The Insanity of God / The Insanity of Obedience
by Nik Ripken
In his first book “The Insanity of God” seem to me to be more of a inspirational book, just giving testimonies of people persecuted that he (Nik Ripken) interviewed. I loved some of the stories and they were very moving. The conclusion of the book was not very appealing to me because I felt like he was saying that he went to tell people about Jesus and ended up being told about Jesus (pretty much his words). I understand what he was saying, at least I think so, but I think the danger could be that people can translate it as “there’s no need for missionaries to go because they already have the Gospel everywhere”. I also think that it can be dangerous if people get the idea that instead of going to start churches, we just go find persecuted Christians and talk to them. Sounds exciting to find and talk to people who are living in restricted areas, but we must be careful to not make young people think that the Great Commission is only for restricted areas, the persecuted, or is already being done… so all we need to do is go get their stories (or as in some books, just give the money instead of send more missionaries). There are many great tools used and needed for getting the Gospel out, but the Great Commission still says “go” and we can’t replace that.
As far as “The Insanity of Obedience”, it was still inspirational (although he repeated several stories) but moved a little more towards informational. I certainly couldn’t agree with everything, but I found some great nuggets in his book. Here’s some of the great points in my opinion:
• For every 1 male in overseas service, there are approximately 7 women.
• Less than 10% of students at Christian colleges are studying or even considering going overseas.
• We think that others should share the Gospel and even be willing to be persecuted, yet we are not willing to let our own children go overseas to serve God.
• The only thing harder than going overseas, is sending our children overseas.
• When asked Muslim converts what they had learned from Western Christian missionaries, they responded that the missionaries taught them how to be afraid. (I personally have seen this traveling in restricted countries in both Asia and North Africa — some missionaries have made the converts more afraid of their government than they would have figured out on their own).
• One of the greatest problems of overseas missionaries is fear – fear of learning the language, putting the kids in the school, visas, harm, etc.
• Your fear is the greatest tool that you could ever give to the devil and overcoming your fear is the greatest danger to take from the devil.
• Many Christians around the world live in persecution, so comfort is not the norm, persecution is the norm.
• Often the fear of persecution is greater than the persecution itself.
• Witness is not a matter of freedom it’s a matter of obedience.
• Much of our building churches today has to do with taking care of the 99 sheep that have already been found and very little has to do with the 1 sheep that is lost.
• Discipleship should never be an excuse for not evangelizing.
• People who followed Jesus gave up something. People who follow a westerners want to get something.
• We cannot expect that spending a couple of hours a week will change someone – Jesus lived with His disciples 24/7.
• Our western style of teaching someone (when a student does not even know where the teacher/professor lives) is not effective if we truly want to get the job done.
• Discipleship should not be a mere transfer of information but learning of character.
I do not know the author, but several things point to being heavily charismatic – he talks about visions, healing, etc. He states (or heavily alludes to) someone getting saved and immediately turning into a house church leader.
I agree a new convert should get involved quickly and witness but I do not think he should be a “pastor/shepherd” right away.
So in conclusion, I thought there were some excellent and moving stories in the book. It should wake many people up. But if the underlying message is to not push sending missionaries rather go find those already saved (which is not a new philosophy), I would tend to disagree with that.