Foolish to be Wise (by Roy Peacock)

I didn't expect a whole lot of this book. I find Christian autobiographies a bit variable, and this is a paperback from the mid-1980s, which I picked up second-hand. 'How a brilliant scientist came face to face with the miraculous' is the rather dated byline on the front. Professor Roy Peacock is an aeronautical engineer in the UK, who has apparently been at the forefront of research in his field, and has lectured in many countries.

So, yes - he is (and was) a brilliant scientist. And this book does indeed relate what happened when his world was rocked on its foundations by encounters with Jesus.

Roy Peacock's childhood was somewhat bound up in the church, in a ritual kind of way, for he sang as a chorister. Religion is what happened on a Sunday, and although he had a general belief in God, that's as far as it went. As he grew up, and started to focus more on science, the church got rather pushed aside.

He started work, and got married to Elizabeth... and then found himself caught up in a mission. Very skeptical at first, he could not deny the changes that took place in his wife when she became a believer, and shortly afterwards decided to become a Christian himself.

From that moment, his life was never the same. He knew nothing of the Bible, despite having read it many times, and the person mentoring him was no expert either. But together, in small groups, they observed God working, and studied Scripture. One by one his preconceived ideas about life and the universe were toppled as God revealed himself more and more.

What I found interesting about this book, and Roy Peacock's journey of faith, is that he remained very much a scientist throughout. When something new surprised him - for example, a clear sign of physical healing without any medical intervention - he saw it as new data, examined the circumstances, looked in the Bible and other sources to see patterns and trends, and generally subjected it to rigorous scientific investigation. Each time, he found more and more evidence of God's reality and the way he works in the world today.

'Foolish to be wise' is clearly written, combining an autobiographical account of the author's life and Christian journey with explanations of various doctrines, some of them quite controversial in today's church, which seem very matter-of-fact from this scientist's perspective.

I was planning to read a chapter a day,but often found myself reading a great deal more. The book was thought-provoking, and very interesting, as well as a wonderful account of God really working in people's lives, and using an unlikely person to do great things.

Definitely recommended. Sadly it's long out of print, but seems to be available second-hand in both the UK and USA.

Review copyright © suesbookreviews.blogspot.com, 2nd May 2008


Nicola said...

Hi Sue,
An elderly friend from our House Group loaned us this book last Thursday. Like you, I thought I'd read a chapter a day, but like you found myself reading more, and also, reading portions aloud to the family.
Yes, a good read, and frankly I'm jealous that these folk are hearing so clearly from the Lord. So. That is good - it provokes me to do something about it - and not be satisfied until I am hearing from the Lord more often and more clearly. We are 'ex Pentacostal' Christians, believing in miracles, speaking in tongues etc. but obviously have needed a push - and I think this book was it!! Blessings from New Zealand

veronica said...


Neil Harvey said...

Roy Peacock is still "Going strong"; he speaks at Harnhill fairly frequently.
Neil Harvey

Sue Garland said...

Hi Sue, I was so glad to find your review on Roy Peacock's book, Foolish to be Wise" and to find that there are still some second hand copies to be found. I had a well read copy, which I lent out once too many times, and I have ordered one from Amazon. I have a blogspot, christiannovelreview.blogspot.com, and I am definitely going to recommend this book (although it is a true story and not a novel). I read a lot of Christian books, and this one, together with Derek Prince's "Appointment in Jerusalem" and Bilquis Shaik's "I Dared to Call Him Father" has been a tremendous inspiration to me. Keep up the good work in your reviews. Sue Garland.

Sue Garland said...

Hi Sue, I was so pleased to find your review of "Foolish to be Wise". It is one of my most favourite books, and in my opinion rates with Derek Prince's "Appointment in Jerusalem" and Bilquis Shaik's "I Dared to Call Him Father" as one of the best Christian biographies I have ever read. I was so glad to find that there are still some second hand copies available at Amazon, and have ordered one for myself, as I lent out my copy once too often! I read a lot and have started a blog, christiannovelreview.blogspot.com, and I will definitely recommend that my followers try and obtain a copy for themselves while they are still available. What a pity the book is out of print. Keep up the good work in your book reviews. Sue Garland.

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue . I Met Prof. Roy when he came to March,Cambs.in 1986. He spoke in a meeting at our local church (St.Wendreda's) Very Good! and also signed copies of his book Foolish to be Wise at our local Christian Book Shop.I have a signed copy.. Blessings to you, Michael Ford..