Finished this month:
In Light of Eternity (Biography of Leonard Ravenhill) by Mack Tomlinson
I actually entirely finished this 500+ page biography of English evangelist/preacher/writer Leonard Ravenhill. Mack Tomlinson knew Leonard personally and in addition spent a lot of time researching and talking to others who knew him longer than he did. From what I’ve heard this is really the only biography of Leonard Ravenhill that there is. It covers not just Ravenhill’s life beginning in England and his move to America, but a lot about his preaching and evangelism, his prayer life, his character strengths and weaknesses, ministries he was involved with. As a young man he traveled around England and Wales preaching the Gospel, living by faith from meal to meal and learning to depend on God for everything. He was a pastor at times and worked with various ministries including with David Wilkerson in New York City for awhile and also with Keith Green and the ministry he started. He was very good friends with A.W. Tozer and influenced many other people who are still in ministry today.
There’s chapters on his evangelism “method” and experiences, his preaching, books he read (and he read a lot, especially of many great Christians of the past). There’s a chapter discussing his theology, his view on prayer and his passion for revival. There’s also a chapter with excerpts from just a few of the thousands of letters he wrote (sometimes 60-80 a week later in his life!). The amount of people he influenced through his preaching, letters and prayer meetings he led is probably beyond counting. What an inspirational man and I believe, a true modern-day prophet who spoke the word of God boldly and with an authority and passion that is rare today. I remember hearing him preach in a video and realizing that He had a special gift and anointing of the Spirit to preach. This comes mostly from his extensive prayer life (he would normally pray 6 hours a day) and from his thorough reading and study of the Bible along with many other books by the great Christians of the past. Mack Tomlinson writes, “Len’s priority was prayer before preaching. His prayer life was the power behind his powerful preaching.” (p. 309) A woman once came up to him and told him his preaching reminded her of her grandfather. When he asked who he was she replied, “Charles Spurgeon”. So if you wish you could have heard Spurgeon preach, look up Ravenhill and you’ll come pretty close!
Just a few quotes from Leonard Ravenhill:
“The worst thing that God gives us is better than the best thing Satan offers.”
“Just because there is some religious stirring in a place doesn’t necessarily mean anything. There’s also a stirring when the circus comes to town.”
“You don’t develop character by reading books; it comes only through experiencing trials and tribulations.”
“The world is not waiting for a new definition of the gospel but for a new demonstration of the power of the gospel.”
“No amount of prayer will deliver us from temptation, but it will deliver us in temptation.”
“What kind of church would my church be if all its members were just like me?”
“Measure your life by loss, not by gain, not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth, for he who suffers most has the most to give.”
“The first thing the early church did was pray. It’s the last thing the modern church does today.”
Counseling the Hard Cases by Stuart Scott, Heath Lambert & others
Additional books I want to read this month:
The Gospel’s Power & Message by Paul Washer. I may start on another but we'll see.