With its emphasis on speed and busyness and the mis-named “social” media, the modern world has not been an especially welcoming place to develop long-lasting, solid friendships that 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-theologians Andrew Fuller and John Ryland to help us think about and engage in meaningful relationships that provide joy and strength for the Christian journey.
This is an ideal study for anyone desirous of being a better friend as well as those interested to know something of the history of Christian friendship.
“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