Christian biographies are some of the most enjoyable books to read, in my opinion. I love to hear how God saved a man (or woman), and what good work the Lord did in that person’s life, and through that person. The biography of Lemuel Haynes, by Pastor Luke Walker of Redeeming Cross Community Church is a refreshing read for a number of reasons.
In the age of tl;dr, Walker does an excellent job of condensing the life of this believer into a biography that is neither daunting to begin nor overwhelming to finish. I was able to read the entire book in one sitting! Walker hits the highlights of Haynes’ life in such a way that you finish the volume with a sense that you did get to know Haynes enough to respect him and appreciate him. All the while, your whistle is whetted to learn more about this man of God: Lemuel Haynes.
For the busy Christian who finds casual reading time hard to find, this is perfect. For the man of God who wants to learn a bit about a historical figure before embarking on a thousand-page journey, Walker’s biography does the trick.
Seriously, every Christian’s life story will have its applications to our own lives, but Lemuel Haynes, known as “The Black Puritan” encountered particular circumstances and battles which we are facing today, namely ‘racism’ and how good theology informs our thinking and actions in regard to this evil. With the resurgence of racism in the news and at the forefront of everyone’s mind in our day, a review of what Haynes experienced…and how he dealt with it is appropriate and edifying for the man of God today.
Additionally, his story of redemption and ‘the call’ to preach are of particular note. He was saved and held by Christ in the same way we are today, through the effectual calling of the Holy Spirit and the ministry of the Word (hearing of Christ), Romans 10:17.
But most interesting to me was the gift of unction granted to him by God as evidenced here from pages 17-18:
As a New England Puritan he was, above all things else, a preacher. His calling revealed itself in the following manner. The Rose household was in the habit of gathering to hear a sermon read on Saturday evenings, in preparation for the Lord’s Day worship. Lemuel was the reader, and was in the custom of delivering sermons by Edwards, Whitefield, etc. One night it seemed to Deacon Rose that there was extraordinary energy in Lemuel’s delivery, and he inquired as to the penman. Was it Edwards? No, it wasn’t Edwards. Whitefield then, surely. Not Whitefield either. Rose kept pressing the young man, to which he finally replied, It was Lemuel. He had written a sermon on John 3:3, You Must Be Born Again, which can be read to this day. It has become known as the Saturday evening sermon. Unable to distinguish it from a Whitefield or an Edwards, the family and the community sprung into full support of the young exegete.
I was inspired by the faith and life of Lemuel Haynes toward my own devotion to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I don’t want to spoil many tidbits, but his dedication to sound doctrine and the application thereof, his humility, and his desire to serve the church of Christ are all on display in this short tome.
I was so inspired by the readability and enjoyability of this book, I ordered all four other Wrath and Grace Biographies which are available at the WrathAndGrace.com website. Leave a comment if you want me to review those, too!