Iron Sharpens Iron

Friendship and the Grace of God

Michael Haykin

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The modern world, with its emphasis on speed and busyness and the mis-named "social" media, has not been an especially welcoming place to develop long-lasting, solid friendships that help to nurture the heart.

Providing exemplars and guidance in this challenging situation, this book on friendship looks at some of the details of the friendships of the eighteenth-century pastor-theologian Andrew Fuller to help us think about and engage in meaningful relationships that provide joy and comfort (in the older sense of that term as "strength") for the Christian journey.

This is an ideal study for anyone desirous of being a better friend, as well as for those interested in knowing something of the history of Christian friendship.

Praise for the book:

"Michael Haykin has once again produced a carefully researched and highly readable book. He rightly acknowledges that faithful friendship is a gift of God’s grace and passionately asserts the urgent need for recovering this among evangelical pastors—and, I would quickly add, professors as well. This volume seeks to rekindle the love for one another grounded in Christ, with Christ, and for Christ for advancing God’s kingdom. I strongly commend its value and trust all those who read it will intentionally apply these words to their own lives!"
— Tom Schwanda, associate professor emeritus of Christian Formation and Ministry, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL

"This informative book on friendship is a refreshing corrective to the increasing individualism among many today, including Christians. This volume raises the bar on our understanding of Christian friendship. As stated, true friendship is a means of grace for our mutual benefit. The author is a skilled historian who effectively illustrates his important thesis by drawing mostly from letters between eighteenth-century British pastors. Further, Michael Haykin is well suited to write about the value and necessity of Christian friendship, for his life exemplifies it."
— Grant Gordon, editor of Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland Jr. and author of A Great Blessing to Me: John Newton Encounters George Whitefield

"Haykin ably extracts the vital theme of friendship from his deep acquaintance with eighteenth- century Particular Baptists, and Christian history more generally. His investigation is contextually grounded, elucidated by many historical anecdotes and enveloped in the warmth of biblical spirituality. Thus, Iron Sharpens Iron is a practical and academically rich historical inquiry into an often underappreciated area (i.e., friendship) and a contemporary challenge to the individualism and isolationism of modern evangelicalism. Truly, friendship is not only a means of grace; as Haykin argues, it is a gift of grace."
— Christopher W. Crocker, pastor of Markdale Baptist Church, ON, and adjunct professor of church history at Toronto Baptist Seminary, Toronto, ON

"This is a wonderful book on spiritual friendship. It speaks to an age which, as Michael Haykin says, is more interested in getting and possessing than sacrificing and giving. Ironically, we end up greatly impoverished as a result. Professor Haykin draws on the riches of the past to challenge and inspire us, giving us models to draw from as we build and nurture healthy, godly friendships today. I know this is a subject close to the author’s heart, and I cannot think of anyone better qualified to write this book. Iron Sharpens Iron could change not only your life but also the lives of those around you."
— Peter J. Morden, senior pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church, Leeds, and Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Spurgeon’s College, London, England

Title:
Iron Sharpens Iron
Format:
Paperback
Publisher:
Union Publishing
Pages:
120
SKU:
9781916899513

Review (1) Write a Review

  • 4
    I enjoyed the book for several reasons, but none more so than reading the letters of godly men and woman of the past.

    Posted by Craig Green, @reformedandreading on 28th Mar 2022

    Today, we live in an expendable society, the value of “friendship” has depreciated, and “friends” are treated as products to be replaced and upgraded like mobile phones. However, the Bible paints a different portrait of what a friend should look like. ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’ looks into the lives and friendships of two pastor–theologians John Ryland and Andrew Fuller. Ryland and Fuller met in 1776 as young men wrestling over important theological issues such as “Hyper Calvinism” and quickly became best of friends until the passing of Fuller in 1815. Fuller described their relationship as a “long and intimate friendship” and that friendship culminated in Ryland having the privilege of preaching his best friends funeral sermon. Beginning with the Greco–Roman era, the book examines friendship in antiquity. Reflections on friendship in the writings of Homer, Plato and Aristotle are mentioned briefly as well as familiar bible characters: Ruth–Naomi, David–Jonathan, and Paul–Timothy. Haykin gives us an insight into the relationship between John Ryland Jr. and John Newton. I found the letters of counsel from an older Newton to the younger Ryland particularly enjoyable as Newton, with godly wisdom, consoles and allays Ryland concerning personal issues involving his father. I enjoyed the book for several reasons, but none more so than reading the letters of godly men and woman of the past. There’s a personal quality to letters that cannot be replicated with modern modes of communication like WhatsApp’s and emails. Personally, this book wasn’t the easiest read for me, as I there are a lot of names, dates, and locations (towns and boroughs) which I find mentally tiring after a while if I’m honest. If you like biographies combined with a little bit of history then ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’ might be right up your street.

Review (1) Write a Review

  • 4
    I enjoyed the book for several reasons, but none more so than reading the letters of godly men and woman of the past.

    Posted by Craig Green, @reformedandreading on 28th Mar 2022

    Today, we live in an expendable society, the value of “friendship” has depreciated, and “friends” are treated as products to be replaced and upgraded like mobile phones. However, the Bible paints a different portrait of what a friend should look like. ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’ looks into the lives and friendships of two pastor–theologians John Ryland and Andrew Fuller. Ryland and Fuller met in 1776 as young men wrestling over important theological issues such as “Hyper Calvinism” and quickly became best of friends until the passing of Fuller in 1815. Fuller described their relationship as a “long and intimate friendship” and that friendship culminated in Ryland having the privilege of preaching his best friends funeral sermon. Beginning with the Greco–Roman era, the book examines friendship in antiquity. Reflections on friendship in the writings of Homer, Plato and Aristotle are mentioned briefly as well as familiar bible characters: Ruth–Naomi, David–Jonathan, and Paul–Timothy. Haykin gives us an insight into the relationship between John Ryland Jr. and John Newton. I found the letters of counsel from an older Newton to the younger Ryland particularly enjoyable as Newton, with godly wisdom, consoles and allays Ryland concerning personal issues involving his father. I enjoyed the book for several reasons, but none more so than reading the letters of godly men and woman of the past. There’s a personal quality to letters that cannot be replicated with modern modes of communication like WhatsApp’s and emails. Personally, this book wasn’t the easiest read for me, as I there are a lot of names, dates, and locations (towns and boroughs) which I find mentally tiring after a while if I’m honest. If you like biographies combined with a little bit of history then ‘Iron Sharpens Iron’ might be right up your street.