Thursday, August 14, 2014

God's Smuggler -- Book Review

Our favorite 2013/2014 school read aloud was God's Smuggler by Brother Andrew.  The miracles this man witnessed while smuggling Bibles into communist countries are unbelievable.  I came away with a deeper trust in the Lord and an understanding of what it means to love those whose beliefs and actions are abhorrent to me.  When I consider an environment too sinful for a Christian to approach,  I can remind myself of how Brother Andrew went to work in a factory, surrounded by people with filthy minds, and was able to witness in a way that led them to the cross.

This excerpt is taken from the epilogue.  Although this book centered on past ministry to communists, Brother Andrew saw many parallels to today's challenges with Islam.

Andrew has lived to see many former challenges met, many once impossible goals achieved.  "But by far, by far, our greatest challenge lies ahead of us," he says.  "And that's how we face the issues raised by Islam." . . . "There is a lot to admire in Islam," he says.  "You have to pay attention to a religion with this kind of draw."  Part of its appeal, he explains, is the close community support it offers.  It claims to be the answer to economic and social problems.  It emphasizes wholesome living, drug-free, alcohol-free, prayer-centered communities that hold up the father as the responsible head of the family.
"Think of the millions of Muslims around the world," Andrew goes on, "who are not terrorists but peaceable, hard-working, family-centered men and women.  Think of all the Muslims who work in inner cities among the addicted, the homeless, the abused -- people too often abandoned by the churches.  Something like a fifth of all the people on earth are Islamic, and my experience with them is that most are gentle folk, tainted by the terrorist tactics of the few."
The difficulty, Andrew stressed to us, lies in the extremist brand of Islam with the demand of its leaders for all-encompassing obedience.  In this, Islam has a lot in common with Communism.  Neither is monolithic.  There are places in the world where both are more liberal; places where they are dogmatic and totalitarian.  . . . The effect on people's lives of these theological dictatorships that lay claim to body, soul and spirit is the same as under Communism.
"There are Christians in these republics," Andrew told us.  "Not many, but they managed to survive under Communism.  As the fundamentalists gain power, they immediately attack Christians, sometimes even putting them to death.  It became clear to me that here we faced a challenge greater than anything Communism offered.  Totalitarianism is most thorough when it is coupled with religion.  I knew I had to respond to this challenge, but the question was how." . . .
"Of course," he said, "it would be easy once again to raise a whole lot of money by spreading fear and hatred.  But I'll never do that.  I am not anti-Islam, I am pro-Jesus." . . .
Right from the beginning of his ministry to Muslims, Andrew has insisted on the mandate of presence coupled with service.  Such service is rendered to fundamentalists as well as to moderates.  "Love your enemy, Jesus told us." . . .
It is no soft or sentimental concept, this principle of loving your enemy.  There was grief in Andew's voice as he described the persecution of Christians by Islamic extremists in many parts of the world.  "But when Jesus told us to love those who persecute us, He wasn't giving us a suggestion, He was giving us a command."
Andy has even adopted a little acronym, a personal meaning to the word Islam: I Sincerely Love All Muslims."

2 comments:

Luke Holzmann said...

Brother Andrew is such an inspiration. May we all have faith in our great God the way he demonstrates so we, too, can see our God faithful.

~Luke

Farrah said...

Amen!