They Say We Are Infidels
By Mindy Belz (Tyndale, 2016)
“Enlightening” and “heart-breaking” describe Mindy Belz’s They Say We Are Infidels, as she details her decade-long coverage of the Middle East. The subtitle, On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians, depicts ISIS’ history and the terrifying plight of Christians she encounters, primarily in Iraq.
Well-written, well-researched and well-documented, the World Magazine editor relates disturbing stories of persecuted Christians, both locals and Americans. She meets most, not in what they once called home, but in places of escape. Some become friends like American teacher Jeremiah Small, who opens his home and heart to Belz and her son. A Muslim-turned-Christian friend had warned Small to be careful. He was, but one of his 18-year-old students in the Classical School of the Medes shot him as he taught his second period class and then committed suicide.
Story after story of threats, kidnappings, ransoms, rapes, beatings, suicide bombings and murders fill the pages. Long-time Muslim neighbors point ISIS to Christian homes. The Syriac archbishop of Mosul is among the last to leave as he watches ISIS militants barrel down the road barely 300 yards away. Yet he says, “They take everything from us, but they cannot take the God from our hearts—they cannot.”
The reporter-author shares each experience, each encounter with detached observation and Christian compassion. The result is a terrifying, inspiring story of those who choose Christ, no matter the cost.
Kathy Robinson Hillman, immediate past president
Baptist General Convention of Texas
The Myth of the Non-Christian
By Luke Cawley (IVP Books)
Non-Christians don’t exist. So says Luke Cawley, director of Chrysolis, the United Kingdom-based evangelism and apologetics ministry.
No, Cawley is not saying everyone has a relationship with Jesus. On the contrary, his book’s premise is that there is no one-size-fits-all category of those who are without a relationship with Christ. They have a variety of needs, longings and interests. Most people don’t think of themselves in terms of being “non-Christian.”
Those who are spiritually lost may self-identify in many different ways, such as atheist, agnostic, Buddhist, secular or “spiritual but not religious.” They may even be considered “nominal Christians.” However, as followers of Jesus, we often make the mistake of putting people into one category—“non-Christian.” When we do so, it hinders us from contextualizing the gospel, sharing it in such a way that begins with the person’s own experiences and worldview.
Packed with true stories, practical suggestions, encouragement and a smattering of apologetic points, Cawley’s volume is a welcome resource for individuals or groups desiring to grow deeper in sharing the message of Jesus with those who need to “cross from death to life” (John 5:24).
Greg Bowman, pastor
Brock Baptist Church