By: TwitterButtons.com
By TwitterButtons.com

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

St. Patrick the Book

Recently I won a book. I rarely win anything, so this was particularly exciting.

Thomas Nelson via Twitter had a drawing for a new book on St. Patrick. I entered and won. To turn a favor for something free, I want to offer up a very positive review.  


First of all, this is a very readable book.  Author Jonathan Rogers creates a compelling historical survey of the times in which St. Patrick was born.  Patrick was born in Roman Britain around 385 AD.  He lived on the edge of two eras.  Roman culture and rule in Britain was beginning to deteriorate, and the "barbarian" populations that would come to dominate were beginning to filter into the country.  He was born to this population of Roman nobility, then suddenly as a young man he was kidnapped by Irish raiders to be sold as a slave in Ireland.  



Eventually, he would escape his captors only to return when he was prodded by the voice of God to bring the faith of Christ to his former slave-masters.  His efforts earned him the title of Apostle to Ireland.  For at the end of his life, Christianity had penetrated much of this island nation.   


Apart from the historical narrative, Rogers includes Patrick's Confession and His Letter as part of the appendix.  This is a nice addition to have primary sources along with the biography.  


Outside of historical curiosity, the life of Patrick is inspirational.  Here are several things that Rogers highlights about Patrick life that inspired me. 



  • Even though Patrick was thoroughly Roman in culture, he brought the Gospel to the Irish and respected their Irishness.  He did not make Roman culture a prerequisite to their acceptance of the Gospel.  This caused some resistance from Church authorities who were fearful of barbarian influence and syncretism within the Church.
  • His enslavement forced upon him solitude.  It was within this solitude that a rich inner life with God developed, and it was that inner life that sustained him throughout greater hardships he would endure.  
  • In spite of charges of syncretism and watering the gospel message for Irish ears, Patrick continual demonstrates in all his writings his doctrinal orthodoxy.  
  • He saw himself as unfit in education and eloquence to bring the Gospel to Ireland, but he did so "by default" because no one else was willing.  He was convinced that his success was only due to Christ working in him.  
  • He was a fierce defender of the defenseless.  It may have been this that inflamed the love of the Irish for him.  
Near the end of the book, Rogers offers this sentence that sums up Patrick's life and reason for his success:  "They saw in Patrick's person-in his very presence among them-that forgiveness was possible, that hardship need not result in bitterness-and that the meek just might inherit the earth after all."

This will be a welcome addition to your library, and you can purchase it here.  The author also maintains a blog at http://jonathan-rogers.com.


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