Exile, persecution and tortue. Jesus told His followers that they should expect this type of treatment from the world. Those of us who live in the Western world often lose sight of the difficulties that Christians face in other parts of the globe. It is books like The Bible or the Axe, the biography of William Levi, than tend to shake us up a little bit, reminding us of the inestimable blessing of having freedom of worship.
William Levi is a Messianic believer from an African Hebrew tribal group in Sudan. When only a child his family was forced to flee religious persecution and they settled as refugees in the wilderness of Uganda. They lived there happily as subsistence farmers, growing all they needed for their survival. When the time of persecution seemed to come to a close they returned to Sudan, but after only a short respite the Muslim leadership began a new program of systemic persecution against Christians. Levi, when only a teenager, was arrested and tortured as his captors sought to convert him to Islam. He refused, trusting that the promises of God were worth far more than his life. While being taken to his place of execution he made a miraculous escape and eventually made his way out of the country and to the United States of America.
In the years since coming to America, Levi founded Operation Nehemiah Missions International and has told his story to millions. He continues to bring awareness to the persecution faced by believers in Sudan and elsewhere.
The Bible or the Axe is quite an interesting book. It is well-written and is sure to bring attention to a group of believers that desperately need our prayers. There were one or two places where I had small concerns about the author’s theology, especially in his understanding of the differences between Protestant and Roman Catholic theology, but this did little to detract from the impact of this stirring story. I have no trouble recommending it.