Inside the Revolution: How the Followers of Jihad, Jefferson, and Jesus Are Battling
Lives up to its name
Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed by this book. Lots of modern history. Lots of interviews. Lots of information to take in at one time. It's certainly not a quick read, so take the time to digest it. One thing is sure, though: Author Joel C. Rosenberg has access to people in the know when it comes to the Middle East. He is an expert, or at least has become one, on Middle Eastern history, Islam and conflicts that have plagued that area of the world. I'm impressed by his list of sources, which include heads of state (or their family members) from places like Morocco and Iraq.
I was uncomfortable, at first, with the tone of fear the book takes right off the bat. It almost prevented me from reading on. I don't like to live in fear of "what if" and the first few chapters are chock full of "what ifs" concerning Iran and nuclear weapons and global annihilation. I was pleased, though, by the end of the book, to see that the author offers a slew of practical ways Christians can respond to the conflicts.
This is not a light read, nor does it make for a good bedtime story. But I applaud Rosenberg for continually tackling a topic that is not only controversial but often ignored.
August 31, 2011
balanced view of threat and hope
Rosenberg distinguishes between the Muslim population who largely carries on with the status quo and the Muslim population that works for change. Inside the Revolution focuses mainly on the second group, which Rosenberg terms "Revolutionaries." In three parts, the book examines subsections of the Revolutionary group.
The "Radicals," according to Rosenberg, operate on the belief that "Islam is the answer. Jihad is the way." Rosenberg traces the recent history of this group throughout the Middle East and explains how the Radicals reason from the Koran that violent jihad is the only option. This first section examines how political decisions and Muslim extremism have led to the famous 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers and are now likely leading to a nuclear bomb in Iran.
Next, Rosenberg turns to the "Reformers," or those who believe that "Islam is the answer, but Jihad is not the way." Based on their entirely different interpretation of the Koran, this group of Muslims firmly opposes the terrorist tactics of the Radicals. Rosenberg provides snapshots of several Middle Eastern countries where Reformers have made considerable progress and zeroes in on several leaders of this movement. In various ways, they are working to stop terrorism, build friendly relations with non-Muslim countries, expand democracy in their countries, and free women and religious minorities from oppression.
The "Revivalists" are either former Muslims or nominal Christians from Muslim-majority countries who have come to believe deeply that "Islam is not the answer, and jihad is not the way. Jesus is the way." In most cases, the Revivalists are not as much concerned with political revolution as with spiritual. Rosenberg shares stories that have remained largely untold in the West about the spread of Christianity in Muslim countries. The Revivalists work through many methods, including satellite TV, radio, and face-to-face contact. They approach evangelism from different angles, too; some point out the problems with Islam, while others simply focus on the teachings of Jesus. But they all share these core convictions, according to Rosenberg:
* God loves all mankind, regardless of nationality, tribe, or religion.
* All mankind, however, is sinful and separated from God.
* Because God loves mankind so profoundly, He has provided the one hope for our salvation, Jesus Christ.
* Each person must choose whether to follow Jesus Christ.
* Those who choose to follow Christ must love their neighbors and enemies, regardless of nationality, tribe, or religion, and should strive to make disciples of all nations because Jesus has commanded these things.
The final chapter discusses the role readers may play in joining the Revolution. Rosenberg sums up these steps as follows: learn, pray, give, go.
Western Christians, the target audience for this book, often suffer from an overwhelmingly self-occupied mindset. We are concerned about world events only if they involve our citizens. We think 9/11 was the most shocking and horrific attack imaginable, yet we don't know or care that people are dying week after week around the world because of religiously motivated terrorism. Rosenberg confronts the dangers of such ignorance, dangers both to our way of life and to the well-being of millions of people.
But Rosenberg doesn't just sound the alarm on a growing threat. Through his examination of the Reformers and Revivalists, he also points to many reasons for hope. His practical tips at the end also show how everyday people can make a difference, even if we aren't millionaires, politicians, or gifted speakers.
Because "Inside the Revolution" focuses on current events, some references are already outdated and other events are simply missing because they hadn't occurred at the book's writing. Leaders come and go from power, people die, and so forth. However, much of the information is still current and helpful.
August 13, 2011
I haven't gotten very far yet but what I have read is very very informative. This book is a must read to understand what is happening now and what is going to happen in the future if this country doesn't wake up. A book for those who care beyond today.
December 29, 2009
Absolutely fascinating and eye opening book. Don't rely on the media to provide in depth information as Joel does. A must read for those who want to understand the Islamic threat.
December 7, 2009