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On Faith: A story of heartache and hope

Pastor Jim Joseph

Living Waters Fellowship, Two Harbors

“Safely Home” by Randy Alcorn is a story about two men chosen by the Lord Jesus for greatness. Their unfolding story is being watched from heaven by Hudson Taylor and two Chinese martyrs. The first, Ben Fielding, is the up-and-coming vice-president of Getz International, a multinational corporation heavily invested in China’s newly-opened markets. The other is Ben’s old college roommate, Li Quan, a Harvard graduate who returned to China to teach and to share his faith, a faith he came to after many long conversations with Ben, who has since abandoned his faith and his family for the personal power and financial security of his career. In the end, Li Quan joins the noble band of martyrs and Ben rediscovers his faith and family.

One of my favorite passages in the book is found in the beginning of chapter 42 “The Watchers searched the earth, their eyes probing every tent, cave, hole, and dungeon. The King looked at the continents, his eyes searching from place to place. He would pause periodically, watch, and nod. In the Netherlands a small church gathered in its knees to pray for the persecuted…The King’s eyes now rested on a fifth-grade Sunday school class in America, as the children collected money. “This is all I earned last summer mowing lawn,’ said a boy. “This is the money I was saving for a bicycle,” said a little girl…The King watched, nodding and smiling…’Thank you,’ He said to the children. He turned to the men, women,

and angels of the watching heavens. ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mines, you did it for Me.’”

The book is a fictionalized account of the real persecution believers in Chinese experience every day. Using composites of many who suffered Alcorn details the realities of modern-day China: an experiment with free markets coupled with a fear of real freedom. No dissenting thought is tolerated, and individualism is subjugated to the body politic. Against this background, the believing Church is growing by phenomenal proportions. Their emphasis on personal evangelism and loyalty to another King, however, make believers very dangerous to China’s ruling elite. The concept of Christian Chinese, instead of Chinese Christians, is seen as disloyal at best, and traitorous at worst.

Chuck Colson called Randy Alcorn “one of the greatest storytellers among Christian writes today…” while Clive Calver, president of World Relief states “Alcorn shows us what it could be like to live and die for a faith that will last for eternity.” Safely Home is a must-read for every believer. It will challenge your faith and change the way you see the world. You will never again be able to read the label MADE IN CHINA without wondering…and praying.

In Hebrews 13:3 the writer encourages us to “remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated—since you yourselves are in the body also.” Today, Christians are being persecuted all over the globe. Islamic extremists in Syria have crucified many. In North Korea faith in Jesus Christ makes a person an enemy of the state marked for death. Many Christians live with the constant threat of harassment, torture, and death. Yet, the Church is growing exponentially. Justin Martyr, one of the early Church Fathers, wrote “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” That is certainly true today.

Safely Home is published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Ill.