It’s been a privilege to work on marketing this book – and it has been genuinely difficult keeping my review from going live. I want people to read this book! But, anyway, the usual proviso to a review applies – in this case, Story Bearer is published by my employer, and so that may well cloud my reviewing of it. Alternatively, this might just be a genuinely good new book that you should probably read.
Here’s the pitch. A long time ago, in an evangelicalism far away, everyone read Becky Manley-Pippert’s Out of the Saltshaker. It’s a modern classic, and you can still buy and read it (probably should, to be fair). But we find ourselves in a postmodern world, a world where lots of things are up for grabs, and talking about faith can be terrifying on a good day.
Enter Phil Knox, stage right. Phil is Head of Mission to Young Adults at the Evangelical Alliance, and this book represents both his heart and his thinking about what that means. Simply put, Story Bearer is an invitation to introduce everyone to the author of the greatest story ever told: Jesus.
In around 150 pages, Phil introduces the concept of story and why it is so important, delivers a genuinely brilliant bible overview in under 20 pages, and explains clearly what he means by inviting readers to become a ‘Story Bearer’. Interestingly, for such a short book, there are 14 chapters – this makes it a punchy, easy to read and digest book, one that you could start putting in to practice before finishing it, rather than feeling like you have to finish it to apply it. Phil reminds us early on that “The Christian faith spreads by one person telling another. One of the very first followers of Jesus persuades his friend Nathanael to get involved by inviting him to ‘Come and see’.“. Amen!
Story Bearer is an exciting book – Phil’s enthusiasm for Jesus, passion for the Gospel and clear heart for people to come to know the truth is evident throughout. He blends parts of his own story in a way that isn’t overpowering – though I did thoroughly enjoy the bit where he crashed a Volvo estate into his girlfriend’s house – but demonstrates genuine authenticity and vulnerability. And, all too rare for books about evangelism and living for Jesus in this day and age in my opinion, Story Bearer is biblically, joyfully hopeful:
“The Bible finishes with a vision of the future, the promise that a new day is coming with no more hunger or thirst and the wiping of every tear from every eye. The resurrected Jesus will return and make all things new. There is an end to the story, so good it will satisfy every reader, every cliff hanger settled, every mystery solved, all made well and happily ever after. But it is not yet, and until it comes God’s story continues. He is doing what he always does, bringing light in darkness, hope in desperation, life to death and making old things new. In an ever-changing world full of heartache and challenges, the Author is still weaving storylines. He knows the end from the beginning and you have a part to play.“
This sums up why this book is, in my mind, so good. Rooted in the big story of the Bible, mindful and winsome in the realities of storytelling today, and invitational in it’s passion. Story Bearer will be my new go-to book on telling other people about the life I’ve found in Jesus. I recommend it heartily, and will probably be buying copies to give away.
You can preorder it from IVP here.
You might also be interested in the following books that I’ve reviewed:
- Dewi Hughes The World on Our Doorstep – a book about evangelism to people of other faiths in the UK.
- Glen Scrivener, Love Story – a short book that tells the kind of story Phil is communicating.
- Andy Frost’s Long Story Short – a short book about storytelling in terms of discipling younger people, especially ‘Millennials’.
- Marc Marx, Stepping into the Impossible – a book about healing on the streets/power evangelism.
- Mary Darling and Tony Campolo, The God of Intimacy and Action – a book about the importance of both activism and contemplation.