One of the greatest needs for Christians today is to understand how their faith is rooted in the history of God’s dealing with man. In his latest book Silent Witnesses: Lessons on Theology, Life, and the Church from Christians of the Past Garry Williams tells the story of a selection of figures from Christian history, figures whose lips have now fallen silent but who still speak to God’s people through their testimony and writing. These figures will help us understand the essentials of the Christian faith, the Christian life and give advice to pastors and elders on ministry in the local church.

The book covers men from the fourth century through the twentieth, men like Augustine of Hippo, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Calvin, John Owen and Jonathan Edwards. Each chapter includes some breakdown of the life of the figure being covered then goes into how their particular thought on the topic was helpful.

Books like Silent Witnesses are helpful for a number of reasons. First many Christians may not be familiar with the figures covered in this book. The men and the one woman covered in this book provides models in the author’s view of how Christians should think through the Christian life and ministry. Second, as noted earlier, Christians need to understand how their faith is not something new but something old and rooted in the history of His redeemed people. This book will help Christians to understand how what they think today about a variety of topics was influenced by men and women of previous generations. This means that we should learn from what others have said because we aren’t the first generation to study the Bible. Finally, this book is important because it provides guidance to pastors and elders from men like Luther and Calvin.

Whether you are a new to the study of church history or a seasoned veteran, Silent Witnesses Lessons on theology, life, and the church from Christians of the past has something for you. This is a book to read slowly and digest. It contains a lifetime of lessons from men whom God has used in the life of His people and continues to use through their writing to powerfully to equip and edify the people of God. I highly recommend this book and pray the Lord will use it powerfully to strengthen and encourage the saints in their various ministries.

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