"Faith Like Potatoes"

Faith Like Potatoes by Angus Buchan

I didn't know until after reading this book that there is controversy surrounding it, the movie based on it, and Buchan's ministry, "Shalom Ministries". I had a few qualms while I was reading it, and I still have them, but I'm not sure I would write the whole thing off as some web sources are suggesting.

Angus Buchan grew up in South Africa where his ministry is based but has some Scottish ancestry - hence the name "Angus" I gather. This book is the story of his growing up, establishing a farm, having a family, becoming a Christian and building a global ministry. That's a lot to cram into 175 pages and I think the story suffers for trying to tell it all in such a short space. Some things are described with a lot of detail, but others are barely mentioned, then are referred to later and that gives it a choppy feel.

I couldn't figure out who the target audience is. If it's other Christians and this story is meant to be an encouragement then I think he was partly successful. I think he is a believer and that he tries to live by faith, but there were places where it felt like more emphasis was placed on Buchan's faith than on God's faithfulness. If, on the other hand, he's telling his story in hopes of convincing unbelievers to follow Christ, I don't think it's very effective. That's just my opinion from the book alone. I haven't heard him speak, I haven't seen the movie and I don't know him in any way, I just think the story is poorly presented in this book. He speaks in cliches with his references to being "gripped by the Spirt" and "the pearly gates" of Heaven and people "finding the Lord". It's full of overused church expressions like that and to be honest it got tedious after a while. Overall I found it predictable and boring, but I at least knew what he was talking about because I'm familiar with the language. To an unbeliever it would be a foreign language, so what's the point?

The book tends to emphasize the more dramatic events in his life, which I guess is not unusual, but I think he's overdoing the drama with things like referring to himself as just an "illiterate farmer". He is a farmer, but illiterate people don't usually have websites listing all the books they've written. Is it false humility? Is it playing up his rise from a struggling farmer to the leader of a world-wide ministry? I don't know. I just know it didn't sit well with me and when held up to the light of Scripture some of what the book says doesn't ring true.

I can't recommend this book because I didn't like it; I found it poorly written and too melodramatic. Certain things in it raised questions for me about the credibility of Angus Buchan's ministry, but I don't know enough about it to come to any real conclusion, so I'll limit my comments to those I'm made about the book.


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