I don’t normally review old books but I’m making an exception in this case. The book I’m going to talk about was published (as a second printing) in 1968. I can say that is old because that is the year I was born. The book I’m referring to is Strength to Love by Martin Luther King, Jr.
I picked up this book at a used bookstore. I had never read anything by King before and so I thought I would give it a try.
I was blown away!
This was one of the most powerful books I have read in a long time. The book is actually a collection of his sermons. I loved it on so many levels.
One was that it was very timely. Unsurprisingly, race relations was one of the major topics. Unfortunately, we still need to hear King’s message as racism is still present with us. In fact, many of the social concerns that King talks about are relevant for today. If there was anything that was dated, it was the concern about nuclear war. Of course that danger could return at anytime.
I also loved Strength to Love as a preacher. I knew that King was a passionate preacher but he was much more. His sermons are intellectually satisfying. He often quotes philosophers, historical figures and classic authors. He is very thoughtful in putting together his arguments. As a preacher, I was challenge to take my preaching up a notch.
Although I have always known King was a preacher, he is often portrayed as more of a social activist. I got the impression from popular sources that he used the Bible just to illustrate the need for social change.
However, in these sermons, he preaches Christ. He makes it clear that it is only by the power of God that anything will get done. In some of his sermons, he reveals how his faith in Christ got him through difficult times.
Strength to Love is a book that I will go back to. I encourage all Christians, and especially pastors, to read this book.