The Insanity of God book review

The Insanity of God book review
10 Point Rating10
10Overall Score

Date read: 04.14.2017. How strongly I recommend it: 10/10.

The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, by Nik Ripkin on Amazon.

See my Kindle highlights here.

TARGET AUDIENCE

The title itself is provocative enough to elicit a curious response from the potential reader. This book (and subsequently, the movie) has seen great success among Christians who are interested in learning about religious persecution around the world. The initial draw—much like that of the author’s—may be for the noble purposes of prayer, understanding how to help persecuted Christians, or to understand what can be done to stop persecution around the world. The reader will, however, be surprised to understand the deeper biblical truths that the author reveals with statements like this: “So if our goal is reducing persecution, that task is easily achieved. First, just leave Jesus alone. Second, if you do happen to find Him, just keep Him to yourself. Persecution stops immediately where there is no faith and where there is no witness.” Powerful words for the Western Christian who understands little about firsthand persecution. This book promises to challenge and inspire believers to perceive the comprehensive pretext of Christian suffering around the world.

CONTENT QUALITY

The Insanity of God is arranged flawlessly. The author transitions between his personal background and his many years in Somalia (and subsequently, the numerous other countries he later visits). The self-portrait he depicts is a humble mid-America country boy, or what I might call and unassuming misfit—the kind of vessel that God most often chooses to display His glory. This book is a page turner. As each chapter came to a close, I found it impossible to put down. I had to hear what happened next. The author’s writing style is easy to digest, yet at the same time, it seems to lift the reader to another level via its simplicity. His dramatic accounts of the horrific persecution and human struggle that he witnessed are often unfathomable. Still, the author is adept at helping the reader see, feel, hear, and sense the realities that are so foreign to Western Christians. The author states that “much of the time this pilgrimage has felt to me like an endless bumbling, stumbling, wandering, feeling-my-way-in-the-dark ordeal.” I felt that his bumbling and stumbling serve as a powerful witness of God’s grace and glory.

MESSAGE CLARITY

I thoroughly enjoyed the flow of this book. Each chapter reveals a little bit more about the reality of Christian suffering and the goodness of God’s heart. “Before we can grasp the full meaning of the resurrection, we first have to witness or experience crucifixion.” Throughout the book, one is left to wonder with the author, Can God be trusted? What is the point of persecution? What does it all mean? Toward the end of the book, however, things become clear: “Perhaps the question should not be: ‘Why are others persecuted?’ Perhaps the better question is: ‘Why are we not?’” For me, the most powerful statement in the entire book is this: “For decades now, many concerned Western believers have sought to rescue their spiritual brothers and sisters around the world who suffer because they choose to follow Jesus. Yet our pilgrimage among house churches in persecution convinced us that God may actually want to use them to save us from the often debilitating, and sometimes spiritually-fatal, effects of our watered-down, powerless Western faith.”

CREATIVE STYLE

As a reader, I felt as if I myself received a sort of “debriefing” while journeying through this book. The author does an exceptional job of displaying the insane struggles of people all over the world, and at times I felt an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. The author himself loses his son as death followed him home from Somalia. But then a sudden burst of light falls over the pages as I debrief with the author in his home, surrounded by a group of college students who care. They have come to listen to the author’s tremendous experiences, and as he shares, he finds solace and comfort from the Holy Spirit. I felt this with him. I was there. I lived within the pages of this book with him, and I have come out with the author empowered, our faith strengthened, ready to take the message of salvation to the ends of the earth simply because Jesus is worth it all.

LANGUAGE SELECTION

Though the text was not overly peppered with large words (something I generally enjoy), the author’s storytelling ability truly challenged me. His simple descriptions of people and places allowed me, the observer, to experience life together with his characters. Another notable observation: the book was beautifully devoid of redundancy. Typically, with a narrative like this, the author makes the mistake of saying the same thing over and over in similar ways and ends up wearing down the reader. Not so with The Insanity of God. The text was as refreshing and genuine as it was humble and inspiring.

OVERALL IMPACT

Though this book may be considered an easy read, the stories linger for a long time. This book is unlike most other books about persecution. There is an apparent “humanity” overlaid upon the statistics and numbers. The book is not at all theoretical. It is actual—an apt portrait of powerful encounters that reveal God ever in the midst of His suffering Church. Do you desire to understand the heart of God in a deeper way? This book is for you!

10 POINT RATING

I give The Insanity of God a 10/10.

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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