A flame for God
A Flame for God
By Vance Christie
Christian Focus. 320 pages. £7.99
He was born in 1718, expelled from Yale in 1741, a life-long depressive, continually sick, and died from TB (at the home of the great Jonathan Edwards) in 1747.
Yet David Brainerd became one of the most influential missionaries since apostolic times, with William Carey, Henry Martyn, Jim Elliot and countless others helped and encouraged by him.
This very readable biography by Vance Christie does Brainerd justice. I particularly appreciated his treatment of Brainerd’s depression: Christie certainly does not see it as a sin but nor on the other hand does he see it as a virtue. The frequent melancholy of Brainerd’s journals is not a target to be aimed for. The poor man was sick, and his devotion to Christ and his self-sacrificial labours among indigenous Americans stand as a testimony to what God can do through weak and damaged people. And the story is not by any means all bleak; Brainerd certainly knew times of real closeness to God, and saw touches of revival in his ministry.
With that in mind, I warmly commend this biography to everyone; pastors producing a ‘reading list’ for their young people would do very well to include this as one of the key biographies.