Review of "The Unlisted Legion" by Jock Purves

The Unlisted Legion, Part of the its witness in the Karakoram and the Khyber by Jock Purves, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1977, 195 pp.
Twice recently I came across the name “Jock Purves.” First, my colleague in the Reformed Presbyterian ministry, Anthony Dallison, wrote to me that Jock Purves was a “faithful elder” in his congregation in Scotland in the 1970s and noted that together they “spoke forthrightly in the defense of the Westminster Confession of Faith” at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1974. Second, in my recent query into “Who teaches American Presbyterian history?” I found that one seminary assigns a book by Jock Purves, Fair Sunshine: Character Studies of the Scottish Covenanters.
As it turn out, Purves has written two books, the second of which is the one presently under review.
The Unlisted Legion is a very readable book in forty-three short chapters. It tells of the travels and missionary endeavors of its author in remote places around northern Pakistan and Afghanistan in years 1926-1930. I was struck by the horrendous conditions under which the missionaries labored. They dealt with lice (at times grabbing it off of their clothing by the handful), rats, and “house bugs” – a red-colored and incredibly stinky pest that would fall down on them from the ceilings of houses as they slept and bite them with the feeling of an electric shock.
Though Purves missionary travels recounted in the book seemed to me often like ill-planned wanderings, their forthrightness in presenting Christ crucified at all occasions was impressive. While the book contained various interesting episodes, it didn’t make for much of an overall story. It reminded me of another book I recently read — Demon Possession by John L. Nevius — in that it was largely a rather jumbled collection of short travelogue stories.

What Think Ye? - Leave a Reply