I was drawn to this book after reading Nik Ripken's "The Insanity of Obedience." Like that one this volume was also difficult to put down. Using a pseudonym for security reasons, the author is a master storyteller. Following fifteen years of investigative research among persecuted Christians in various parts of the world, he recounts their experiences of suffering for Christ (as well as his own reactions) in vivid detail. I cannot imagine how a genuine believer can read this book without being convicted as to his own minimal level of commitment. What the Western church refers to as "persecution" pales in comparison to what multiplied thousands of our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world go through everyday in order to keep the flame of the Gospel burning brightly. Ripken's plea is that we not only seek to identify with these fellow-believers through prayer, but to be willing to suffer with them wherever we are. While our first--and perhaps most natural--response is to work for the release of those held captive by enemies of the faith, the author proposes that we take a step back in order to evaluate how the Lord is using their suffering for the spread the Good News of salvation. That is a fully biblical concept that those of us living within the bubble of our own "comfort zones" tend to overlook! In that respect, "The Insanity of God" (as well as its companion volume) take dead-aim at the so-called "prosperity gospel," which is a gross perversion of New Testament teaching that has unfortunately been imported from America to the rest of the world. An amazing quote that I took from the book is one that of a man who had spent years enduring the loss of all for the sake of Christ told Ripken. It is a message that we who have been given much should take to heart. Referring to the faithful witness of the power of the resurrection, he said, "Don't ever give up in freedom what we would never give up in persecution." The author leaves us asking--or, if we are not, we should be asking--why is it that Western Christians suffer so little for our faith? Several days after closing the book, I am still asking that question. Ripken is clear...the leading cause of Christian persecution is believers' testifying to the reality of Jesus Christ. Were that to stop, persecution would cease. The author admits to sometimes being asked if he thinks Christians in America will one day experience similar persecution as their fellow-believers in other places are now enduring. His reply: "Why would Satan want to wake us up when he has already gotten us to shut up." Anyone with a heart for Christian mission, and especially the persecuted church, should read this book. But be prepared to emerge from its pages a changed person...one whose heart will either be softened or hardened.
I encourage every Christian to read this book. It was a book that I had a hard time putting down. When I finished reading it, I wanted more to read. The stories of persecuted believers are amazing. People are coming to Christ in astounding numbers where there is persecution. God is at work in a mighty way even in the darkest places of the world drawing people to Jesus. Believers in America can learn so much from these persecuted Christians. If we were as faithful as the people in these stories, we could have true revival in this country.
"The Insanity of God" is one of the best books I have ever read! I enjoyed the author's testimony of faith and how he met his wife. The book moves slowly as he shares how he got involved in the ministry. Through an interesting set of circumstances, he began interviewing persecuted Christians. To hear the stories of faith that's under fire should encourage the heart of every believer. One has to wonder if the persecuted church in other countries will one day also be the persecuted church in America. This book could easily be described as picking up where the book of Acts left off. The early church faced heavy persecution and the church today is facing heavy persecution. You can't read this book and remain the same. This book will compel you to pray more for the persecuted church and remember their bonds!
An absolute must read! This is the best example of how God has been moving and continues to move people forward toward his son. His ability to establish house churces in the East, Far East, Communist and socialist countries is amazing. He is doing it in visions and dreams sent to Muslims and other non believers all over the world. Praise God and thank you Rik Ripkin for your love of God and the suffering masses in your missionary work.
This book clearly and humbly, explained the value of faith in Jesus and the glory and joy that results from the trials of our brothers and sisters in the faith. We take our freedom to worship casually, seldom thinking what our forefathers and fellow believers have endured and are continuing to endure for their faith. Risking their life in order to share the good news of Jesus is of vital importance to these dear Christians. It is unique to read a book of this subject and yet come away with an uplifted spirit and perhaps even envy for these believers.
First, I need to alert the reader that I personally know the author behind the pseudonym, “Nik Ripken”. I’ve attended conferences he’s led on the persecuted church. I’ve met his wife. I actually went to seminary with his brother-in-law. I once even enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the rooftop terrace of his home in east Africa. I first heard about Nik Ripken some ten years ago at a training conference for strategy coordinators led by representatives of the International Mission Board of the SBC. At an isolated conference center in the Oxfordshire countryside west of London, I listened in amazement to accounts of his research on the persecuted church. I was part of a select group of mission strategists privileged to actually read his report—a document so explosive—so sensitive in nature—that even now I dare not list its title in this review. And I have long been frustrated that those amazing stories of faith persevering and thriving in the teeth of brutal persecution could not be publically shared for fear of adding to the suffering of God’s people. The Insanity of God has finally relieved some of that frustration.
Nik Ripken conducted the most important and comprehensive research on the persecuted church ever attempted in 2,000 years of Christian history. Decades from now, when it is finally safe to publish that research in its entirety, future generation will place it alongside other mission classics such as the Journal of William Carey and Roland Allen’s Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? It will be required reading in seminaries. Missionary candidates will comb its pages for wisdom as they develop strategies for evangelizing the unreached. Until then, if you are not one of the few included in that very limited “need to know” group, may I heartily recommend The Insanity of God.
In its pages the author shares some of the more poignant stories of faith under persecution that were a part of his original research. To do this he has had to change names and some other identifying details in order to protect those involved from needless reprisals. In one particular case I happened to know the story told in considerable detail, so I can personally vouch for the fact that the thrust of what is told in The Insanity of God is absolutely accurate. And believe me, there is no exaggeration in these pages. What made it into print is an understatement of what actually happened. The full story is even more incredible than what you will read.
Even though I had studied the original research, I learned a great deal reading The Insanity of God. It was especially revealing about the background of Nik Ripken. This gave me a fuller appreciation of his life and work. Nik is not a physically imposing guy. He seems altogether ordinary when you meet him. But appearances can deceive. We’re talking Mr. Rogers here: with the valor and audacity of a Navy SEAL.
Reading that original research was an emotionally and spiritually shattering experience for me. Reading The Insanity of God will similarly affect you. It will inspire, horrify, and convict you. You will be amazed by what God is doing in some of the toughest mission fields on earth. You will be shaken by the relentlessness of the enemy. You will be moved to tears—both of sorrow and of joy. It will strengthen your faith. And it will shame you for the shallowness of your own discipleship when confronted by the incredible sacrifices of believers in these places of persecution. And just maybe—and I know this is the desire of the author—it will persuade you that the life of a missionary, be it on the other side of the street or on the other side of the world, is the life you need to be living. This is a dangerous book to read. Approach with caution.