This week I’m posting book reviews for some of the most influential books I read this summer. On Monday I shared about Running the Rift: A Novel. Today’s review is for:
From Amazon: All Christian disciples have one thing in common: as they carry the gospel across the ocean and across the street, persecution will become the norm for those who choose to follow Jesus. How believers respond in the face of persecution reveals everything about their level of faith and obedience. “The Insanity of Obedience” is a bold challenge to global discipleship.
Nik Ripken exposes the danger of safe Christianity and calls readers to something greater. “The Insanity of Obedience” challenges Christians in the same, provocative way that Jesus did. This book dares you—and prepares you—to cross the street and the oceans with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Why I picked it up:
Someone mentioned it in a Facebook post and I added it to my “to read” list. I still can’t remember who told me about it, and soon after starting it I couldn’t decide it I wanted to hug or punch that person… it’s just so challenging!
Challenging, yup. This is not a summer beach read by any stretch of the imagination. But, given all that is happening to Christians worldwide right now, I think it is completely relevant and important for us to read. I so appreciate Ripken’s years of research and interviews with converts from Africa and the Middle East. He discusses how important it is for missionaries to go out as sheep among wolves (as opposed to those who are proud or “know it all,” for example) and to simply be available for whatever God needs in those nations.
It doesn’t take long for Ripken to jump right in. One of the first chapters talks about persecution, and how different the story would have been for Joseph if someone had enacted a targeted search-and-rescue mission to save him from the persecution his brothers sold him into. He ended up being in a position to save his family later on, directly because of the suffering he encountered. Ripken goes on to tell that so many of the persecuted people he and his wife interviewed did not beg to be relieved of their persecution, but rather to be obedient through it.
I was also struck by the numerous stories of how former Muslim believers were introduced to Christianity not through interactions with missionaries or other believers — particularly since there is maybe 1 believer for every 750,000 people in those areas — but through dreams and visions that sent them in search of answers their Muslim church couldn’t provide. Does God want to use us? Absolutely, but He doesn’t let our disobedience hinder His progress. Clearly His ways are so much better than what we might come up with on our own.
So while I am struggling to decide what to do with the information Ripken shares here, I am absolutely grateful to have read this book and look forward to discussing it with others.
Why you should read it:
Myth: God only calls only some people to “go.”
Fact: All believers are called to share the Gospel with “all nations.”
If you’re a Christ-follower, check out this book for insight on how “obedient missions” took place in the Bible, what persecution really looks like, and how it that translates into reaching the unreached today. And if you are a missionary already serving, this is really a must-read.