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John Chapman - 1930 - 2012
The late John Chapman, known to most of us affectionately as 'Chappo', was an outstanding communicator, known mainly for his oratorial gifts as a preacher and evangelist. But his skills as a communicator also extended into his writing and resulted in a good number of very fine books—books which reflect his love of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and his passion for sharing it with others. Unquestionably, John has us left an important legacy in these books, all of which have an ongoing ministry.
These are the books which John Chapman authored and Matthias Media continues to publish...
But John didn't start with us as his publisher. For good reason: we didn't exist when he wrote his first two books. "A Fresh Start" and "Know and Tell the Gospel" were both first published by Hodder & Stoughton. Some of you may even remember the very 1970s-looking covers that graced the front of those two books:
Our relationship with John as his publisher only really started in 1993, when Hodders made the decision not to continue publishing both books, and Chappo came to us hoping that we would keep them in print—which we were delighted to be able to do, as well as 'updating' the covers and internal design.
So began a very happy 20 year relationship between John Chapman and Matthias Media.
Here are some reflections on this relationship from Matthias Media's Publishing Director, Tony Payne:
"Like many of our Matthias Media authors, Chappo was a speaker first and an author second, which means that editing his manuscripts was not always (how shall we say?) pain-free. There was always a decent amount of hand-to-hand combat required with the sentences and paragraphs, but never (I should clarify) with Chappo himself. Chappo was a joy to work with. He was invariably enthusiastic about each project, delighted at the cut-and-polish that we brought to the material, and thrilled that the message was getting out in print. This was what drove him. In all our conversations about different books and projects, his concern was to see the gospel go out, and to see truth prevail over error (because error was so damaging).
"Even though I would not say that Chappo was a natural writer, he was a natural and gifted communicator, and this is what gave his writing life and power, and made his books so popular. The content was always sharp and insightful, the through-line was always clear, and his own warm, funny and engaging voice still came through on the page.
"I count it one of the privileges of my working life that I was able to play a part in spreading Chappo's voice to so many over the past 20 years—in a form that will continue to live and speak, God willing, for many years to come."
Chappo contributed in other ways to Matthias Media, including turning his "A Sinner's Guide to Holiness" into a video-based small group bible study called "From Sinner to Saint", in which John is the main on-screen teacher. Two of his books, "Making the Most of the Rest of Your Life" and "Making the Most of the Cross" were also turned into evangelistic DVDs which took advantage of John's warm onscreen presence and clear gospel teaching. John also contributed a number of helpful articles for The Briefing magazine over the years, and was always one of the first on the phone to thank the Briefing team when he read something he really appreciated.
We thank God for this special author.