This little volume by Ian Shaw tells us more about Gadsby that most people know him to be: a writer of some well known hymns. Here was a preacher with the gospel at the very core of all he did - a gospel he preached in the industrial north of England, always with passion and Christ-centredness.
His ministry was shaped by the poverty he knew as a child. He was, and remained, a man of the people, speaking with clarity, plainness and a powerful voice - as witnessed by his ability to be heard in the huge Manchester Free Trade hall, which seated some 8,000 people. His preaching was always illustrated in a way that enabled his listeners to identify with what he was saying. Many such hearers were the poor and uneducated of the Manchester area. He had the ear of those from all sorts of backgrounds.
His was a ministry that led to many conversions and, also, the establishing of other churches. He also did a great work amongst children. Here is a man of clear theological convictions along with a sense of social justice. The author deals fairly with some of the weaknesses of Gadsby's ministry.
Ian Shaw is currently the Director of the Langham Scholarship Programme in the UK, which supports the training of Christian leaders from the Developing World.
“This brief treatment of the life and labors of William Gadsby manages to be both frank and fair, highlighting the strengths of Gadsby’s ministry without neglecting the contentions and weaknesses, stirring us by the former and warning us by the latter. Pastors and preachers wrestling with the opportunities and demands of ministry in our day – especially in cities – would be well served carefully to consider and learn from the example of this earnest man.” – Jeremy Walker