If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat

John Ortberg

Precious Seed

Paperback, 230pp, Published by Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA Price £8.95. ISBN 0 310 23927 3

This book was the winner of the 2002 Christianity Today Book Award and has been, in Christian circles generally, a best-seller. The author’s argument is that, ‘Deep within you lies the same faith and longing that sent Peter walking across the wind-swept Sea of Galilee toward Jesus’.

In reading this book it is easy to understand why the writer, an American Baptist, is so popular. He writes simply. He uses many illustrations and anecdotes from life to apply biblical truth to the hearts of his readers. However, in his handling of certain points there are times when this easy, jovial style leads to comments which are Christ dishonouring. I doubt if many would accept that the Lord ‘superglued’ Malchus’ ear back to his head! Equally, there are examples that the writer uses from his own life, such as his appearance on a game show, that he does not qualify, leaving the reader to draw conclusions that may not be justified.

The general matter of this book is one that should challenge every believer. It is essential that believers exercise the gift that God has given them, become active in service for the Master, and seek to build something into the assembly to which they belong. There are aspects of this book that may enable some to be challenged in this way but it is not a book that the present reviewer could recommend unreservedly.