Stronger than the sword
Civil war sentimentality?
STRONGER THAN THE SWORD
By Faith Cook
Evangelical Press. 190 pages. £8.99
This short historical novel will interest all who want to feel what it might have been like to live in the past. It gives a flavour of living through the English Civil War and then, particularly, the Restoration period of Charles ll. It is a homely tale of parental love, of troubled teens growing into young adults and of redemption and God’s grace. So its appeal is truly broad.
The strength of the book is to clearly set out how a person’s doctrinal beliefs and knowledge of God can lead to painful decisions with harsh consequences if the government is opposed to such beliefs. And to experience this we do not go far in terms of geography or language but far in terms of time: back around 300 years. The people we read about are not only brothers and sisters in the faith, but, for most EN readers, great … great grandparents.
Here we are encouraged to persevere from the examples of saints who have gone before us. The plot gives us a feel for a period that shaped our present evangelical culture in the UK. It concerns what might be a ‘golden’ period for some readers, at least the period before the Restoration when Oliver Cromwell, a Bible-believing independent, ran the country as Protector.
It is a book for believers. There is no attempt to explain the faith that the heroes of the tale share, so a good level of understanding is required to follow the story as told. And the characters are too narrowly presented as minds struggling with doctrinal issues and matters of life and faith to capture the imagination of someone uninterested in and unable to empathise with such struggles.
It is sufficiently sympathetically presented to be a worthwhile read for anyone convinced of the biblical case for independent evangelical churches and the doctrines of grace who would like to gain a ‘lived experience’ of believing some 300 years ago.
lecturer; deacon in Hope Church (A Passion for Life), Hampshire