The Tuesday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is all about reading. The post is meant to share some of my reflections from the latest book or magazine article or blog post I have or am reading. At times, I may post a book blurb (a wannabe book review) or recommend books to be read by others.
On Sunday, March 6, 2016, “eternity began” for Jerry Bridges. Bridges may have had one of the quietest, undervalued individuals who impacted the church in recent decades. You wouldn’t see Bridges speaking at the largest conferences or being quoted in religious articles or news stories that gained national attention. And yet, almost every Christians I have ever met has been changed or impacted by his writings.
Who among us hasn’t been comforted in the midst of a trial by Trusting God? Who hasn’t been helped in their walk with the Lord by The Practice of Godliness or The Pursuit of Holiness? Who hasn’t had their definition of fellowship or their place in the body of Christ realized by The Crisis of Caring? Who hasn’t been given balance to the view of what it means to fear God by The Joy of Fearing God? Who hasn’t been convicted by the “straight talk” of sins that we tolerate in Respectable Sins?
Bridges was a gracious gift to the church.
I met Bridges in 1999 at an Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference in Boston, Massachusetts. These ETS conferences are not really for academically-challenged individuals like me, but I went hoping to spend some quality time with my father and get some good deals on books. Little did I know that just about every living author who had written a college or seminary textbook would be in attendance. That year, I met the likes of Wayne Grudem, Donald Whitney, and Simon Kistemaker.
The brief introduction to Bridges came during a seminar being given by Whitney on “meditation in the Scriptures” and Bridges was in attendance. I didn’t know it was Bridges at the time, but I saw his nametag and couldn’t resist extending a hand to meet him.
My immediate impression(s) of Bridges that day was one of humility. He seemed more interested and genuinely thankful to meet me as I was of him. I hadn’t done – and still haven’t – done much of value, and yet Bridges had already written some of his most well-known books and been used of God tremendously in The Navigators. He was asking me questions that would lead one to conclude he intended on starting a friendship with me, but that was just who Bridges was – a humble, others-centered individual. And that godly attribute comes across in almost everything he wrote.
“God, thank you for giving us faithful servants like Jerry Bridges. Thank you for using him to teach us how to fear You, trust You, and pursue You.”