Customer Reviews

829
4.9 out of 5 stars
The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:$8.99 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2013
The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken (with Gregg Lewis) is a soul-searching book that surpasses some missionary books and blogs I have read by its raw delivery.

Nik Ripken is a pseudonym. Some of the names in his stories have been made-up to protect those Christians in persecuted countries from discovery by their governments. It's a book that takes us around the world as Nik interviews believers from countries hostile to Christianity. Intermixed in the book is his testimony.

Nik grew up a non-believer. He didn't have the traditional church background like his wife, Ruth. He became a believer, dated Ruth, and their marriage began with a commitment to follow Jesus. Nik almost made me cry on page 54 when at Nik and Ruth's wedding, Nik's mom intended to divorce Nik's father. Coming from a committed Christian family, Ruth felt shock.

Ruth and Nik's mutual commitment to follow Jesus at all costs took them to the Horn of Africa. The early part of the book speaks about their beginnings and their work in learning a variety of African languages. Nik's focus though became the country of Somalia, and in the early nineties it was war torn. Ruth and Nik were a team and after moving around the Horn of Africa learning to be missionaries, they settled in Nairobi and formed a relief organization of their own.

Nik made many trips into Somalia, staying sometimes for days to map out the needs, making local contacts, and researching how their new relief organization could help, but Somali caught Nik unaware. The starvation, the deaths, and the inward fighting left Nik feeling helpless. His Americanized faith did not prepare him for spreading the Gospel in a country that had maybe one or two believers in it. Persecution was common.

When Nik's organization air dropped aid supplies to Somalia, villages would flock to it. The next day Muslims would arrive in the village, beat the men and rape the women for simply taking western aid. The Muslims warned the village that if aid was accepted again worse would happen. Nik found this frustrating how evil seemed to have the upper hand. In several areas Nik spoke about what was happening in Somalia as evil. Never have I read a missionary's story that read so intense. The last one I read felt glossed over in what they experienced as if the area was not that dangerous. Nik effectively communicates and describes his experiences in Somalia, Nairobi, China, former Eastern Block countries, and Russia without padding anything. It doesn't feel like he is holding anything back.

Nik was in Somalia at the time when the events of "Black Hawk Down" occurred. Nik worked in Somalia for a month at a time, spending the in-between times in Nairobi with his family. Nik struggled to cope with the starvation he witnessed and the frustration of only serving the Somalians physical needs. Many events challenged Nik.

A woman in a village tried to force her child on him. He wrote, "I was overwhelmed with the desperation of those mothers. I wondered what I would have done if it was my family that was starving. Would I consider giving away my son if that was the only possible way that he would live? The questions haunted me." (pg. 58).

Then, Nik's son, Tim, dies from an asthma caused cardiac arrest. Tim was a teenager. This event triggered Nik's questions. He and Ruth had always wondered just how far they would go for Jesus. Wasn't faith supposed to be easier?

Tim's death was the catalyst in Nik's worldwide search for answers. At first, the purpose was to find out how Christians in countries hostile to Christianity survived for purposes of learning how to reach Nik's beloved Somali's. In all actuality, the wound caused by the death of Tim made Nik reach out to believers in other countries.

He went to Russia and the Ukraine to interview people who once lived under the Iron Curtain. God showed up supernaturally in every country in ways that could make even the most disbelieving human being question his own atheism. This happened in China and the other countries he visited, too.

What struck me was when God spoke to him in an underground church in China. The hard truth Nik spoke would have in this country brought on accusations of being judgemental to these underground churches. Nik wanted to help them financially, but God silenced him literally. Out of the millions of believers, a few hundred were struggling, starving families. God instead asked Nik to relay this message:

"If ten million believers in your movement cannot take care of four hundred families, do you have the right to call yourselves the Body of Christ, the Church, or even followers of Jesus?"

The shock the underground church displayed melted into conviction. They swore to take care of the four hundred hurting families. The underlying theme in the book got through to me.

Most believing Christians in hostile countries embrace persecution as normal, "like the sun rising in the east." Hearing stories of God moving worldwide like in Old and New Testament times reminded me how Americans are soft when it comes to their faith and how we take the Bible for granted. In China, a leader of an underground church is not trusted until they've been to prison at least once. Tales of Muslims encouraged through visions and dreams to seek Jesus and finding Bibles, even in an Islamic book store, was amazing.

The Insanity of God woke up my faith.

Even though there were times when the change of font was distracting and I felt that the end of the book lacked the punch it had throughout, going on too long towards the end, I gave this book five stars. I've never heard a missionary speak like this in person or in any book or blog I've read. It's always been about support raising or I felt missionaries were holding back in some way, but The Insanity of God made me realize how much I take God for granted. Even though I've witnessed some supernatural answer to prayer, living in America can make you complacent.

And why not? Some of our churches are as large as college campuses. We don't worry about being shot, bombed, or imprisoned here. In fact, we try to do things ourselves without inviting God into it or letting Him show us He can handle our situations. This book made me re-think my faith.

* Book given by publisher to review.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2013
I didn't want to read this book. Why? Reasons l am not proud of. I felt compelled, so I finally did. I am for ever changed. There is no going back once you read this account of God s people. Jesus is really alive in our present world. Reader, beware your heart will be rent for Jesus.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
It would be wrong to say I "enjoyed" reading this book. Perhaps "appreciated" is the appropriate word, though to my ears it sounds too weak. Almost "haunted," but not in a creepy way. More in a Holy Spirit pursued-kind-of-way. Certainly the many accounts of faithfulness under the most extreme pressure inspired me and moved me emotionally. But what I appreciate most about this book is the way it serves as a corrective to our American, western-tilted understanding of what a life of following Jesus means and requires. Here is not just a call to faith, but to faith shining forth as faithfulness ... at any cost. If you are like me you'll read it and then talk about it. A lot. But you'll think about it even more, your heart simply unable to get free of a number of the timeless, crystallized statements of truth. Burrs lodged in the heart--heaven-sent irritants that strangely work in a healing sort of way.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
This is an honest look at how western Christians so incorrectly understand persecution of the Church. Nik is open and honest with his triumphs and struggles. You cannot walk away from this book without being burdened for Christian brothers and sisters around the world.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 14, 2013
This books is pretty amazing, but it's not really the book itself. It is the God that this book points to - Jesus Christ. This book illustrates and puts on display the reality of New Testament Christianity that still exists in the world today despite what we see weekly in the West.

The book is really in two parts. The first half of the book is Nik's story. Nik was a relief worker/missionary in Somalia in the early 90s (not a safe place to be). He tells the story of the brokenness he witnessed in his years there trying to share Christ while trying to meet the overwhelming physical needs of Somalians. Intermingled with this account is a brief autobiography of Nik's life growing up in Kentucky and being led to reach the nations for Christ. This first half of the book is heart breaking and the reader will soon be brought to ask the same questions that Nik was asking at the time. Where is God in such a broken place? How can you tell others of Jesus when even the use of Christian vocabulary could get you or someone close to you killed?

These questions linger as the second half of the book follows Nik's life in the years following Somalia. These tough questions regarding the persecution of Christians in the hard places of the world lead Nik on a mission to pretty much everywhere around the world. He begins to search out persecuted believers in Russia, China, and other places in order to learn from them. How did they survive? How did they stay faithful to Christ? These multiple stories of God's power and faithfulness brought me to tears of joy that helped calm my tears of grief from the first half of the book.

This book is a journey. It's a journey with Nik as he experiences faith shaking, question raising realities and then seeks answers. Read this book and please finish this book. It is worth it. Let this book marinate in your mind and let God light in your heart a passion to reach the nations for Christ. Let God use this book to help you never take for granted the unbelievable privileges we have as Christians in the West. Let God use this book to propel you out in obedience to Jesus even if it means losing everything. Christ is worth it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2013
God has used this book and the stories within to cause me to think differently, believe differently and it's caused me to resolve to live differently. I'm young, and I can't imagine the magnitude of all the ways the stories and the message of this book is sure to have on my life in the future.

I would highly recommend this book to anybody! The stories and the message within are both life changing and very entertaining/gripping. You don't have to be a biblical scholar or a pastor to get a lot of it!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
37 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2014
I recently finished reading the book, and I also heard the author speak this week on a local radio network. Having both read and heard him, I have drawn a few conclusions. I think that he should have had another person from his organization do the interviews with him so that what he is saying could be verified. I sense a degree of " missionary embellishment " in these accounts. I have been doing the same kind of work for more than 20 years, in many of the identicle places that the author has been, and have worked with some of the persecuted church in those same areas. The persecuted do not embellish their accounts as much as the author does. I also question the things he attributes to the work of the Holy Spirit. That sounds much like charismaniac fantasy, rather than the actual work of the Holy Spirit. Attributing something to the Holy Spirit when it is not His work, is dangerous. I do think that his account of the Chinese pastors wanting money, is almost certainly accurate. I have done much work among the Chinese people and can say that he almost certainly drew large groups of pastors because they were hoping to get funds from him. If you look at many of the house-church pastors' standards of living, you will find they drive vehicles that many of their parishioners cannot nearly afford. There is theological corruption in their ranks as there is also in ours. As I listened to the author on the radio this week, I also noticed that he attempted to put a guilt trip on the hearers. If the author's work were genuinely lead by the Holy Spirit, then it is not necessary to make people feel guilty because they are not persecuted. The Holy Spirit is very capable of working without our help. However, the book was well-written and great story-telling enhanced its readability.
77 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2014
Good reflections on persecution and general suffering. Inspiring stories of faith and devotion among persecuted Christians. Best part of the book is his applications toward the end.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2013
First, I need to alert the reader that I personally know the author behind the pseudonym, "Nik Ripken". I've attended conferences he's led on the persecuted church. I've met his wife. I actually went to seminary with his brother-in-law. I once even enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on the rooftop terrace of his home in east Africa. I first heard about Nik Ripken some ten years ago at a training conference for strategy coordinators led by representatives of the International Mission Board of the SBC. At an isolated conference center in the Oxfordshire countryside west of London, I listened in amazement to accounts of his research on the persecuted church. I was part of a select group of mission strategists privileged to actually read his report--a document so explosive--so sensitive in nature--that even now I dare not list its title in this review. And I have long been frustrated that those amazing stories of faith persevering and thriving in the teeth of brutal persecution could not be publically shared for fear of adding to the suffering of God's people. The Insanity of God has finally relieved some of that frustration.

Nik Ripken conducted the most important and comprehensive research on the persecuted church ever attempted in 2,000 years of Christian history. Decades from now, when it is finally safe to publish that research in its entirety, future generation will place it alongside other mission classics such as the Journal of William Carey and Roland Allen's Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? It will be required reading in seminaries. Missionary candidates will comb its pages for wisdom as they develop strategies for evangelizing the unreached. Until then, if you are not one of the few included in that very limited "need to know" group, may I heartily recommend The Insanity of God.

In its pages the author shares some of the more poignant stories of faith under persecution that were a part of his original research. To do this he has had to change names and some other identifying details in order to protect those involved from needless reprisals. In one particular case I happened to know the story told in considerable detail, so I can personally vouch for the fact that the thrust of what is told in The Insanity of God is absolutely accurate. And believe me, there is no exaggeration in these pages. What made it into print is an understatement of what actually happened. The full story is even more incredible than what you will read.

Even though I had studied the original research, I learned a great deal reading The Insanity of God. It was especially revealing about the background of Nik Ripken. This gave me a fuller appreciation of his life and work. Nik is not a physically imposing guy. He seems altogether ordinary when you meet him. But appearances can deceive. We're talking Mr. Rogers here: with the valor and audacity of a Navy SEAL.

Reading that original research was an emotionally and spiritually shattering experience for me. Reading The Insanity of God will similarly affect you. It will inspire, horrify, and convict you. You will be amazed by what God is doing in some of the toughest mission fields on earth. You will be shaken by the relentlessness of the enemy. You will be moved to tears--both of sorrow and of joy. It will strengthen your faith. And it will shame you for the shallowness of your own discipleship when confronted by the incredible sacrifices of believers in these places of persecution. And just maybe--and I know this is the desire of the author--it will persuade you that the life of a missionary, be it on the other side of the street or on the other side of the world, is the life you need to be living. This is a dangerous book to read. Approach with caution.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2013
Heart wrenching, eye opening, powerful testimony of the impossible task of converting thankless, murderous, ungrateful muslims trapped in the hellish lie that is islam. The author directed by Almighty GOD to go into a country where being a Christian is illegal and more often then not a death sentence to save the children of Ishmael.

The BIBLE states rightly so that Ishmael would act as a WILD ASS and that Ismael's hand would be against everyone and everyone's had would be against Ishmael. It is in Somalia where the author and his family go to an ungrateful, hate filled, murderous people to render them aid. The muslims of Somalia respond to this by murdering the loving Christians who at great personal expense came to Somilia to help them.

It is only the Divine love of JESUS CHRIST in the aid workers which is able to overcomes the EVIL of the false prophet mohammad and his murderous followers.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed

The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places
The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places by Nik Ripken (Paperback - January 1, 2014)
$14.01

 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations