Sunday, 7 October 2007

Book Review: Secret Believers

Secret Believers is a book that will leave you feeling a whole mixture of emotions.

I finished the book feeling excited about the furtherance of the gospel in the Middle East and the Islamic world, genuinely concerned about the welfare of our Christian brothers and sisters there and, above all, wondering how radical a Christian life I am really living.

Jesus called all Christians to come after him, to deny ourselves, to carry our crosses and follow him. I think it's quite easy to pay lip service to this sentiment. When life and death comes into the equation - as it does for so many of our brothers and sisters in the Islamic world - things become much more stark. I was particularly challenged by one section of the book where Brother Andrew writes this: 'Think about this: unless Christ returns first, we can be certain that we will die physically. If each of us will die, is it too much to ask God that he be glorified in our death? What is holding us back?' I think it is really easy to say that we'd be prepared to die for the gospel, but when the challenge is made directly, I have to ask: do I actually love Muslims enough to die for them and for the gospel?

I was also struck by the radical love that Brother Andrew calls Christians too, following very much in the footsteps of Christ. Radical Christianity is radical love. Oh for more - for the church in the West, and more for me. Again, I was struck by a sentence of the book where Brother Andrew relates a conversation he had with the leaders of Hamas. He said, 'You Muslims will never understand the message of the cross until we put into practice the challenge of Jesus to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow him.' Often I love myself much more than others. Please, God, change my heart and help me to love others more.

Secret Believers has a website - I'd recommend the book to any Christian - as I say, it's uncomfortable but the gospel is - and check out the website too. We are in a spiritual battle and, above all, the book has reminded me of the importance to pray.

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