The Torch of the Testimony ~ John W. Kennedy<br />Book Review / SummaryThe following review has been pieced together from an outline given to me by Robert Betts

The back cover says this:

“The 2000 year history of those Christians – and churches – that have stood outside the Protestant-Catholic tradition. This book was originally published in India in 1964 and is little known in the western world. Beginning in the first century John Kennedy traces the history of Christian groups who remained outside formalized religion down through the ages. A stirring, passionate and sometimes heart-rending story of suffering to the centrality of Christ within the Body of Christ. John W. Kennedy is from Great Britain, but has lived in India since 1952 ministering among indigenous and apostolic Christian groups.”

The Torch of the Testimony’ was first published in 1965; what I have is an undated reprint by Christian Books, of Goleta, California. In essence, John Kennedy traces Church history in considerably less detail than in ‘The Pilgrim Church’ by Broadbent, but he offers some thought-provoking and incisive commentary on the history of the Church which makes it (to my mind) required reading for anyone investigating this topic. As a brief example (from page 21), relating to Paul’s early association with the synagogues during his missionary journeys and ministry:

“Paul consistently began his ministry in the synagogue wherever one existed, but in every instance the association had to be discontinued and the church had to start afresh on clear ground. As has been sufficiently pointed out, there is no theoretic reason why this should inevitably have been so;…But somewhere along the line God’s progressive revelation in the synagogue had been brought to a halt. Light, which God had given, had become crystallized in an unalterable tradition. The flow of life was stopped, and the only alternative to the church’s bursting of the bonds which held it and seeking a fresh channel in which to flow, was stagnation. At the beginning of the church’s history we see a principle at work which is to be repeated continually through the succeeding centuries.”

This reminded me of John Robinson’s words (that you will see quoted by Edgar Parkyns on page 169 of ‘His Waiting Bride’) as he encouraged the Pilgrim Fathers as they were about to sail to America.

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