‘Bleeding for Jesus’: some initial thoughts

Sep 2, 2021 by

 A review of Andrew Graystone’s ‘Bleeding for Jesus: John Smyth and the cult of Iwerne camps’ *.

By Julia Cameron, Evangelicals Now:

Former campers include senior leaders in the military, in business and in education, and well-known church leaders like John Stott, Dick Lucas, Nicky Gumbel, Michael Green and Justin Welby. They also include lesser-known names of men who have invested their lives in serving urban housing estates, or in world mission. All the boys were drawn from the UK’s elite schools. Iwerne was no cult. Andrew Graystone’s book presents Iwerne camps as synonymous with the exercise of abusive power, rather than with the spirit of service.

An Independent Review of the causes of the suffering inflicted on 22 men (some as minors, still at Winchester College) has been in process for two years, commissioned by the Church of England and led by Keith Makin, former Director of Social Services. Given the volume of material to be worked through, Makin’s forensic approach will take time. The report is expected next year. Graystone has preferred a journalistic approach to convey what happened, but it is not without bias.

The Publisher claims over-ambitiously: ‘For the first time, [Graystone] presents a comprehensive critique of the Iwerne project and the impact it has had on British society and the church.’ It falls far short of doing this, focusing on just a few years of its history, and, within that time, on the impact of John Smyth…

..The book is dense with detail, though little emerges that is new. As it has no footnotes, it is hard to categorise. Any serious analysis requires footnotes for further background and for citation. The text includes much repetition, which is a little irksome to the reader, and it lacks flow in places. Its page index is incomplete. More seriously, Graystone incorporates many factual errors. He imaginatively reconstructs scenes, and quotes from them, while not having spoken with those present.

Read here

* ‘Bleeding for Jesus: John Smyth and the cult of Iwerne camps’ by Andrew Graystone, Darton, Longman and Todd, 240pp £12.99 paperback, ISBN 978 1 913657 12 3

See also:

Book delves into John Smyth abuse, critics say it’s inaccurate, from Christian Today




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