Certainly I would submit that the most important book an individual must read and study is the Bible, and it is not often that I read a book I immediately want to pass on to everyone I know. However, every once in a while there is a book written that is so powerful, insightful, and valuable that it becomes the book you tell everyone they need to read. Michael Shank’s Muscle and a Shovel is just such a book.
Michael Shank is a gospel preacher in Metropolis, Illinois. The book is the true story of his conversion from a sinner’s prayer, once-saved-always-saved Baptist, to the Lord’s church by a co-worker named Randall. What makes this book so different is the way that the story is told. It is an easy read on a literature level, but shows the depths of emotion, investigation, and loving concern that brought about his conversion.
Mr. Shank brings you on the eight month journey with him. He pulls no punches about the life he led, the type of man he was, and the way he viewed life and salvation at that time. The descriptions of his reactions to the various studies and discussions suck you in and have you seeing things through his eyes. He shows how desperately he searched for anything that would prove what he was being taught was wrong; the numerous discussions with denominational preachers trying to get answers to the questions that tormented his current beliefs and practices, as he struggled between what he thought he knew and what he was learning through the teaching of Randall.
Additionally, the value of the book is enhanced by the immense volume of Scripture contained within its pages. It contains approximately 1,085 passages of Scripture, many of them fully quoted within the confines of the discussions and studies related in the book. Every passage is catalogued in the back of the book for quick reference, and their insertion within the text ensures that nobody reads the book without understanding exactly what is being discussed and why.
Mr. Shank has presented the church with, what this writer believes to be, the best evangelistic tool in the last number of years. It is a book that needs to be in every Christian’s home and digested into their hearts, for a heart-applied study of this book can do nothing but cause one to be better prepared, and have an increased desire, to proclaim the Gospel to others.
It is also a book that needs to find its way into the hands of every denominational friend with whom we can share it. It does not just deal with Baptist doctrine, but denominational doctrines across a wide spectrum to such a degree that a member of any denomination would benefit from it. He deals with the sinner’s prayer, baptism, the one true church, Calvinism, the “church of your choice” philosophy, and much more. There will be some who refuse to read it, some who will begin to read it and refuse to finish, but those who read it to the end cannot help but be affected by it. It will cause some to be angry, some to cry, some to shake their head in disbelief, and some to change their lives, but none will walk away from it unaffected.
Attached below are the links where the book can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and his website. Please buy a copy, read it, then pass it on to someone else; get copies for your elders, preachers, friends, and family. It is worth every penny.
Michael Shank: http://michaelshankministries.com/