Karl Barth: Jesus Loves Me

Ron Geschwendt

READ : 1 John 5:1-12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (v. 12 NIV) Karl Barth (1886-1968) rescued the church from a shallow, liberal gospel of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. Christianity, he said, was more than one in a line of the world’s religions, for its reality is witnessed to by the prophets and the apostles. In 1912 he was ordained …

Dietrich Bonhoeffer: No Cheap Grace

Ron Geschwendt

READ : James 2:14-16 What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? (v. 14 NIV) Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) may be the best known theologian of the 20th century. His stand against a tyrannical government and ultimate martyrdom at the hands of the Nazis showed courage worthy of the best of Christ’s followers. While this bright student made no splash in academic circles, he captured the minds …

Samuel Zwemer: Apostle to Islam

Ron Geschwendt

READ : John 1:1-14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (v. 14 NIV) Robert Wilder, founder of the Student Volunteer Movement, spoke one day at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Samuel Zwemer (1867-1952), a young student from a Reformed Church family, was never the same afterward. On that day Wilder challenged the students to world missions. Later, as seminary students, Zwemer and his friend James Cantine dreamed of making Christ known in the difficult Arab world. …

William Carey: Father of Modern Missions

Ron Geschwendt

READ : 2 Corinthians 5:11-21 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. (v. 20 NIV) The 18th-century revival in England rippled throughout the world. Transformed Christians were available for God’s work. Their goal was to win others to faith in Christ, and at the same time they sought to abolish social conditions that destroyed lives. Robert Raikes began Sunday schools for poor working children in Glouster, England. John Howard, a friend of John …

John Newton: Amazing Grace, How Sweet the Sound

Ron Geschwendt

READ : John 3:16-21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God. (v. 21 NIV) Singing identifies a Christian, for Christ sets the sinner free to sing with joy and gratitude. John Newton (1725-1807) taught the world its favorite hymn. But there was a time when Newton had no song himself. He had a troubled childhood and eventually ended up in …

John Wesley: The World His Parish

Ron Geschwendt

READ : Ephesians 2:1-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith. (v. 8 NIV) The son of a pastor in the Church of England, John Wesley (1703-1791) was one of 19 children born to Suzanna and Samuel. John inherited his father’s work ethic and his mother’s character and discipline. At Oxford he was part of what was dubbed a “holy club” because of the discipline of its participants. He fasted, prayed, and read the Greek New …