176 of 182 people found the following review helpful
on September 10, 2001
Let's face it, the title "Safely Home" has a placid, unappealing sound to it. In fact, before seeing the cover, I thought perhaps Randy was delving into the Christian romance market.
That all changed when I saw the Chinese writing on the dust jacket. Having travelled in China, smuggling Bibles and sharing my faith, I was intrigued. Then, I peeled back the jacket to discover the amazing picture of a Chinese believer held in Jesus' arms. Standing there in the bookstore, I was hit with emotion, with moisture in my eyes. Suddenly, the title "Safely Home" made sense. The persecution of the Chinese church is real, and Alcorn shows clearly the difference between the state church and the underground church. I've met some of these underground believers. Alcorn captures their heart for God in ways that I've never seen in fiction before. He captures much of the Chinese believers' humility and struggle in this heartfelt novel.
The contrast between two former college friends, one a Chinese doctor, the other an American businessman, is credible and lends itself perfectly to the contrast in their levels of faith. Through the looking glass of this story, Alcorn forces us to weigh our own faith. Do we know what it means to stand for our beliefs? Do we know what it means to pay a price for our integrity?
Although Alcorn can come across as preachy at times, he always has something worth saying. By mixing a fascinating cultural and spiritual struggle in a fictional form, he opens our hearts to hear the truth...The response is up to us.
155 of 163 people found the following review helpful
We could not put it down. My wife and I read this book in about a week. That week was one of the hardest weeks of our lives simply because of the fact that we couldn't wait to read some more. Even though we are asleep most of the time by 10 pm, we were up until 3 am on at least two occassions. If the un-put-down-ableness were the only thing going for this book, it would be occassion enough for the five-star rating. However, the fact that this book stirred up in us both a passion to share the Gospel, instilled a greater love for God, and humbled us greatly makes me want to give it six stars. Amazon, unfortunately won't let me.
I don't normally read Christian fiction...I don't normally read fiction at all. I usually would prefer books like Piper's "Desiring God", Stott's "Cross of Christ", and Mahaney's "Cross-Centered Life," but this book has made me aware of a whole genre of life-changing books which I would have downplayed had it not been for my encounter with this one. Please read it, enjoy it, and then pass it on.
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
on September 7, 2001
An insightful look into Christian persecution in China (and in the US, if you can call it persecution). The book presents a look into the life of the Chinese house church Christians and wraps it in a fictional, but very believable, story. As an Asian-American, I appreciated how well Randy Alcorn immersed the reader into the Chinese culture. The use of pinyin for key phrases throughout the book really made me believe I was there listening to them speak (though I believe "Zhen jin bu ba huo lian" should be "Zhen jin bu PA huo lian"). There's a lot of interesting information throughout the book about Chinese history and culture, language appreciation, persecution, and governmental corruption. It also takes on addressing several issues such as human rights, civil disobedience, God allowing suffering, and what is heaven like. While reading the book, it was apparent a lot of research and prayer went into it.
The book has personally challenged me to live a life of picking up the cross daily and to pray for those around me and the persecuted Christians throughout the world.
If you want to learn more about China and be challenged in your Christian walk, I'd highly recommend Safely Home.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I had "Safely Home" in my bookcase for at least a year before reading it, which is amazing considering how much I loved Deadline and Dominion by this author. I've just never been too interested in the Orient, and when I saw that the story took place in China, I kept putting other books ahead of this one. Thank God someone happened to mention how good it was. I was completely captivated from the beginning. Li Quan lived and breathed for me...this hero made me really stop to think about courage and commitment to God. Watching the slow conversion of his visiting classmate from college days was so satisfying. Li Quan was the kind of man who preaches a sermon silently, through his manner of living and coping with hardship. The persecution of Christians in China is a sad reality. I honestly cannot see how anyone could help but love this book. The story line is exceptional, the characterization is superb, and the message is life-changing. You simply can't close the cover of Safely Home and not look for a charity that distributes Bibles to the Christians in China. Another thing you can't do is ignore the message: God may require the supreme sacrifice from those who truly love Him and follow Him with steadfast faith. Few of us will ever be called to give our lives for our faith, but we must be WILLING to do so. And it is our eternal destination that really matters. Safely Home will entertain you immensely, but that is the least of what you'll gain by reading it! Please do get this book, and pass it along to a good friend after you've read it.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2001
Safely Home is a must read book. As always Randy takes us places where we should go more often and think about more frequently. He takes real facts and truth and weave's them into a very thought and prayer provoking fictional story. I was unaware of the Chinese Chrisian history as well as the persecution that they are under and endure. Safely Home is a very sobering and kind message for me, a Christian in such an affluent land of the free. I love Randy's charactures and excellent perspective of heaven. Safely Home, as well as his other novels never cease to make me laugh, cry, or well up with joy over the areas of my heart he obviously (no doubt from experience) knows how to touch. Another excellent Alcorn novel.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2006
Not being someone who is easily moved, I could never have anticipated the effect this book would have on me.
I stayed up two nights in a row until 3AM to finish it. I almost literally could not put it down.
Randy Alcorn follows an interesting style of interweaving numerous facts about how God is moving in China and the nation and culture itself with the storyline. The story was relentlessly compelling, the characters were incredibly real, and the perspective changes between earth and heaven were unique and dangerously joyful.
Be careful reading this, it -will- change your life. I absolutely recommend this book to anyone, I thank God that I read it, and plan on circulating my copy as much as possible.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2001
This book is much more than a story you can't put down, it has opened the eyes of my heart to the cry of the persecuted believers in China. I had no idea to what extent the Chinese have to suffer for their faith and Randy's book moves you there to experience their life of courage and pain. Not only do you feel transported to another compeletely different country but you are given a glimpse of heaven's perspective on our trials and of the glory that awaits those who have stood the test and suffered for their faith. This book has changed my life by opening up my heart to my brothers and sisters in the faith who live so passionately for Christ. I realize my responsiblity to pray for them and to share my faith when I have much less at stake. I am utterly inspired.
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2001
Randy Alcorn has written his BEST novel ever!!! I have read all of his novels and "Safely Home" has climbed to the top of my list and is neck to neck with "Deadline" also by Alcorn and in my top ten list of best Christian Fiction books. I too was initially skeptical by the title of the book "Safely Home" and also was distracted by the Chinese Characters written on the cover of the book. PLEASE DO NOT let that stop you from reading this LIFE CHANGING novel!!!!
The story centers around two old college friends who were once roomates and bestfriends. Ben is an American living in the US and is now a promonient, wealthy business man and a divorced father of two. Li-Chen is Chinese, who after studying in the US, moved back to China and has been living there as a locksmith's assistant with his wife & son in a one-room cottage. The two men are reunited during Ben's business trip to China. Ben, who originally introduced Li-Chen to the Lord, has grown cold in his faith and his life focus has shifted to wealth and material things. Li-Chen has grown tremendously as a Christian in China where Christianity is illegal and punishable by the law. When the two friends reunite after many years, the Lord works miraculously in both men's lives and they are changed by their experiences and the work of the Lord in their lives forever.
This book will make you angry and will also bring you to tears...but most importantly- this book will really make you examine your own personal relationship with God and what true "SERVICE TO THE LORD" is really about.
If we are not living each day in light of Christ's return, we need to step back and re-examine our lives. The characters in Alcorn's novel will stay imprinted in your heart and mind forever. This is truly a deep and life-changing novel! Run, don't walk and get a copy of this book and read it! When you finish, pass it on to someone else who is not saved or who needs a "kickstart" in their walk with God. Hopefully, this book will encourage all of us to live our lives in light of eternity, with the goal of making it "Safely Home."
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2006
Lord, make me what You will
I put myself fully in your hands
Put me to doing, put me to suffering
Let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you
Let me be full, let me be empty
Let me have all things, let me have nothing
I freely and with a willing heart
Give it all to your pleasure and disposal. Amen.
Reading "Safely Home" reminded me of this prayer. At church, the pastors give us the option of whether or not to recite it - as one might imagine, it is a "dangerous" prayer, because God could take our word for it, and "put us to suffering", or "lay us aside", or "let me have nothing"!
The story of Li Quan and the Chinese church seems very much like that. Though he topped his Harvard class, could have eked out a very comfortable existence in the US or China (as an atheist), he professes his faith at his job interviews and fails to land any job that pays well. In China, there is a real price to pay as a child of God, again, a reminder that the "middle class" Christianity we think is normal is not normal at all in some countries.
I finished this book in 2 days, couldn't put it down at all, cried at parts, and will now be buying copies to give away. It is one of the most transformational books I've read! It's making me re-examine my life in the light of eternity. Martyrdom is a big theme throughout the book, and while most of us would not be called upon to lay down our lives for God, nevertheless, if He should, are we willing? In short, Safely Home is sobering, uplifting and inspirational all at once. Highly recommended!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on May 24, 2002
When I first started reading this book, I thought that Ben Fielding's character was rather one-dimensional. "Christian 'outgrows' his faith, then rediscovers it" can be rather formulaic and poorly-written. But Fielding's transition is gradual; there isn't one defining moment that makes him realize he's chasing after nothingness. In perhaps the strongest example of this, while Fielding's pursuit of human channels to correct problems is noble, his *reliance* on them (and not God) is vain. Li Quan knows this immediately and intimately; Fielding takes the whole book to discover this.
Li Quan's friendship is incredible. He truly loves Fielding, not with just phileo, but with agape. Although it takes him a while to realize that Fielding has abandoned his faith, when he does, nothing changes (except the emphasis of Li's prayers).
What is most striking, though, is Li's faith (and that of his friends and family) in the face of increasing adversity. The book reveals the (real) snowjob that the Chinese government is giving the rest of the world. Life for Christians in China is *not* getting better; if anything, it's getting worse. "Safely Home" gives a jarring, thought-provoking picture of what it means to be a Christian in China, and the opportunities we are squandering on a daily basis in America.