Second Reformed Church

Monday, January 20, 2014

Review: "The Global War on Christians"


The Global War on Christians:  Dispatches from the Front Lines of Anti-Christian Persecution by John L. Allen, Jr. is a rather encyclopedic introduction to Christian persecution around the world especially over the past ten years.

            In the first half of the book, Allen presents the tops nations where persecution is found and gives both national information as well as examples of individuals who have suffered persecution for their Christian faith.

            For much of the second half of the book, he deals with myths about Christian persecution, arguing that persecution does not merely occur where Christians are in the minority, it is not surprising, it is not all being committed by Muslims, it is not only about religion, and it is not merely a political issue.

            In the final chapters, he argues that this persecution will produce “three broad consequences”:  Christian leadership will emerge at an accelerated rate in the developing world, religious freedom with become a greater world-wide concern, and Christianity will become a stronger pro-democratic force around the world (244-255). 

He also believes that Christianity will stop focusing on gaining power and, instead, find its “self-understanding … in suffering and deprivation” (255).

Finally, he talks about “what’s to be done.”  Allen presents the following for the Church’s consideration:  to be in prayer for those being persecuted (280), to raise the consciousness of the Church (especially in the West) that there is persecution (282), to learn to think globally about the Church (284), to engage in micro-charity – giving aid to persons and smaller groups in particular areas, rather than large organizations (285), to participate in institutional humanitarian relief (287), to be involved politically (289), to assist in resettling refugees (291), and to engage in partnerships with the emerging world – church to church (293).

These things to do are certainly large possibilities, and some churches and persons will be able to engage in some things and some others.  For this reason, and the sheer volume of information, this seems to me to be a great book for small groups to work with as they see how they might become aware and involved with persecuted Christians.  This is not light reading – it is large enough that I found it a bit overwhelming to read about this country and this person over and over again.  However, I do believe it could be used very effectively as a text for small groups to learn about and address the very real issue of persecution.

[This review appears on Amazon.com and on my blog.  I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.] 

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