… this time from Portsmouth Cathedral’s Newsletter.

If you buy books purely for their title, this is irresistible. Justin Lewis-Anthony delivers a brisk demolition of the George Herbert myth, before launching into an assessment of what modern ministry needs.

His initial thesis, occupying one-third of his volume, is that most George Herbert propaganda is inaccurate and what remains is irrelevant to today’s ministerial milieu. The true subject lies in his sub-title Radically rethinking priestly ministry. So this is less a book about George Herbert than about the challenges facing the priest in today’s Church. The author proposes three images of the priest; as Witness, Watchman and Weaver, before developing his methodology, expressed as five pillars in support of  self-knowledge, parish-knowledge and skills-knowledge.

Arguing skilfully, Justin Lewis-Anthony plumbs a plethora of sources, frequently featuring Michael Ramsey, John Howard Yoder, Rowan Williams and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and deploys anecdotal evidence to pleasing effect. If you meet George Herbert on the Road, Kill Him is supported by foot-notes, an extensive bibliography and comprehensive index. Justin Lewis-Anthony entitles his final chapter ‘Standing by Herbert’s Grave’, but stops short of dancing on it.

At a friend’s ordination recently, the preacher beatified Bemerton’s brightest; dare we recommend this book to our friend?