Book Review: St. Patrick of Ireland

St. Patrick of Ireland by Philip FreemanThe author, Philip Freeman is the Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College in, Iowa. He has a Ph.D. from Harvard University in Classical Philology and Celtic Languages and Literatures.

One of the hardest parts about telling a story concerning Patrick is separating fact from fiction. Patrick is a beloved cornerstone of Irish lore. Thus, any research on Patrick uncovers countless tales, stories, bravado, and traditions; many of which are flat-out false and the origin of others have been emboldened by time and countless retellings.

In Freeman’s book he does a good job avoiding fiction. The author uses Patrick’s own writings and other factual sources to tell the story of his life. Where details are scarce Freeman uses history, anthropology and sociology to plug the holes with educated assumptions.

The author does an admiral job laying out the life of Patrick. Freeman masterfully tells the tail of a young man who was kidnapped and enslaved in a foreign land and ultimately returns to spend the final decades of his life sharing Christ to the very culture that enslaved him. Patrick battled violence, pagans, robbers and even his own church to evangelize the Irish.

Freeman relies on Patrick’s own writings to paint a picture of this missionary who spent 40+ years bringing Christ to the forgotten country of Ireland. The Roman Empire and the Christian church viewed Ireland and barbaric and unworthy of effort. Patrick spent the final decades of his life sharing Christ in Ireland and combating those who would try to impede him.

As hard as the task was, Freeman has expertly shared the amazing facts of Patrick’s life and works and left the fiction for others.

About Mike

Mike, 49, grew up in California and spent 38 years of his life there. He received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike worked in the California State Senate for 12 years. He became a Christian at the age of 20. Mike was a Ruling Elder at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church(PCA) for seven years. While at Soaring Oaks, Mike served as the Director of the High School Youth Group, Sunday school teacher, and instructor of evangelism. His cross-cultural missions experience includes five short term trips to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Peru (Lima and Cusco) through Mission to the World (MTW). He has volunteered with World Relief by teaching and counseling international refugees. Mike has also attended cross-cultural church planting conferences in New York and Orlando and completed the Perspectives course on the World Christian Movement. He attended Bible Study Fellowship for two years. He is a certified instructor through Evangelism Explosion and is a certified trainer of the Darkness to Light child sexual abuse prevention program. He completed MTW‘s Disaster Response Training. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. Mike received an undergraduate degree in Political Science, graduated from Reformed Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate from Fuller Theological Seminary. Before accepting God’s call to fulltime missions, Mike was a Ruling Elder, Youth Group Leader, adult Sunday school teacher and evangelism instructor at Soaring Oaks Presbyterian Church in Elk Grove, CA. Mike is an experienced speaker and author. Over 70 of Mike's articles on missions have been published and he has written three books. He is a trained and experienced mentor, discipler, leader and a passionate teacher of small groups and Bible studies. From 2007 to 2017 Mike served as a fulltime missionary for MTW. Mike served as Team Leader, Church Planter, and Seminary Professor. Mike and his wife Erin served in Honduras in Central America and Equatorial Guinea in Central Africa. Mike currently serves as the Director of the MTW West Coast Hub where he trains and mentors new missionaries from CA, AZ, & NV. Mike is also busy writing his next book.

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