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Would You Do What They Did?


Would You Do What They Did? by William Dean Hamilton

Would You Do What They Did? By William Dean Hamilton
Chronicling the life of John Wesley, Martin Luther, St. Francis of Assisi and martyr Thomas Becket, this new book entitled Would You Do What They Did? By William Dean Hamilton weaves together biography, story, and encouragement for today’s believer.  You get a sense of the interior life of the people listed above in these pages alongside the people that knew them best. Taken from letters, writings, and other written work, Hamilton puts together very artful stories that speak about the truth of faith throughout life.

In the chapter on John Wesley, Susannah, John’s mother says something extraordinary after John tells his mother that him and his brother are going to be missionaries in Georgia.  She says, “I didn’t teach you about the Bible, theology, and the classics from the time you were five so you could sit around and watch my wrinkles grow larger.  I did it so you could go and fight the Devil.” (225)  We get that a sense of Susannah’s vibrant faith and love for her sons in this quote that is remarkable.  Hamilton also has a way of seeing the drama of history that always makes for a good story as well.  In his look into the life of Martin Luther’s life, there is an exchange between Vicar Staupitz and Martin that is worth repeating.  After being recommended for a teaching position in theology, Staupitz says, “Oh, dear Martin, do you not think I know what I am doing?  Sometimes there are lessons that we learn the best while teaching others.  I think this is one of those times.” (262)  The genius of this statement lies in its application for Martin’s life.  As he lectured on Romans and Galatians, he began to see the scaffolding of his former beliefs come toppling down and his new belief emerge as he engaged his students with the biblical text.

I enjoyed reading this book because it gave you an in-depth look in to the lives of these famous Christians.  Yet, I think what was apparent in reading these pages is that these men were not much different than you and I, they had to deal with turmoil, fear, and failure like us all.  I hope this book will be an encouragement to others.

Thanks to BookCrash for the copy of this book in exchange for review.


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