It is very unusual these days to watch the evening news and not see a news item related to the conflict in the Middle East. Many ask themselves, “Why can’t they get along?” or “What is all the fighting about?” We heat names like Jerusalem, Israel, Palestine, West Bank, the Golan Heights and wonder what’s the difference. It is no secret that religion is at the center of this emotional and long-running conflict. How do we come to the place where three of the world’s major religions are in constant conflict over the land that all claim to have had its’ beginning?
In his most recent book, Seeds of Turmoil, The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East, Dr. Bryant Wright takes on this crisis head-on and sets out to help the reader understand the genesis of this conflict. I was looking forward to reading this book. Not just because the author (Dr. Wright is the current president of our Southern Baptist Convention), the title and content was intriguing. Like a great many people, I did not fully understand all the ins and outs and intricacies of the Middle East conflict. I hoped this book would clear some of this up for me. I was not disappointed.
Wright goes to the beginning. He begins with the promise that God made to Abraham to provide a son of whom a great nation would be built. However, Abraham’s lack of faith in God led to the birth of his son Ishmael b Sara’s servant Hagar. Wright traces the lineage and paths of both Isaac, the son of promise and Ishmael, the son of disobedience. So it began there, Isaac the father of the nation of Israel and Ishmael, the father of the Arab nation. The thrust of this book is wrapped around the claims of both sons of Abraham in terms of land and blessing. Dr. Wright did a great job blending all three perspectives (Jewish, Christian, and Muslim) to give a balanced, fair, and comprehensive analysis of the situation.
Dr. Wright has written a wonderful book. It is informative and written from a biblical perspective. He handled difficult and often confusing terms and storylines without coming across as a teacher or professor. Seeds of Turmoil is an easy read and not cumbersome. The beauty of the book is the chapter study guides that have been made available in the book and lend themselves to small group discussion. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to better understand how the conflict in the Middle East come to be. This book left me wanting more and challenged me to further individual study of this conflict in which the world is closely watching.