by Brother Andrew and Al Janssen
This takes Western Christians into the lives of Christians and Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in the Middle East.
Revell P.O. Box 6287, Grand Rapids, MI 49516, 2007, 265 pages, $19.99.
—Reviewed by Laurie Fortunak, editorial coordinator, Evangelism and Missions Information Service (EMIS) at the Billy Graham Center; managing editor, EMQ.
Secret Believers is both highly disturbing and extraordinarily inspirational. This newest book by Brother Andrew, founder of Open Doors International (ODI), and Al Janssen, director of communications for ODI, takes Western Christians into the lives of Christians and Muslim Background Believers (MBBs) in the Middle East. Written in narrative form, the first eighty-five percent of the book tells the true story of how God has woven the lives of several MBBs in the Middle East together. For security reasons, names and locations have been changed.
The book begins with Brother Andrew challenging Butros, a Christian man from the Middle East who is currently studying in London, to return to his homeland and strengthen the Church. When asked what the Church was like in his home country, Butros responds, “I think the Church is just trying to survive,” to which Brother Andrew replies, “Then strengthen her. God has an important job for her to do. The work of the Church is not survival. She exists to fulfill the Great Commission….The purpose of the Church cannot be to survive, or even to thrive, but to serve. Sometimes servants die in the serving” (pp. 22-23). Butros returns to his hometown, where he hopes to better understand the needs of the Church in order to minister to pastors. He soon encounters Ahmed, a Muslim who has nightmares until he is introduced to Jesus (Isa); Mustafa, a former leader in a fundamentalist Muslim group that persecuted Christians; Hassan, one of Ahmed’s best friends; and Salima, a young woman who hears about the person of Isa while watching television. All four are Muslims who have encountered the truth of Isa. The narrative follows Butros’ work with the MBBs and several recognized Christian leaders in the area. In spite of—and perhaps because of—persecution and martyrdom, God continues to draw Muslims to himself as the book progresses.
By the end, the reader has a glimpse into the lives of MBBs who seek to live out their faith in the Muslim world. This book is for the lay person; however, its importance and relevance for the global Church makes it helpful to academicians, missiologists and Bible scholars as well. The final forty pages include five challenging questions for Christians in the West to better have the heart and mind of Christ in praying for and loving Muslims. The book concludes with a prayer letter from the persecuted Church in Afghanistan. A bibliography includes additional reading for Christians seeking to understand the world of Islam.
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