From the time Peter and John were thrown into prison for being a disciple for Christ, followers of Jesus have been persecuted and/or killed for their beliefs. If one reads the New Testament about the life of Christ and His followers, he/she will find many instances where persecution and martyrdom for the sake of following Christ was common. It is nothing new. It continues today as I speak. The world news tells us about children being beheaded, adults being killed because they are Jesus followers. ISIS is one of the groups we are hearing about the most lately. Hamas is a terrorist group and kill people who follow Jesus. Hamas especially hates the Jews. I am sure there are many I have not mentioned who murder or torture believers. Yes, people it still happens. Many Muslims are turning to Jesus and forsaking their former beliefs. They must meet in secret in the Middle East for fear of being found out by the terrorists and killed. But, these believers are so strong in their faith and following Christ, that they willingly deny Islam and hold on to Jesus when put to the test. The Islamist extremists do not tolerate anyone who does not follow Allah and their "bible."
I was given the opportunity to review the book titled Killing Christians written by Tom Doyle with Greg Webster for Family Christian bookstore. I really was interested in this book. I wanted to read the stories of Muslim believers and what they go through to live for Christ. I have been a Christian for many years and always wonder if I would be strong enough to stand for Jesus in a time such as this. Would you be strong enough? I know now that I would be stronger than I feel I would be, but it still concerns me. I know Jesus will give me the strength if I ever face what these Christians that Doyle shares with us go through. I want to thank Kristen at Family Christian for choosing me to be a reviewer. Now, let's get to the book.
Somalia, Syria, Mosul, Baghdad, Saudi Arabia, Gaza: these are places that this book concentrates on. Tom Doyle has been a missionary in the Middle East, for several years after being a pastor in various states. He has a passion for Israel and has led tours there many times. He is now the Middle East director for e3 Partners which is a group of church planters. He shares in Killing Christians stories from Muslim Christians who have either been tortured for the sake of Christ, killed for the sake of Christ or know of fellow Christians who have gone through this. It is so eye-opening to me to know more about what these people have to go through just to know Christ, read a Bible, share Christ with others. We Americans have become too complacent in our faith and ability to go to church when we want to, that we don't think of those who have to hide to worship the Lord. Mosul, one of the places talked about in this book, has been in the news just this week about ISIS destroying museum artifacts, and causing utter destruction in places that these people deem sacred. Did you know that Mosul is the Biblical Nineveh where God sent Jonah? I didn't until I read this book. I read this week that ISIS has allegedly destroyed Jonah's gravesite. This is so heartbreaking! According to Doyle:
" 1. Forty Egyptian churches burned to the ground 2. House church leaders sentenced to Iran's infamous Evin prison. 3. Eight Christians murdered in North Korea for merely owning a Bible 4. Believers nailed to crosses in Syria"
These events happened in just one month in 2014 according to the author, Tom Doyle. It has continued, but gotten worse since these events. The author refers to a passage in John 16:2 where Jesus tells the disciples that they will be put out of the synagogue and a time is coming where when anyone kills you, they think they are doing a service for God. (paraphrase) People, that time is now. According to Doyle, in Mosul, Iraq, ISIS gave Christians four choices: "convert to Islam, pay a large and unaffordable jizya (tax), leave, or die." What would you choose? It makes one ponder how he or she would respond to such demands.
Doyle shares with us the lives of several people who live daily in fear of dying for the cause of Christ. The areas I listed in a paragraph above are where these people live or have died for their faith in God. I really enjoyed learning more about what is happening. It saddens me, but it is what is happening today. It isn't just what happened in Biblical times, but it is going on now. We Americans need to wake up and pray for these people and for more to come to Christ before it is too late. Doyle did a great job describing the details of the lives of the people written about. He did edit such items as dialogue and physical descriptions, but each story is true. He requests that the readers join him in praying for these new friends we read about. People are being crucified, beheaded, throats slit, and so on because they have found Christ and follow Him.
Read this book. It has just been released and can be found at Family Christian Bookstore online here. This book will open your eyes more about what we hear on the news from people who have experienced the torture. Share this with your family so they may know that this is really happening and is not something we are just told by the media. Thank you for listening. Now, I have been given permission to offer a $10 gift certificate to Family Christian Bookstore. To enter, follow my blog, and tell me in the comments you do or have joined, and tell me what you think you would do in this circumstance. I will use the random number generator to choose a winner next Friday. Good luck and God Bless.
*** I received this book free from Family Christian bookstore for my opinion of the writing/book.