Thursday, December 26, 2019

God's Hostage | Book Review

About the Book
The incredible true story of one man's imprisonment for the gospel; his brokenness, God's faithfulness and his eventual freedom.

In 1993, Andrew Brunson was asked to travel to Turkey, the largest unevangelised country in the world, to serve as a missionary. Though hesitant because of the daunting and dangerous task that lay ahead, Andrew and his wife, Norine, believed this was God's plan for them.

What followed was a string of threats and attacks,but also successes in starting new churches in a place where many people had never met a Christian. As their work with refugees from Syria, including Kurds, gained attention and suspicion, Andrew and Norine acknowledged the threat but accepted the risk, determining to stay unless God told them to leave.

In 2016, they were arrested. Though the State eventually released Norine, who remained in Turkey, Andrew was imprisoned. Accused of being a spy and being among the plotters of the attempted coup, he became a political pawn whose story soon became known around the world.

This is Andrew's remarkable story of his imprisonment and journey of faith.

Purchase on Amazon.

My Review
This was... a little different than I’d expected. I’ve read several books on imprisoned Christians. This one was very open and honest about discouragement, fear, disappointment, depression, and doubts—and I found that to be very good. Because so often, we hold Christians who go through difficulties on a pedestal, as if they’re “super Christians” or something like that. You definitely don’t get that disillusionment with “God’s Hostage.”

Because it’s a true story, I hesitate to voice anything that would sound critical, because I don’t know what I would do in this situation and I don’t want to appear as a know-it-all or judgmental. Overall, I guess there just felt to be an imbalance. For instance, about 2/3 of the book was about his struggles and only the last 1/3 about his victory (which was still peppered with his doubts and struggles). At one point, he admitted that though he had doubted God and accused Him, he had asked forgiveness and regularly prayed for hours. But the focus was on the loneliness and depression, not on his communion with God unless it benefitted the prison situation. Because of this imbalance, when I think of the book as a whole, I think more of his depression than of his victory. I’m choosing to dwell on the small tidbits of positive lessons he learned—like the small mention of not dwelling on himself, but on others (mentioned for only about a page). It felt like when he finally surrendered to God’s will in his life and imprisonment, the story skipped through months and didn’t dwell on the positive like it had on the negative.

There is the whole situation of him considering suicide and turning to meds rather than to God that will cause some readers to not agree with his methods.

That being said, it was a very interesting read. Different from many of the imprisoned Christian books I’d previously read because Andrew Brunson wasn’t tortured, but often held in isolation. Because it’s an American Christian who was held, it brings it a little closer to home than stories of other imprisoned Christians who were held in their own nations.

*I received this book from the publisher and happily provided my honest review*


Ryana Lynn said...

I know what you mean. To be honest, I didn't enjoy The Hiding Place for similar reasons, though I also found she spent loads of time on back story and only a few chapters on the actual war account. Overall, I found it depressing, but didn't want to judge too harshly, because, it's not my story.

Amanda Tero said...

@Ryana - now, it's been a while since I'd read "The Hiding Place," but thinking back, I guess I can see hints of that. I loved "Evidence Not Seen" (though it was more wartime prisoner than Christian prisoner).

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