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F. B. Meyer
If I had a Hundred Lives...
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Described as the Archbishop of the Free Churches
One of the first 'Megachurch' preachers
On F. B. Meyer's death in 1929 The Daily Telegraph called him 'The Archbishop of the Free Churches'. The New York Observer noted that 'He has an international fame and his services are constantly sought by churches over the wide and increasing empire of Christendom.' To the secular press of his time he was a key player on the world scene - yet this is the first chronological account of Meyer's life. Meyer was the minister one of Britain's first 'megachurches'. He was friends with D. L. Moody and ministered on both sides of the Atlantic, mirroring in America what D. L. Moody was able to undertake in the U.K. He came from a conventional, middle class Victorian background and experienced no dramatic conversion. He was not a distinguished scholar or dramatic orator. His slight figure and retiring manner meant that he did not stand out in a crowd. Yet he drew crowds by the thousands, wrote books, which sold by the millions, and attracted working class people.The range of Meyer's activities is astonishing: preacher, pastor, writer, social activist, free church leader, Baptist president, advocate for missionary work and more. In his last years, he declared, 'If I had a hundred lives, they should be at Christ's disposal.' At times, it seemed as though he was living a hundred lives!
Bob Holman was Professor of Social Policy at Bath University. He lived and worked in two deprived areas for 26 years. He has written academic books and a biography of George Lansbury, Christian socialist leader of the Labour party. He continues to write a weekly column in The Herald. Now retired he is still active as a visiting Professor at Glasgow and Swansea Universities.
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"For too long the figure of F. B. Meyer has been shrouded in obscurity. Yet here is a man who, in his day was committed to preaching the gospel in its fullness and expressing the gospel in all its beauty. One of the outstanding bible teachers of his day, his devotional books continue to bless the church, yet he had a great heart for the poor and marginalised. He was no pious mystic cut off from the realities of poverty or injustice. He was thoroughly biblical in his theology and radical in his actions. Bob Holman has done us a great service in bringing him to the attention of a new generation."
Liam Goligher, Senior Minister, Tenth Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"F.B. Meyer was one of the great influences of the evangelical world in the latter 19th and early 20th century. Bob Holman has done a service in bringing this remarkable character to life again, and his story will encourage, challenge and stretch us in a day when we need to rediscover men and women of this caliber who left the world a better place."
Charles Price, Senior Pastor, The Peoples Church, Toronto, Canada
A contemporary of Alexander Boddy, F.B. Meyer would be better known as a result of his many devotional books. He became a famous Keswick speaker and an enormously popular spiritual leader and master of the pulpit in the years between C.H. Spurgeon and Campbell Morgan.
What this biography lacks in style it makes up for in its interesting detail of Meyer's life, including his personal search for holiness and his passion for helping the poor, which led to sustained sacrificial decisions.
Terry Virgo, Founder of Newfrontiers and well-known Bible Teacher, London
The remarkable ministry exercised by F. B. Meyer over nearly sixty years in the late 19th and early 20th centuries is vividly portrayed in this "first chronological account of his life".
"This is an extremely well written biography of a lesser-known giant though he was internationally famous. Such was his skill as a Bible teacher and devotional writer that he could gather immense crowds and sell thousands of copies of his writings...Meyer is a model for those of us who wish to reunite what God always wanted joined together - the unchanging Gospel of Jesus Christ and the social gospel of community transformation in Christ's name. He is a great guide and inspiration in the building of mega-churches that could transform whole cities."
Greg Haslam, Faithworks Magazine
"Bob Holman has put us in his debt by bringing Meyer to life for our day, for his is a deeply inspiring and absorbing story. Although from a well-to-do family ‘fb' devoted his life to social action, even giving up a pastorate in fashionable and prosperous part of London to minister to the great masses of the people elsewhere in the capital. Combining both a concern for both souls and the material well-being of people, Meyer stood out from many of his contemporaries in his vision, commitment and industry. He also recognized the political dimension of the gospel, and was in many ways close to the Christian socialists of his day."
Andrew Bradstock, The Common Good (The Magazine of The Christian Socialist Movement), Summer 2007
"FB Meyer was a national figure strongly associated with Waterloo when he died in 1929. Bob Holman's biography, in the History makers series brings to light much Waterloo history for Meyer was twice minister of Christ Church opposite North Lambeth Station."
Leigh Hatt, 'in SE 1', London
"This biography of a most attractive Baptist leader who died in 1929 tells a convincing story of a pastor who combined evangelical zeal, Keswick holiness, social concern and advent preaching. There was no part of Baptist and Non-conformist life that he did not influence, and he had notable pastorates at Melbourne Hal, Leicester Regrent Park Chapel, London and Christ Church, Lambeth. He organised many mission and social institutions, and gave his last years to the RMBU. Bob Holman, a member of our Easterhouse Church has produced a lively, honest and inspiring little book about a great man. This too is highly recommended."
Connect, Baptist Union of Scotland Newsletter
"Holman's book is full of action...it is a great story of what God is able to do through a life submitted to him. If you read it you may never be the same again!"
Rev Dr Graham Pickhaver
"A vivid picture: preacher and evangelist, happier with the poor than the rich; remarkable social entrepreneur; and political progressive.....Meyer has a lot to teach our churches today."
RT Hon Stephen Timms MP
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