Western Christianity enjoys a safe existence. We do not see churches burned and bombed simply because Christians meet in them like we do in other parts of the world. We do not see Christians imprisoned for simply possessing a Bible like we do in other parts of the world. We do not see outlandish laws passed to intimidate Christians like we do in other parts of the world. We do not see court proceedings deliberately punish Christians like we do in other parts of the world. Christians in Asia, Africa, and Europe deal with the above issues and many more every day for only one reason: they choose to believe in and worship Jesus Christ. In his new book, “The Global War on Christians; Dispatches from the Frontline of Anti-Christian Persecution”, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and senior Vatican analyst for CNN John L. Allen, Jr writes of the challenges, atrocities, and persecution that the greater majority of Christians are facing in the world today.
Allen’s book is divided into three sections. In section one, Anti-Christian Persecution Around the World, Allen begins with an in-depth introduction that gives the book a firm footing. Allen takes a moment to define the word “persecution” ad introduces the various forms that it takes on. These forms include discrimination (societal, institutional, employment, legal), suppression of Christian missionary activity, suppression of conversion to Christianity, suppression of corporate worship, forced conversion from Christianity, violence against individuals, and community oppression. Allen them gives specific, heart-breaking, and eye-opening of Christians who have been persecuted throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, The Middle East, and Eastern Europe. He highlights individual countries within these regions of the world. Within each region, Allen profiles a single individual who suffered as a result of faith in Jesus Christ. In section two, Myths About the Global War on Christians, Allen gives the reader the common myths that surround the persecution of Christians. These myths include:
1. Christians are at risk only where they’re a majority.
2. No one saw it coming.
3. It’s all about Islam.
4. It’s only persecution if the motive is religious.
5. Anti-Christian persecution is political issue.
This is arguably the best section in the book. Dealing with each myth individually, Allen brings real-life experiences to bear on his arguments that these myths have been hindering proper communication of just how prevalent this persecution is. For each myth, Allen explains why each myth is “toxic”. In section three, Fallout, Consequences, and Response, Allen introduces what could be called the “domino effect” of persecution in the societal and political arenas. He also deals with the consequences anti-Christian persecution. Because Christians are being persecuted, there are real and measurable side-effects. So that the reader does not believe that nothing can be done in this war, Allen concludes by giving areas if involvement which includes prayer, thinking globally about the church, institutional humanitarian relief, and several others.
“The Global War on Christians” is a timely, well-researched, and concise work. Allen’s telling of the stories of fellow Christians enduring torture and hatred for their faith is encouraging, but also sobering. Because of his association and travels with news media outlets, Allen has been able to witness this war first hand. Allen’s book is not just another “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs”. Although Allen recounts the lives of these martyrs, it is also a call to action to become more aware of the assault upon Christians today. Saddening. Inspirational. Convicting. I would highly recommend this book to all Christians who want to better understand the struggles and challenges that other Christ-followers have to endure in all of the not-so-safe places in the world.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”