Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Review of the book, Safely Home

I recently re-read a novel about the persecuted church in China. In Safely Home by Randy Alcorn, two worlds collide. After not seeing each other for twenty years, Ben Fielding, a wealthy American business executive, and Li Quan, a humble Chinese locksmith, are thrust into each other’s lives again. They had been roommates at Harvard years ago, but have had little contact since those times. That was when Ben thought he was a Christian and Quan had been a selfish, communist boy. However, Quan becomes a Christian and after graduating, heads back to China to answer the call of God on his life.

The years pass and Ben Fielding becomes the Vice President of a multi-million dollar, international business. He has gone through a divorce, he is estranged from his children, and he thinks life is all about him and making money. God has been crowded out of Ben’s life and he even fires his own cousin for taking a public stand for his Christian faith.

At what appears to be a normal business meeting, Ben’s boss throws out his “wonderful” plan to further the company’s foothold in China. Why not have someone from their company stay with a Chinese family? That way they’d be able to say the company knows China because they’ve lived there. Martin Getz, the president of the company and Ben’s boss, remembers that Ben Fielding’s old college roommate was Chinese. Ben is then told to find Li Quan and see if he can stay with him for six weeks! This is most definitely not to Ben’s liking, but he has his secretary begin a search for Quan.

Once Quan was found, Ben journeys overseas and stays with Quan’s family. On all his other trips, Ben Fielding has enjoyed the finest of all China has to offer. Dinner at the best restaurants, all the drinks he needs, and anything else he desires. When he arrives at Li Quan’s home, Ben is in for a rude awakening. The house isn’t the posh hotels he’d stayed at or the nice homes of his Chinese associates. It’s just a small, one room brick house, with a chicken coop and outhouse in the back, nothing too impressive by the world’s standards. This was just the beginning of the shock Ben was in for.

To cut a long story short, Ben starts realizing that the sterilized picture he’d seen of China on the news and on his business trips wasn’t all there was to the country. He had always thought religious freedom was allowed by the communist party and that there were fair human rights, but he finds out his old college roommate has been imprisoned multiple times for going to a house church and distributing Bibles. Near the end of the story, Mr. Fielding realizes that he was never truly born again and becomes a Christian due to the unwavering witness of Quan - even while he is in prison.

This novel is what stirred me up for the persecuted church when I read it the first time several years ago. On reading it again, I would have to say that God has again renewed my passion to get the message of the Persecuted out and for praying for our brothers and sister who are suffering for Christ’s sake. This book brings the cold realities of what Christians are going through in China to the light. I highly recommend it.

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