30/06/2015

A People of Power (by Trevor Dearing)

We have quite a collection of Christian books. Although we’ve specifically chosen some, usually based on the author, there are a lot which we’ve acquired from a variety of sources. I knew nothing about Trevor Dearing, but picked this little volume up on special offer (89p, according to the label on the front) some years ago. Or perhaps someone else bought it and passed it on to us.

In any case, I think I read ‘A People of Power’ many years ago, but found it lurking on the shelves recently and decided to read it. It was published in 1983 so it’s over thirty years old, although it doesn’t feel particularly dated. The topic is spiritual renewal, which was quite a controversial subject in Christian circles in the 1980s; by today’s standards it’s quite a tame book.

The author is from an Anglican background and evidently worked in both the US and UK; by the time he wrote this book (according to the blurb on the back) he and his wife had become itinerant evangelists with a healing ministry. Books such as this would be popular in churches and other groups where they ministered.

At under 100 pages it’s not a long read, but it’s quite heavy in places, with a lot of Bible references and information, and very little in the way of stories or anecdotes. It begins with introducing Christians as a ‘peculiar’ people, in the sense of being different from others, and then spends another twelve chapters explaining what the difference is - or should be - and how we’re to stand out from those around us.

Chapters include growth, love, healing, giving and more, and it all seems straightforward and sound, not saying anything particularly new although perhaps it was more revolutionary when first published. That’s not to say that all - or even most - churches have got it ‘right’ in these areas, but there has been plenty of teaching on these subjects.

I found that, despite the brevity of the book, I couldn’t read more than a chapter or two at a time as my mind started to wander. It wasn’t badly written (other than far too many uses of clauses such as ‘in fact’ which started to jar a little; the editor should have removed most of them) but it somehow didn’t grab my interest particularly, no matter how hard I tried to concentrate.

Worth reading, perhaps, for an overview of what church congregations should be like in some important respects, but not one I’ll be reading again in a hurry.

This book is long out of print - Amazon does not currently even have an image for its cover - but it can occasionally be found second hand or in church libraries.

Review by copyright 2015 Sue's Book Reviews

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