Review: Jason Zuidema, The Life and Thought of David Craig

Published 2008 by Clements Publishing, 6021 Yonge Street, Box 213, Toronto ON, M2M 3W5

Zuidema has written this encouraging biography of his friend and colleague, David Craig. David was in ministry in the latter half of the twentieth century, at a time when the church, culture, and missions were all in crisis. He traces the early influences on David: David's growing experiences as a young missionary in Nigeria, where his life was threatened several times before a firing squad; and his heart rending days of evangelism and schism in the French work in Quebec. Reading his biography reminded me of much of my own journey as a student and minister within the Presbyterian Church in Canada (PCC), attending WLU (Waterloo Lutheran University), participating in Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, attending seminary, serving in missions, and wrestling with theological issues centering around faithfulness to Scripture that the PCC was dealing with. The two struggles, especially around the frustration that the church was not flexible enough in doing evangelism on the one hand, and still being fearlessly loyal to the reformed faith of the PCC on the other, may be especially relevant and poignant for readers. It is significant that the book is dedicated to young Christians throughout La Belle Province. I suspect David would have liked that. Zuidema manages not only to chronicle David's life from 1937-2001 but also to develop his character as a man of both earnestness and humour. This book will be of special interest to members of the Renewal Fellowship, not only because David was a member and he was well loved and respected by so many who were in leadership, but because David was, I believe, the one missionary that the RF made earnest efforts to support financially, although recently, there is a new mission emphasis by the RF in reaching out to aboriginal youth in northern Ontario through camping. For a number of reasons, all support for evangelism to the French-speaking people of Quebec ceased after David was no longer under the sponsorship of the PCC.

Zuidema ends the book with one of David's sermons: The First Mark of the Church. In this review, we, too, will give David the last word, and as we reflect on his life, we will remember that "God's Son, Jesus, prays for us right now — he prays that we be a joyful people! Amen."