Father of Faith Missions, by Robert Bernard Dann; published by Authentic Paternoster and available from John Ritchie Ltd; price £14.99.
Subtitled, "The Life and Times of Anthony Norris Groves" (1795-1853), Father of Faith Missions is an extensively researched biography of a man of great faith and great zeal for missionary work. It is also a record of Groves influence on missionary initiatives.
In chapter 1 the author states, "Groves went to Baghdad for a very simple reason: he believed God had sent him. He was not appointed by a mission board
He did not have a team of experienced colleagues to advise in matters of language and culture. He did not have anyone to offer support in time of sickness or political unrest. He did not even have a Bible in the language spoken by the people around him. But he did have the promises of God (which he believed) and a heart taught to love everyone he met (whatever their background), and he had a vision to take these promises and that love personally to millions who knew nothing of it". Throughout the book the author illustrates how these promises were fulfilled and how that love was displayed in the life of Groves, whether in England, Baghdad, or India.
Groves was not without severe trials but his experiences strengthened his faith and moulded his character. He states, "Had I seen years ago, as the Lord has given me now to see, I think I should by His grace, have suffered in many cases much more patiently than I did. I might have pursued courses I did not and avoided some which I chose, and I should not have given advice in all cases as I have done
Groves was modest and unobtrusive; he did not consider himself a gifted evangelist. His greatest practical contribution to the work of God was the advice and encouragement he gave to other evangelists and the influence he made on the personal lives of believers. His methods were those of the New Testament. Groves believed the role of a missionary was to live the gospel before the people till God gave the increase. This is an enjoyable, encouraging and challenging biography - well worth reading.