Michael Phillips has long been a student of the writings of the 19th century Scottish preacher and novelist George MacDonald. His goal is to bring MacDonald’s thoughts to contemporary American readers in Your Life in Christ, a collection of MacDonald’s sermons that have been edited by Phillips with commentary provided. The content of the sermons is rich, in that the portions of sermons selected by Phillips adequately convey the essence of MacDonald’s theology.
These particular sermons present MacDonald’s perspective on such topics as creation, the incarnation, redemption, eternity, and self-denial. They relate deep themes, such as the loving fatherhood of God, for which MacDonald states, “Love is at the root of all his being.” He also examines the revelation of God in Christ, for we come to know God through Jesus. Furthermore, the supreme example of Christ’s obedience to the Father is His expression of love for the Father, and also the result of being completely who He is. Our own obedience to God brings the highest joy and deepest fulfillment, a dominant message throughout MacDonald’s writings.
Your Life in Christ as a stand-alone volume is inspirational, and it must be noted that the work of editing George MacDonald’s sermons was previously done in 1976 by Rolland Hein in a volume called Creation in Christ. Phillips’ much shorter edition includes just a handful of sermons, but also his own personal commentary, which is mostly endorsing and agreeing with MacDonald, quoting heavily from the sermons, emphasizing key concepts, and relating what he has said without adding much new thought on the subjects. Nevertheless, I commend Phillips for his passion to make MacDonald’s writings accessible to a general readership. As Phillips states, “If it takes some mental horsepower to keep with him, our efforts are well worth it.” Thus, this book is recommended for anyone desiring an introduction to George MacDonald’s theology. -- Dr. Pamela L. Jordan, Christian Book Previews.com (Dr. Jordan’s doctoral dissertation was on the life and writings of George MacDonald)
Explore the Heart of the Christian Life Through the Writings of George MacDonald
Overlooked and obscured for decades, George MacDonald’s nonfiction speaks powerfully to twenty-first-century believers eager to go deeper in their Christian walk. Your Life in Christ, drawn by Michael Phillips from MacDonald’s sermons and published essays, explores the faith’s foundational topics, including the creation in Christ, self-denial, freedom, and much more.
Michael Phillips’ skillful editing, which retains MacDonald’s message and style, coupled with his insightful commentary on MacDonald’s work makes the nineteenth-century Scottish writer’s wisdom accessible to today’s reader.