjoying it but I'd forgotten how very good it is.

Geraint Fielder tells the tale well , there is fantastic illustrative material here and an inspiring story. It's wonderfully encouraging and a shot of adrenaline in the arm of the weary. I thoroughly recommend it.

There are parts of it that the more reformed police might want to take issue with but my advice to them is suck it up and enjoy the book. These were men who believed the gospel and acted on it. At times there is an activist bent but we can forgive them that as well.

Sadly for Thabiti none of the three men comment on the appearance of their wives, obviously this is a cultural oversight. I can only imagine the hurt and pain these three women felt at the lack of public appreciation of their beauty by their husbands. Apart from this, the book is a tonic for the soul.

Let me give you two of the commendations so you don't think it's just me going over the top again...

Eric Alexander .........''Not many people could tell the fascinating story of these three mighty men of God in Welsh history as Geraint Fielder  has done. His book is a significant contribution to our knowledge of the Forward Movement in Wales in the generation before Dr.Martyn Lloyd Jones heard its appeal for evangelists and left London for Aberavon.

The Joshua brothers and John Pugh were deeply involved with the early evangelistic drive of the Movement, and with the powerful visitation of God in the 1904 revival. Geraint Fielder sets out Seth Joshua's penetrating analysis of the distinctions between evangelism and revival and the peculiar dangers of days of revival. He was particularly concerned about the subjectivism which was evident in so many areas of the church's life at this time. The book is full of relevance for our own times. Welsh readers will not need to be encouraged to read it. Non- Welsh Christians will be the losers if they don't.''

Dick Lucas..........''What a great and true story this book tells! It is a thrill to read the ''Grace, Grit and Gumption'' that so characterised the exploits of three remarkable men in reaching out with the Gospel to the English speaking labouring classes of South Wales over 100 years ago. Times and circumstances change, but lukewarm discipleship, uninspired ministry, and respectable orthodoxy can never achieve such victories for Christ, whether then or no.

For me, living church history of this sort is uniquely able to rekindle the fires within, in order to be ''flat-out'' for Christ and His kingdom, in the time that remains, as they were.

Mr Fielder is a shrewd and honest scribe whose wise judgements give the reader confidence to learn from the few mistakes as well as the many triumphs won.''

My favourite anecdote is that of Seth Joshua........ 'Although Seth never became 'formal' even in his most mature years, even he might have looked back with some reservations on the time when he roused a whole street one Sunday morning by ringing the bell and shouting , 'Fire! Fire! People ran out of their houses  asking, 'Where, where Mr Joshua?' They were met head on with the reply, 'In hell , and there you will all be if you don't attend Sunday morning prayer meeting.' (p50)

In 1995 Geraint Fielder  gave a lecture at the EMW English conference which became the book it can be heard here. Well done Christian Focus for keeping this book in print. I see that Westminster bookstore don't have it in stock and very few Welsh church history books at that, I can only see this as a racial slur imposed by the Vice President of the Seminary.

It's a fire starter book. It's made me realised how detached I often am in preaching the gospel. I'm tempted to get back into the open air.

John Pugh speaking to theology students in 1892  said ''The men who would be leaders in thie holy war must have these three things; first grit or moral stamina. A soft, flabby, goody goody baby of a fellow in a man's clothes will never do much good for God, nor harm to the devil. Second you must have a great grace; you must abound in the grace of faith and in mighty hope and love. Third, you must have gumption.' He feared some were short on common sense and not street wise.'' (p85)

If you don't know what gumption is buy the book!

Posted April 23, 2011 @ 4:24 AM by Paul Levy
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