Paperback, 92pp. Published by Day One Publications, Ryelands Road, Leominster, HR6 8NZ. Price £5.00. ISBN 978-1-84625-143-6.
Brian Croft is senior pastor in a Baptist church in Louisville, Kentucky, and has had some twelve years’ experience in pastoral ministry. No one will doubt the importance of the subject which he seeks to address in this book. He defines his aim as being ‘to instruct and to motivate pastors, church leaders, and other care-giving Christians through the counsel of the heroes of church history, to recapture the practice of visiting the sick’.
The book consists of five chapters covering Biblical, Theological, Pastoral, and Practical Considerations, together with a Conclusion. There is no doubting the author’s sincerity as he tackles a very wide ranging subject. There is much to commend. In his first chapter, the author sets out to establish a scriptural basis for visiting those who are sick. The next chapter, ‘Theological Considerations’, focuses on evangelistic opportunities afforded to those who undertake this ministry and gives advice on how to go about this task. He encourages the use of scripture and what he describes as ‘praying the gospel’.
Inevitably, there are difficulties in trying to deal with such a broad subject within the compass of a relatively small book. One might have wished that more space had been available to consider the visiting of believers who are ill and to note the encouragement to the visitor from hearing the testimony of saints on their sick-bed. Secondly, the limitations of space mean that the author has had to use scripture quotations as proof-texts rather than to consider them in context, something which tends to give an impression of superficiality. In fairness to the author, he is only too aware of this constraint imposed on him. Overall, though, this is a book which will provoke us to love and to good works.
No reader should miss Appendix 4, a ten-page quotation from the writings of J. C. Ryle.
[Our thanks to Ed Hotchin, Hucknall, Nottingham, UK, for this review]
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