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Posted February 2, 2014
The Global War on Christians presents the current and historical persecution of Christian believers worldwide. This persecution ranges from the societal pressures experienced by believers in the West to martyrdom of individuals and entire communities in many places around the globe.
The book starts with an overview of the depth and pervasiveness of the persecution. This discussion is important for North American readers for, as Allen puts it, “Christians in Western societies generally have no personal experience of persecution.” There is no reliable way to count the number of believers martyred for their faith. One low-end estimate puts the figure at 7,300 per year, while the high-end estimate is 100,000 per year. It is sobering to realize that at least one Christian brother or sister dies for their faith every hour. This does not include the millions of believers who experience other forms of persecution: societal and institutional discrimination, employment and legal discrimination, suppression of missionary and conversion activity, and more.
After the introduction, Allen continues with dozens upon dozens of stories of all kinds of persecution around the globe. He presents accounts from 28 countries in 5 regions. This is followed by a section that explores five myths of the global war on Christians. Allen closes the book with a discussion of the social and political implications of the global war on Christians, the spiritual fruits of this war, and what believers can do in response. He presents a hopeful, yet urgent call to believers.
Allen succeeds in documenting the global war on Christians. He presents specific stories will full background and context. However, the book also reads much like a textbook.
The bottom line is that the Christian church is growing all over the world. Allen wrote, “China is perhaps the most eye-popping instance of Christian expansion. At the time of the Communist takeover in 1949, there were roughly 900,000 Protestants in the country. Today,…there are 111 million Christians in China, roughly 90 percent Protestant.” Satan hates this. Satan is attacking this expansion of life through political, religious, cultural, and economic forces.
I can recommend this book for those who want to have a guide in praying for the persecuted church, and for those conducting an intentional study of the global war on Christians. The casual or merely curious reader, though, will potentially find Allen’s book tedious, albeit a compelling documentation of the persecution of Christians.
Posted December 18, 2013
John Allen is an American journalist based in Rome who specializes in news about the Catholic Church. He is senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter and vaticanologist of CNN and NPR. Allen is also the author of several books including his latest "The Global War on Christians."
Not since Foxe's Book of Martyrs has their been such a book of imprisonment, torture and murder. Bear in mind since Allen is a Catholic writer, most of these accounts are tales of "The Global War on Catholics" but it is still relevant. The sad truth is that Christians are killed every day for their beliefs and it doesn't look like it's going to end any time soon. North Korea recently killed 80 people by firing squad - some of which for just owning a Bible.
As such this book is more than an "eye-opener" it's almost a left hook to the jaw. There are no punches pulled here and this is not your "bed time reading devotional." Allen makes sure to bring his reader into the front lines so that there is no dancing around the subject matter. Once completing the book the reader is almost exhausted and left with the question, "Well, what can I do about it?"
Those of us who live in the west are certainly blessed to enjoy the freedoms we have.
Allen has written a very relevant and very needed work. Allen also has a very intellectual writing style - he is very gifted with words, but it might be a harder work for some lay people to get through at times. So certainly pick this up if you think you can
Thank you to Image & Random House for this review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.