Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category

Samuel Rutherford by Richard M. Hannula

November 25, 2014 1 comment


Samuel Rutherford was 36 years old when he was exiled to Aberdeen, feeling that he was ‘an outcast and withered tree.’ He had served the little church at Anwoth in Galloway faithfully, but in those August days of 1636 he seems to have felt for a while that his useful service was over.

Little could he have known that his exile would end in less than two years when Scotland rose up to resist the king’s domination of the church. He could hardly have imagined that he would serve a key role in reasserting biblical doctrine, worship and government to the Scottish church. He would also play an important part in the Westminster Assembly, defining Christian doctrine for much of the English-speaking world for centuries to come, and nearly two dozen influential books would flow from his pen, winning the admiration of the Reformed churches of Britain and the Continent. He would even have the most prestigious universities in the Netherlands and Scotland clamor to have him fill their chairs of divinity, and as a professor of theology, he would mold the minds of a generation of Scottish pastors and theologians

Alexander Whyte wrote, “No man of his age in broad Scotland stood higher as a scholar, a theologian, a controversialist, a preacher and a very saint than Samuel Rutherford.”

Nor could Rutherford have envisioned in his wildest dreams that a collection of letters that he sent to friends from his exile in Aberdeen would rank among the most beloved Christian classics, a timeless source of spiritual inspiration to millions of readers. (From the Publisher’s Website)



“In 1857, Anne Cousins wove phrases from his letters into a hymn called ‘The Sands of Time Are Sinking’. The first stanza summerized Rutherford’s lifelong goal to fulfill the admonition that Paul gave to the Colossians: ‘Set your minds on things above.’

The sands of time are sinking,

The dawn of heaven breaks,

The summer morn I’ve sighed for,

The fair sweet morn awakes;

Dark, dark hath been the midnight,

But dayspring is at hand,

And glory, glory dwelleth in Emmanuel’s land.

(From Chapter 9, Pages 137-138)



Before I read this book, I knew very little about Samuel Rutherford. I had read some of his letters. I knew that there was a hymn written using lines from some of his letters. And I knew he was Scottish. So I came to this book with an open and hungry mind.

Mr. Hannula has taught me much about this man of God. He taught me that Samuel Rutherford was a man that took seriously his calling to preach. He taught me that Rutherford loved his congregation above his own comfort or fame. He also taught me how instrumental this man was in shaping Scottish as well as English spirituality. Rutherford was present and active in the Westminster Assembly. I even learned how this humble man endured trials such as: the death of a wife and children, persecution, and the inability to carry out the ministry that he believed he was called to. This is done by weaving Rutherford’s story with the history of his times often using Rutherford’s own words. Hannula even shows us the extent of Rutherford’s influence through the reactions of his enemies. Samuel Rutherford exemplifies the philosophy of never letting your critics dictate your mission. Rutherford though loyal to king and country was ultimately under the rule of the true Sovereign to whom all kings owe their position and will one day bow the knee: King Jesus.

Through the life of Rutherford I have learned to love Christ more passionately, do the work he has called me to more urgently, and to endure the trials God allows in my life with more humility. I have been immeasurably blessed through the reading of this book. I hope to read more in this series. I would like to thank EP Books for publishing this series, Bitesize Biographies, and especially Mr. Hannula for this valuable contribution.


Book Details:


  • Author: Richard M. Hannula
  • Publisher: EP Books
  • Page Count:


  • ISBN#: 9781783970186

  • List Price: $10.99

About the Author:

Richard Hannula lives in Tacoma, Washington, USA, where he serves as the principal of Covenant High School and is an elder in a Presbyterian Church of America congregation. He is the author of Trial and Triumph: Stories from Church History, and of the Bitesize Biography on Hugh Latimer.

Where to Buy:

EP Books



Disclaimer: I received this book from EP Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Categories: Biography, EP Books, Reviews

Jonathan Edwards by Simonetta Carr

October 16, 2014 1 comment


Jonathan Edwards lived at a time when many people were seriously questioning long-accepted ideas about the world, life, and God, and his answers to these questions have left a mark on the way we think today. While he is often remembered as the preacher of a scary sermon about a spider dangling over a fire, he remains significant as one of the greatest thinkers America has produced. Simonetta Carr traces the events of Edwards’s life from a young student interested in science to husband and father, pastor, leader of the Great Awakening, missionary, writer, and college president. Colorful illustrations, interesting facts, and a compelling story combine to introduce young readers to this important theologian and life in colonial America. (From the Publisher’s Website)


Biographies are a great way to learn history. I love history and I like a good biography. Having already read two biographies on Jonathan Edwards, I wondered what I would glean from this book. Granted it is a children’s book so my expectations were not extremely high. I was quite pleased with what I discovered in this brief book.

This was my first exposure to this series of books by Reformation Heritage Books. Simonetta Carr does a great job at presenting the life of an intriguing figure in American history in a truncated but educational way. She brings out all of the important events and people in Mr. Edwards life. This book even helped me re-frame the context of his life with some recent reading I have been doing on Edwards’ work. The book is brilliantly illustrated with pictures and original artwork by Matt Abraxas.

I read this book along with my 10 year old daughter. We were able to talk through and learn together about Jonathan Edwards’ life and times. I will be using this and others in this series to teach my children about the lives of some of history’s most interesting theologians. I look forward to more offerings in this series. If you have children or grandchildren, buy these books and read them with your young-ins. You will be surprised what you will learn. Thank you Simonetta Carr, Matt Abraxas, and Reformation Heritage Books for this excellent book.

Book Details:

  • Author: Simonetta Carr
  • Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books
  • Format: Hardback
  • Page Count: 64
  • ISBN#: 9781601783547
  • List Price: $18.00


About the Author:

Simonetta Carr was born in Italy and has lived and worked in different cultures. A former elementary school teacher, she has home-schooled her eight children for many years. She has written for newspapers and magazines around the world and has translated the works of several Christian authors into Italian. Presently, she lives in San Diego with her husband, Thomas, and family. She is a member and Sunday school teacher at Christ united Reformed Church. (From the Publisher’s Website)

Where to Buy:


Disclaimer: I received this book from Reformation Heritage Books via Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my unbiased opinion.

Jack: a life of C.S.Lewis by George Sayer

C.S.Lewis’ works have become increasingly popular since his death. With the increased interest in his work, there has been increased interest in the man. I had never read a biography on Lewis. With the plethora of choices out there, I decided to start with one by someone who knew him intimately. George Sayer is a former student of Mr.Lewis. He also had the privilege of calling him friend.

Sayer moves through the life of Lewis from birth to death in a way that kept my attention. It was not a mere narrative of his life. Sayer stops along the way to give you snapshots of things that are relevant to the development of Jack’s writings. As someone who has read most of Lewis’ works, this helped me discern what brought Lewis to his often puzzling conclusions.

This was an extremely helpful book in understanding the man behind Narnia. Mr. Sayer writes from a perspective that both clarifies some misconceptions about Lewis and shows him in his raw humanity. I highly recommend this book to any who are fascinated by the writings of C.S.Lewis.

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (June 20, 2005)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581347395
Categories: Biography, Reviews

J.R.R.Tolkien: a biography by Humphrey Carpenter

November 10, 2010 Leave a comment

I have been a fan of Tolkien since early childhood. So naturally, I have consumed much material by and about him. This biography was a pleasant blend of Tolkien’s life events and his literary influences. For any who wonder how or why Tolkien wrote the stories he is now famous for, this is an excellent resource. This is no dry biography but rather a story of how a man, who had quirks and flaws, produced a masterful work that continues to impact readers of all ages. Humphrey Carpenter draws on all the pertinent influences of Tolkien’s life to give you a portrait of one of the twentieth centuries most enigmatic and influential writers. If you only want facts about Tolkien’s life, search him on wikipedia. But if you want to gain an understanding of the man and his myth, read Humphrey Carpenter’s book and gain a deeper appreciation for the creator of middle-earth.

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books (June 2000)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618057023
Categories: Biography, Reviews