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Book Review: Bullies and Saints by John Dickson

Book Review: Bullies and Saints by John Dickson

Book Review: Bullies and Saints by John Dickson

12 October 2021

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Reviewed by Rachel Morris

In Bullies and Saints: An honest look at the good and evil in Christian history, John Dickson invites readers on a centuries-long journey through Church history.

His basis for writing about the bullies and saints of the Church began after he lost a debate about whether the world would be better off without religion. This led him on the path documented in this engaging book – and we are all the better for it.

Dickson’s honesty and frank approach makes you feel as if you’re on one of his well-known tours throughout the Middle East. And we are able to witness the effect this learning about the Church’s rugged history has had upon him.

From the Crusades to slavery and abuse, Dickson informs us about how scripture has been distorted for power and selfish gain through history. However, he intertwines these accounts with stories of good. Salvationists will find rapport with the Christian movements throughout history that began in the social sector, with selfless acts of love and the creation of hospitals and charities.

In a time when it is easier to call out the speck in someone’s eye rather than acknowledge the log in our own, Dickson’s book is a timely reminder for Christians to do a self-assessment of our own hearts, motives and actions. When the Church functions as God intended it to, it is countercultural and makes the world a better place. As Dickson says, “Violence has been a part of human history, the command to love one’s enemies has not ... Bullies are common, saints are not.”

Bullies and Saints is available at all major bookstores.

Rachel Morris is the Life Engaged Project Coordinator at Geelong Salvation Army

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