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Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire

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For years, Christians have fled from the horrific conflict in the Middle East. Today, in the land where the church began, less than two percent of the people in Israel, West Bank and Gaza are Christians. Yet that remnant holds the hope for peace-if they can only persevere in faith and not be discouraged. Light Force is the remarkable story of Brother Andrew's mission to see For years, Christians have fled from the horrific conflict in the Middle East. Today, in the land where the church began, less than two percent of the people in Israel, West Bank and Gaza are Christians. Yet that remnant holds the hope for peace-if they can only persevere in faith and not be discouraged. Light Force is the remarkable story of Brother Andrew's mission to seek out the church in the Middle East, learn about its conditions and needs, and do whatever he can to strengthen what remains. Through dramatic true stories, readers get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at real people affected by the centuries-old conflicts in this volatile part of the world. Now available in paper, this gripping account of the church caught in the crossfire will captivate readers everywhere.


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For years, Christians have fled from the horrific conflict in the Middle East. Today, in the land where the church began, less than two percent of the people in Israel, West Bank and Gaza are Christians. Yet that remnant holds the hope for peace-if they can only persevere in faith and not be discouraged. Light Force is the remarkable story of Brother Andrew's mission to see For years, Christians have fled from the horrific conflict in the Middle East. Today, in the land where the church began, less than two percent of the people in Israel, West Bank and Gaza are Christians. Yet that remnant holds the hope for peace-if they can only persevere in faith and not be discouraged. Light Force is the remarkable story of Brother Andrew's mission to seek out the church in the Middle East, learn about its conditions and needs, and do whatever he can to strengthen what remains. Through dramatic true stories, readers get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at real people affected by the centuries-old conflicts in this volatile part of the world. Now available in paper, this gripping account of the church caught in the crossfire will captivate readers everywhere.

30 review for Light Force: A Stirring Account of the Church Caught in the Middle East Crossfire

  1. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    I read this straight after reading God's Smuggler which is Brother Andrew's first book. It find it incredible that he moved his ministry from one part of the world to somewhere completely different and then just carried on working for God. This is the main lesson I took from the two books. It was because of the phenomenal success of "God Smuggler" that he was prevented from returning to Eastern Europe. Maybe at this point most of us would've given up and taken the easy option but not Brother And I read this straight after reading God's Smuggler which is Brother Andrew's first book. It find it incredible that he moved his ministry from one part of the world to somewhere completely different and then just carried on working for God. This is the main lesson I took from the two books. It was because of the phenomenal success of "God Smuggler" that he was prevented from returning to Eastern Europe. Maybe at this point most of us would've given up and taken the easy option but not Brother Andrew. He prayed for direction and believed God was calling him to the Middle East. Light Force describes his ministry there amongst Churches mainly witnessing to Muslims in many different settings. His courage is a challenge and an inspiration as he looks to God to protect him from those who have terror on their minds and in their hearts. The level of detail is very interesting as he describes the conflict from the perspective of Christians and Muslims on both sides of the Israel/Palestinian divide. I have given this 4 stars purely due to some charismatic content which I don't subscribe to but as with his first book this is not the focus of the book. I would recommend this book to those wanting to understand the roots of the conflict in the Middle East from a Biblical perspective and also to those looking for inspiration for missionary work.

  2. 5 out of 5

    J. Alfred

    Brother Andrew (the God Smuggler guy- read that too) says that what Communism was for the last half of the twentieth century is what Islam will be for the next hundred years, that is, the big Other, the worldview that tries to challenge Christianity on its own terms. This book, in any case, is about the mission that Brother Andrew and his organization are on to shine the light into the Middle East, especially Palestine. It is astonishing, and it helps one understand the politics, the tensions, a Brother Andrew (the God Smuggler guy- read that too) says that what Communism was for the last half of the twentieth century is what Islam will be for the next hundred years, that is, the big Other, the worldview that tries to challenge Christianity on its own terms. This book, in any case, is about the mission that Brother Andrew and his organization are on to shine the light into the Middle East, especially Palestine. It is astonishing, and it helps one understand the politics, the tensions, and the hope for that region. It is worth mentioning that I borrowed this book from a couple who will be going on a year long mission trip to Bethlehem in a month or so. Aslan, friends, is on the move.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Christopher

    Arguably one of the most important books I have ever read...should be required reading for all western Christians. The church has let our Palestinian brothers and sisters down. No doubt in my mind that this fact breaks Jesus' heart. Not to mention hindering the spread of The Gospel in the Middle East. As Brother Andrew says there will be no peace in the Middle East until they know the Prince of Peace. And FWIW the author's love for the Palestinian people in no way detracts from his love for Isra Arguably one of the most important books I have ever read...should be required reading for all western Christians. The church has let our Palestinian brothers and sisters down. No doubt in my mind that this fact breaks Jesus' heart. Not to mention hindering the spread of The Gospel in the Middle East. As Brother Andrew says there will be no peace in the Middle East until they know the Prince of Peace. And FWIW the author's love for the Palestinian people in no way detracts from his love for Israel, but the truth is the truth and there are fallen folks on both side of that particular equation. Please read this book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Corrine

    I give this book a 4 because it is an important topic, but not because of great writing. It dragged for me often and I don't always theologically agree with it, but it IS important to become aware of the church in the Middle East.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Janette

    Many people will be familiar with Brother Andrew's first book God's Smuggler, but did you know that once this book became a best seller Brother Andrew was no longer able to visit communist countries? The work of Open Doors, the organization he founded, expanded into other countries where Christians struggled to follow their faith in a hostile environment. Light Force tells the story of Brother Andrew's passion to support struggling churches in the Middle East, and to encourage them in their evang Many people will be familiar with Brother Andrew's first book God's Smuggler, but did you know that once this book became a best seller Brother Andrew was no longer able to visit communist countries? The work of Open Doors, the organization he founded, expanded into other countries where Christians struggled to follow their faith in a hostile environment. Light Force tells the story of Brother Andrew's passion to support struggling churches in the Middle East, and to encourage them in their evangelism towards the dominant culture. Brother Andrew's work also involves being a facilitator to draw Messianic and Palestinian Christians, and Muslims and Christians together. The book is divided into four unequal parts. The first part explains Brother Andrew's mission to help the church in the Middle East. The second part outlines the history of Lebanon from 1979 - 1989 and tells of its devastating effect on the lives of Lebanese Christians. Part 3, describes the tragedy of the divided city of Jerusalem and tells how Open Doors and Brother Andrew support a range of different outreaches for Christians and non-Christians (including meetings with Hamas leaders and others). The final part describes the Intifada, tells how it is affects people's daily lives and how we, as the church in the west, could respond. Most parts of the book are about different Middle East countries set in different times and this was confusing initially. The book is written in an easy to read style and includes considerable dialogue and personal stories that bring this whole tragic situation to life in a very dramatic way. Brother Andrew does not comment on the political situation in these troubled countries. At the back of the book there are references to other organizations working in the Middle East, a selected bibliography and a short profile of the authors. As Brother Andrew says "there is no 'happily ever after' conclusion. The conflict in the Middle East isn't resolved. There has been no peace accord. Readers want results, conversions, etc but I can't produce those. I can only ask the question, What if I had not gone?" "Christianity in the Middle East cannot be allowed to fade away as it is the birthplace of our faith and stands as a beacon of hope to the rest of the world."

  6. 4 out of 5

    João Paulo Müller Mamede

    I really enjoyed this book for it touches a very hard, but beautiful and important aspect of Christianity: we must forgive our enemies. It is not possible through the human efforts, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. I fully understand that the conflict has been horrible for the Innocents and also for the manipulated ones. Many Christians are suffering in Gaza and in all the other Muslim countries around the world, simply because this "religion" has some verses that allow other inter I really enjoyed this book for it touches a very hard, but beautiful and important aspect of Christianity: we must forgive our enemies. It is not possible through the human efforts, but only through the power of the Holy Spirit. I fully understand that the conflict has been horrible for the Innocents and also for the manipulated ones. Many Christians are suffering in Gaza and in all the other Muslim countries around the world, simply because this "religion" has some verses that allow other interpretations and, thus, terrible crimes may occur in "name of Allah". Unfortunately Islam is a heretic branch of Christianity. When the Bizantine Empire expulsed the Nestorians, they went to the Syriac region and started to teach their heretic Christianity and their Neo-platonic philosophy. It was part of the base for what would become Islam, since the Arabs learnt their philosophy from the Syriac sources. Islam began founding a large Empire during the Late Antiquity and the beginning of the Middle Ages. It conquered a lot of nations though the sword and made the "infidels" confess Allah putting their heads to prize: or Allah, or death! Christians, Jews and followers of Zoroastrianism could keep their religion, but should pay a tax. For Muslims during that age it was better keep the "people of the Book" just to keep the income that they provided. This is why they did not obligated the conversions immediately. It is just the peak of the iceberg... Love really is the solution, together with the unique Truth, which is Jesus Christ, Son of God, dead and back to life from the dead ones. However, although I understand and fully comprehend the suffering of Palestinian people through this book, as well as I condemn the immoral actions of some Israeli soldiers (as I think the own Israeli people should condemn), I still think that we shouldn't forgive that Islam is not and never will be a religion of peace. It never was! Just take a good Medieval History book and you will see there the evidences of Muslim attacks against Christianity. It was the Muslims Seljucid Turks whom provoked the calling of the Crusades, for they were threatening the Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. Even if a intelectual Muslim does not take a gun to shoot, his or her pen is powerful enough to make a huge crowd of fanatic followers to kill and destroy others! It was just one intelectual Muslim who was needed to launch the bases for the Muslim Brotherhood! After it, they soon wished to assume the power in Egypt and also later in Syria. They always come saying that they bring a more pure version of Islam. It does not make me surprise when we open the newspaper and see a "Shariah police" working unofficially in Germany, monitoring the own German Muslims to check if they are doing things well. May Jesus bless and change the hearts of our enemies, but never let us forgive that the evil ones should be handled by the Countries. If someone promotes the evil, this is why an Army exist, to defend the societies. As the criminal of the cross said to the other: "we are suffering what we deserve, but He did nothing to suffer it!" That amazing criminal knew that he deserved his punishment. He was forgiven by God, but faced the consequences of his crime through the power of the sovereign Roman Empire. A State must be moral enough to protect the people. Islam, Nazism and Communism are a menace to all countries and to all innocent people around this world. In short, brilliant book, but do not let the romanced vision of the terrorists and Muslims change our visions. I truly loved how he was wise to chat with them and how he cares for the Palestinan people. I do not approve everything done by Israel, but we must admit it is probably the unique free democracy of Middle East.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rosa

    This is a very important book. Over and over as I read, I thought of the adage, "The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." I felt comforted and afflicted during this book, and with good reason. The Holy Land is a contentious area and it seems that everyone has an opinion on who does and does not belong there. This debate is usually based around two groups: Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims, but this book focuses on the often overlooked Palestinian Chris This is a very important book. Over and over as I read, I thought of the adage, "The job of the newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." I felt comforted and afflicted during this book, and with good reason. The Holy Land is a contentious area and it seems that everyone has an opinion on who does and does not belong there. This debate is usually based around two groups: Israeli Jews and Palestinian Muslims, but this book focuses on the often overlooked Palestinian Christian population in Gaza and the West Bank. While I don't personally share Brother Andrew's particular theology or doctrine, it's hard not to admire both his sincere mission to facilitate peace as well as his willingness to engage in dialogue with anyone, including Hamas. This book is also vital for Christians in the West who, too often, forget the plight of Christians (and others) in Palestine: "Of the 700,000 Arabs who fled or were driven out of Palestine, at least 50,000 were Christians... He wondered why the Church around the world didn't seem to care about them. Many Christians seemed far more eager to rejoice about the birth of Israel than to understand the suffering of their fellow believers... Many of the Christians he'd met in the States didn't see the two sides of this coin. They blindly supported everything the state of Israel did, whether good or bad, right or wrong. He understood that many reacted this way as a response to the horror of the Holocaust--he still cringed at the pictures he'd seen and the stories he'd heard. But should justice for one people come at the expense of another?" The situation of the Church in the Middle East is fraught but not without hope for peace. I'll be passing this book along to a pastor friend of mine.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lena Morrison

    I knew a girl who was half Palestinian. One time I heard her say that she hated Jews. I knew very little about the whole conflict between Israel and Palestine, and I naively thought that Israel wasn’t at fault and that this girl had no right to hate Israel. Now I know better. I love the people of Israel, particularly because of my Christian faith. I have no Jewish roots, but I have always loved those people. In fact, it is a dream of mine to study at the Israel College of the Bible in Netanya, Is I knew a girl who was half Palestinian. One time I heard her say that she hated Jews. I knew very little about the whole conflict between Israel and Palestine, and I naively thought that Israel wasn’t at fault and that this girl had no right to hate Israel. Now I know better. I love the people of Israel, particularly because of my Christian faith. I have no Jewish roots, but I have always loved those people. In fact, it is a dream of mine to study at the Israel College of the Bible in Netanya, Israel. But just because I love Israel does not mean I cannot see when they have committed evil. It is my belief that the land belongs to Israel, but that Israel is meant to share what they have received. There is no reason to forcefully and violently remove people from their homes. I couldn’t believe the way that Israel shed innocent bled and killed so many people. It utterly shocked me. It was wrong on all levels. After reading this book, I can see why my friend hated Israel. Of course, her hatred is wrong, but I see that there is a reason for it. I admire each and every Palestinian believer who forgave Israel and who made peace with them. I admire the Jews who have done likewise. Brother Andrew is one of my heroes. While it is true that much of his work in this book did not yield as much fruit as we would like to see, I believe his ministry was effective. After all, the Kingdom of God begins as a small mustard seed. This book is more violent than “God’s Smuggler,” but it’s definitely worth the read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Downey

    Important book for anyone, but most importantly the the wider international church body. I have a great interest in the church in Palestine and used my dissertation as a means to expire this, I feel this book covers good ground in this area. I also feel it is a very useful account because it roots from the lives of Palestinian Christians themselves e.g first hand experience from within. Would have been interested to find out more about the role of women in the church in Palestine/ wider Middle E Important book for anyone, but most importantly the the wider international church body. I have a great interest in the church in Palestine and used my dissertation as a means to expire this, I feel this book covers good ground in this area. I also feel it is a very useful account because it roots from the lives of Palestinian Christians themselves e.g first hand experience from within. Would have been interested to find out more about the role of women in the church in Palestine/ wider Middle East. Overall, Brother Andrew / Open Doors’ focus on sharing Christ’s love with those in need in the Middle East is a vital and active message, especially regarding the church in the West in relation to it’s Middle Eastern counterparts.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael Butler

    Brother Andrew does a great job in showing through his ministry that peace in the Middle East is not only possible, but that it is a task that should be valued and undertaken by the entire body of the church. In his experiences, he humanizes those often demonized by the media, and offers hope for those like myself who struggle to see how any peaceful resolution can come to the continual bloodshed in Israel/Palestine and Lebanon. Highly recommended!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kennetha Weaver

    Pray for All The Church This book helped me to understand what gets so confusing through the media. By reading the real stories you understand better what is happening to families. Not just a political look but a real look at real lives.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rochelle

    An eye opening take on how to truly achieve peace in the Middle East.... particularly in Israel....a convicting call to action to serve our fellow Christ followers...many of whom are Arabic and Palestinian, and are persecuted by their country men.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Janie

    "Here is deep insight into the struggles and triumphs of the Middle Eastern church amidst incredible conflict, opening my eyes to see the situation from the perspective of Jews, Messianic Jews, Palestinian Christians and Muslims."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karina Heng

    We had a copy in the church library sitting next to ‘God’s Smuggler’ so I read it. I never thought about the church in the Middle East before. God is working.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Surge

    I read this book right after “God’s Smuggler” it’s a different read but if you loved “Gods Smuggler” this is a must read, no doubt. Enjoy it! Buy it! Live it!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    This was a very enlightening and informative book. Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. When the wall fell and Bibles began to be published in that area, his passion changed to supporting the church in the Middle East. He does not take sides, but he gives insight into the plight of the Palestinian Christians and how they feel looked down upon and abandoned by the Christians in the West (who tend to be "pro-Israel") as well as the Jewish believers. They are caught in the middle This was a very enlightening and informative book. Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain. When the wall fell and Bibles began to be published in that area, his passion changed to supporting the church in the Middle East. He does not take sides, but he gives insight into the plight of the Palestinian Christians and how they feel looked down upon and abandoned by the Christians in the West (who tend to be "pro-Israel") as well as the Jewish believers. They are caught in the middle of a fight and are suffering, yet how many believers think to pray for them. If they aren't anti-Israel, then their Muslim neighbors believe they are traitors yet the rest of the world tends to doubt their sincerity. So they are caught in a seeminly impossible place. Many try to leave as refugees...yet, if all the believers leave Palestine, then how will those left see the Light of Jesus? Will the church in Palestine just dry up? Brother Andrews contends that if the Jewish and Palestinian believers can learn to forgive each other and listen to each other's sides, that they can be an example and a model peace. If they can't get along, how can the world think that the non-believers involved can get along. And he encourages believers around the world to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Palestine as well as Israel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chip Watts

    One of my heroes, Brother Andrew, shares his further adventures in going where few dare to go for the purpose of strengthening the persecuted church. In this case he went to the Middle East. He ministered, in the truest sense of that word, to Palestinian Christians and to Messianic Jews. He reached out to terrorists and political leaders. He went to where there was great suffering and fear and shined the light of Christ while working to raise up believers in Jesus to be come a "light force" in t One of my heroes, Brother Andrew, shares his further adventures in going where few dare to go for the purpose of strengthening the persecuted church. In this case he went to the Middle East. He ministered, in the truest sense of that word, to Palestinian Christians and to Messianic Jews. He reached out to terrorists and political leaders. He went to where there was great suffering and fear and shined the light of Christ while working to raise up believers in Jesus to be come a "light force" in the darkness. Again, I have been greatly inspired by dear Brother Andrew. This was an excellent book!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Brother Andrew (the guy who smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain of the USSR) goes to the Middle East and meets with people on every side in Lebanon, Palestine and Israel. He hangs out with terrorists but his main goal is to encourage and build up the dying church in the area. It is an amazing eye opening read (and I've even been to the Middle East). There are many encouraging stories and some heartbreaking ones.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    There are so many reasons to read this book. It penetrates deep into the conflicts impacting the church in the middle east, not with judgement or blame, but with compassion and unconditional love. The personal accounts of suffering and pain on all sides of the conflict revealed in this book, have changed the way I pray and the way I view the Middle East.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Wow, this is hard to read. My Mom bought it for me and since I'm refusing to unpack my books in this house b/c I'm so tired of unpacking books, she lent me hers. I've only read a little and it's a thick book. Because the subject is very thought provoking, I think this one is going to take me a while to read.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    I did not feel this book very terribly well-written. Nor does much happen. However, for those interested in Brother Andrew's work or the sad troubles of the contemporary church in the Middle East, it is a good source of information.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    A very challenging and convicting book on how Christians can approach Muslims in a loving manner while avoiding the political trappings and also support the local Christians in Muslim areas.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I loved this book irrespective of the fact that we have met many of the people in it and are privileged to call some of them our friends. Overwhelmingly it is a book of peace and light and love.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This was an awesome story regarding the Church and what is really going on in the Middle East. Highly recommend it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Esther

    Every Christian needs to read this book. I was convicted to pray for Palestinian Christians and their church in Gaza and the West Bank.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    This book really opened my eyes to a different side of the conflict over Israel, and the way Christians need to stand up and shine a light in what is a very dark area in a spiritual sense.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Fantastic insight into a complex situation

  28. 5 out of 5

    Royce Ratterman

    Read for personal research - found this book's contents helpful and inspiring. A good book for the researcher and enthusiast.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Meltzer

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer E. Godby

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