Book Preview

Title: Bold as a Lion: The Life of John Cennick (1718-1755), Moravian Evangelist.

Jointly authored by: Wesley Fellowship members, Peter Gentry and Paul Taylor.

First published: January 2007

176pp. Price: £9.95. ISBN: 13: 978-0955459405.

Click here to download an order form.

This very interesting and readable book tells the remarkable story of one of the lesser known (but still significant) characters of the Eighteenth Century Evangelical Revival. John Cennick was a contemporary of John Wesley and George Whitefield and these men both knew Cennick personally. The authors tell the story of John Cennick, from his possible ancestry before his birth and childhood in Reading, Berkshire, to his present day legacy following his premature death and burial in London in 1755. After his early meetings with prominent ‘Methodist’ leaders (such as John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and Howell Harris), Cennick eventually settled into the Moravian Church. He visited Germany a number of times and came into contact with the renowned Count Nicholas von Zinzendorf, who was sympathetic to the Moravians (having been much influenced by the Pietistic movement, the Count focussed on the need for missions stemming from his strong belief in "heart religion" and a personal salvation built on an individual's spiritual relationship with Christ).

During his short life, Cennick’s mission was an evangelistic ministry that took him to many places in England, Wales, and Ireland and he became known as a ‘lay’ preacher of outstanding passion who had a significant and lasting influence on many people. The authors give particular attention to John Cennick’s theology. For those who are interested in visiting places of interest, they have included a section in the book with the inviting title, ‘On the Cennick Trail’, that could lead a reader to interesting sites associated with the evangelist, including the parish church of St Lawrence, Reading; Kingswood, Bristol and Bath; the lovely villages of Castle Combe and East Tytherton in Wiltshire; Leominster, Herefordshire; not to mention numerous places in the Emerald Isle, such as the Moravian churches that Cennick founded in Northern Ireland at Ballinderry, Kilwarlin, and Gracehill. John Cennick was also a notable poet and hymn writer, and was the writer of the well known grace, ‘Be present at our table Lord, be here and everywhere adored...’, and accordingly the book has a large chapter entitled ‘Hymns and Poems’.

This is a very enjoyable and informative book to read. It has been produced following some commendable research and can be heartily commended to a wide readership. It has the bonus of being indexed, well documented, and illustrated by a range of helpful maps and pictures, some in colour and specially produced for this volume. This book is unique in being a substantial modern monograph devoted entirely to describing and discussing the life and work of John Cennick. The book fills an important gap in the history of the church in Britain and Ireland during the 18th century and is particularly helpful because it points back directly to some of Cennick’s own writings which are now not easily found except in a few specialist research libraries and archives.




© The Wesley Fellowship 2011.
Home | About us | Events | Publications | Contact | Links