By the author of Our First Ten Days
, Treasures Found in Passing
, and numerous other books, here is a small pioneering piece about the historic life and work of the Apostle John. Of course we look upon John as a Christian saint, but we also see him as much more than this. We see him standing tall as a cultural giant in his time, skillfully moving within the scope of Hebrew tradition, Roman law, and Greek philosophy, all the way to old age, and escaping martyrdom by the mere power of his manhood. We view him as a man of both profound faith and superior intelligence, a quiet man, learned in philosophy, a student of history, and a master in the art of communication.
Youngest and brightest of the Twelve, we believe this Apostle lived and served to become the oldest and most accomplished. He would, we are saying, put pen to papyrus and write two of our most significant New Testament books, each to be a blockbuster when done. Exciting is the story: Why did this Apostle write each of these, under what condition, and with what result?
He would deeply ponder the two most pressing questions of that century, one dating from six centuries before and the other originating within his own generation, the ancient one an issue in philosophy, the newer one an issue of Christian faith. Thinking deeply into these, this remarkable man would find that each answered the other, and so in his Gospel would solve both with a single pen stroke. This we know for sure. Sadly, though, the lifetime career of this Apostle was somewhere lost along the stream of history, leaving to us only the power to imagine. Leonard Woodson Mann
is a United Methodist minister, now one hundred years of age, and living in retirement on Saint Simons Island on the Atlantic coast of Georgia. He is involved with special occasion preaching, research, and writing. Mann has written nine books, has been the editor of two volumes, and has been a major contributor to the preaching journal Emphasis
. He received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Ohio Northern University and serves as a life member of its Board of Trustees. During his active ministry Mann was senior minister of some of Ohio's largest Methodist congregations.