Nik Ripken‘s new book, The Insanity of Obedience, incorporates some material from his first book, The Insanity of God, but takes the reader to a new level of discomfort. This book is not an easy read in the sense that western readers will see themselves and our churches in ways that make us squirm. But if we are willing to be uncomfortable, even convicted, the book has much to offer those who are serious about sharing the gospel.
I bought the book for my husband for Christmas, then promptly started reading it after he had opened his gift. A few days later I bought a Kindle version and started reading my own copy so he could read his. It’s hard for me to read without highlighting and I do like the highlight feature in the ebook version. Here are some of my highlights.
– You do not have to come back; you simply have to go.
– “Bible women” in China…There boldness was almost scary. Their ability to share the Good News of Jesus Christ every where they went was inspiring. Wanting to understand more…I listed to these women explain: “God has chosen men to pastor the house church with a mixed audience.” Then with sheer joy radiating from their faces, they added, “Look how good God is! God has given men the ministry of the church and He has given women responsibility for the rest of the world!”
– One enlightened brother said every Body of Christ who have a heart for the Nations needs four types of people: (1) Those who go, (2) Those who send, (3) Those who raise support for those who go, and (4) Those who welcome the Nations in their midst to their homes. Evaluate the obedience level of your church by these statements. Evaluate your commitment.
– What percentage of your time is spent being “sheep among sheep” or as “sheep among wolves”?
– We came to realize that believers could be unwittingly complicit with the persecutors by simply refusing to share their faith.
– We sometimes thank God that we live in countries where we are “free to worship.” It is interesting that public prayers are rarely uttered thanking God that we are “free to witness.”
– While we must find creative ways to stand with our brothers and sisters who are in settings of persecution, our primary way of identifying with them is by being consistent witnesses in our own environments. It is impossible to replace witness with money.
– Perhaps this is a brand new thought, but is it possible that persecution is simply the normal way of living for those who choose to follow Jesus?
– Perhaps the crucial question is not: How can I keep persecution from happening? Perhaps this is a better question: Why am I not being persecuted? If Jesus said that His followers should expect persecution, then why am I not being persecuted?
– What if the worst persecution today was having little or no access to Jesus? Am I a persecutor when I keep my faith to myself, only within the environment of the church?
– Census Christian? Member Christian? Practicing Christian? Committed Believer? Hidden Christian?
– Based on budgets, time and resources, what does our church or denomination care most about? Who do I care about? How many spiritual conversations do we have each week? How is success ultimately measured?
– The hardest task of all may be sending: giving and blessing our sons and our daughters to serve the Nations.
– Fear is the deadly enemy of the church. Your fear is the greatest tool you will ever give to Satan. Overcoming your fear is your greatest tool against Satan.
I am stopping this list of highlights with chapter 7. A lot of folks will stop reading at Chapter 7, “Lies, Lies, and More Lies” because Nik challenges a great deal in our church culture. These are not all of my highlights, just a few I chose for this blog. You need to read each of them in context to appreciate what Nik has to say, and to feel the discomfort. There are 24 chapters. I’ve got a lot more highlighting to do. More importantly, I have a lot more witnessing to do.