What book could I give to my 50-year-old neighbour who has been bruised by his encounter with the Roman Catholic church, says he despises the hypocrisy of institutional religion, does not want to read the Bible but is open to talking about faith? Or to the 18-year-old son of a now Christian mum who has grown up going to church very occasionally, knows nothing of the gospel and is about to leave home?
Ben Shaw’s ‘7 reasons to [re]consider Christianity’ brilliantly hits the spot for both. Writing in a winsome and very engaging style, Ben sets out to nudge the reader from apathy or scepticism to a willingness to think about the claims of Jesus Christ. For those for whom ‘The Case for Christ’ seems too heavy, this is the book we will be giving away. We are on our second batch already!
I was in a preaching group with Ben for many years and he always had the best illustrations. As a well-read and much-travelled musician, artist, historian and pastor Ben had a great ability to connect culture with the gospel and that shines through brilliantly in the book. The extended illustration in chapter 3 on the ‘lyrics’ of the Christian life is one I will be using myself. (Thanks mate, again!)
Ben and his wife Karen were dear friends to Penny and me. We walked closely with them through the last 18 months of their time in London and saw God grow their faith, through very painful trials; Ben’s cancer returned at the same time as Karen was leading an NHS trust’s infection control team through the awful first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. At times their situation seemed overwhelming, but through such refining fires, God produced beautiful ‘more precious than gold’ faith. In the epilogue, Ben reveals his diagnosis to the reader with these poignant words: “I can honestly tell you that having this life-threatening illness has actually sharpened and increased my faith.”
Our dear brother Ben went home to be with the Lord on 17 June. Ben is now living by sight, not by faith, and I pray that the Lord will use his faithful servant’s book to prompt many to [re]consider Christ afresh.