book report: The Search for God and Guinness by Stephen Mansfield

I read a good book, recently sent to me for review by Thomas Nelson, called The Search for God and Guinness: A biography of the beer that changed the world by Stephen Mansfield. His purpose for writing the book is best summed up at the end in the bibliography. Mansfield writes, purpose has been simply to describe the faith and generosity of Guinness. Details of brewing, controversies over geneaologies, and gossip about the Guinness elite I have left to others. pp. 265-6 The reader learns plenty about the beer brewers in the family but also about the clergy branch and the banking branch. We don't learn as much about the banking/political branch, but we learn so much about the clergy branch. One Guinness in particular stands out because of his enormous influence on the religious revivals of the 1800's. Mansfield asserts that Henry Grattan Guinness was a contemporary of D.L. Moody and as effective, if not more so, than Moody in winning souls to Christ. He and his wife trained missionaries to continue the work of Hudson Taylor in China and Livingstone in Africa. They hosted Moody on evangelistic tours through Ireland and England. He researched and wrote rebuttals against fellow countryman Charles Darwin, whose theory of evolution he considered a "pseudoscience that sought to wind the day in England - and the church was largely unequipped to give an answer." p. 194 He also researched astronomy and wrote about the harmony of astronomical cycles and Biblical prophecy, titled The Approaching End of the Age in Light of History, Prophecy, and Science, that went through fourteen editions. His eschatology was also informed by his affiliation with the Plymouth Brethren, which means, he might have enjoyed the Left Behind series. In his understanding, he predicted, in his book Light for the Last Days, that 1917 would be a significant time in prophetic events as well as 1948. In 1917, Jerusalem was taken over by a Christian commander. "Yet Henry Grattan Guinness, writing nearly sixty years before the event, predicted the miraculous event of 1948 when Israel again became a nation. This remains one of the most prescient works of an author in history." p.196

I love all this stuff. I also enjoy drinking Guinness. I appreciated the historical context for beer drinking, not only in the home, it was healthier than water, but also in the Church, the clergy were allotted a gallon of beer a day. Wow! He also finds great Luther quotes on beer and drinking.

This was a fun history to read. I think any Christian beer drinker will especially enjoy it like I did.


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