This week’s book is Too Many to Jail by Mark Bradley. Bradley has written other works on Iran and the Christian faith, one of which is very much an academic study (isbn: 978-1441111678). I am not overly familiar with Bradley’s overall work, and so I will proceed on the assumption that he is competent with his work. If that assumption is shown false, that would invalidate my opinions in this review.
One thing we constantly hear in Western Christianity is how the church is “declining” and that Christians are disappearing from the world. Too Many to Jail provides the case for one nation, Iran, where this is apparently untrue. While much of the press coverage of Iran focuses on the Christians jailed in Iran for their belief, the title concept is that the Church is growing too rapidly in Iran for the oppressors to jail them all.
I found this an encouraging read because it reaffirms that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not stopped by wicked people who fight it. As we see Christianity lose its place of primacy in the United States, it is a valuable reminder that the Gospel will not be extinguished. If Christians can be faithful in Iran, then there is little to fear that Christianity will not survive anywhere else.
Additionally, I found this book an effective call to prayer for the Church in Iran. By providing stories of people taking on daily life in the face of earthly danger, I am challenged to pray for the people. I appreciated the connection to www.iran30.org for actual needs.
A side benefit, likely not intended by the author, is how a work like this strengthens one’s theology related to prayer. For security reasons, most of the personally identifiable information about the people who are the Church in Iran is obscured—name changes, etc. Still, while praying for them, one is aware that God comprehends who we are praying for, even if we do not know the right names.
I found this also a challenging read. There are two reasons—the first being the typical response to a book on persecution issues. I have it easy, why don’t I do more? And why are churches in easy places dying while churches in hard places are growing?
The other reason is this: in the current day, there are many concerns about the leadership of Iran. It is very easy to get wrapped up in the idea that the nation of Iran needs to just go away—through whatever force is necessary. Yet Bradley clearly reminds us here that the nation of Iran is, like any other nation, made up of people that God so loved that He gave His only begotten Son. This should dull the talons of the hawk a bit…
In all, I cannot find any real fault with Bradley’s work. It obviously truncates many stories and statistics, giving only a portion of the story because of the needed length. I also know that some would like a fuller treatment of the theology of the Church in Iran, while this work treats as Christian all those who the government and Revolutionary Guard would treat as Christian.
I have no reservations, and think this would be a great read for the Christian seeking to know more about the world in which we live. Including, and perhaps especially, those who advocate international involvement inside of Iran.
I did receive a copy of this book from Kregel.
Also: on sale for Kindle this week! Click below for the deal!