Is it possible for us today to rejoice when we face disappointments, tragedies, persecutions, bereavements and setbacks? In an engaging and highly readable style, Ian Rees shows us that suffering is a normal part of the Christian experience, and that Christians down the ages, from believers in Old Testament times right up to the present day, have often had the experience of their faith being put through the furnace, and that there is a plan and a purpose in our trials, even when we feel God has forgotten us. This is a book that is full of sound biblical teaching, richly illustrated from church history, missionary work, church life and contemporary culture, and written sensitively and in a deeply pastoral manner.
Ian Rees became a Christian at university, converted from solid atheism, and soon entered the ministry, having studied at London Theological Seminary. He was minister of a church in Somerset, subsequently worked with European Christian Mission, and is now associate pastor of a church near Northampton, England. His leisure interests include photography, playing the piano and clarinet, films, cooking, reading, and occasional gardening. He and his wife, Lynn, have three children.
‘This book will equip you for the trials that come your way. It is easy to read, very well illustrated and most of all opens up the Scriptures on the massive problems we all face from time to time. Seldom have modern writers displayed such ability to make their work so easy to read, practical and, at the same time, utterly faithful to the Word of God. Those who read this book will thank God for it and those who preach will soon be quoting from it. I hope we will get more from Ian Rees’ pen very soon.’
Chris Kelly, Minister of Lansdowne Baptist Church, Bournemouth, England
‘In Faith in the Furnace, Ian Rees tackles some of the most perplexing questions that Christians face. You may ask, ‘Do we need another book about suffering?’ Positive thinkers may say, ‘No!’ but realists, among whom serious Christians make up a large proportion, will affirm its necessity. Tragedies, cancer, obdurate pain and untimely death raise such vexing questions that we need all the help we can get. An important facet of Christian discipleship involves storing in the closets of our minds the resources we will need to face the inevitable trials that will threaten our faith. In that regard, I would commend Ian Rees for his helpful addition to this genre.
‘Rees approaches the subject in an approachable style that leaves us with an understandable and very practical array of resources. His biblical exposition is fresh and illuminating. Throughout, he seasons the vital principles he extracts from the Word with real stories. He uses a wide array of helpful sources and ranges broadly over the whole subject of how to maintain one’s faith in the midst of trials. This book is not a single-issue book, dealing—for example—with the loss of a loved one or the sudden diagnosis of a deadly cancer. He deals with suffering from many perspectives: the suffering of delay, disappointment with God, the silence of God, the darkness of despair, handling setbacks, dealing with the sufferings of the innocent, betrayal, and facing the approach of death. He also handles well the deadly effects of prosperity.’
Eric E Wright, Author of five books, including Revolutionary Forgiveness, the editor of the Fellowship LINK magazine, and a semi-retired pastor and missionary, Ontario, Canada
‘Ian writes with a refreshingly contemporary style and an engagement with the modern world. Clear biblical thinking is wedded to warm pastoral application through many telling illustrations and testimonies.’
Bill Dyer, Minister of Pontefract Congregational Church (Evangelical), West Yorkshire, England
‘Whether or not you’re ‘in the furnace’ of trial and heartache at present, it will come. This book is therefore essential reading. It certainly helped me.’
Rev Dr Steve Brady, Moorlands College, Christchurch
‘It really is a very good book on a difficult subject. What is unusual is that not only does it deal with the thorny issue of understanding God’s purposes in the trials of life in a sensitive and practical manner; it also presents the subject in a fresh and well-illustrated way. I will be very surprised if Ian does not become an author who we hear more of. This is certainly one of the better books to have been published in the past year. Worth reading and recommending.’
Review by Joe Story, Christian Marketplace