Friday, January 2, 2009

Book Recommendation: "In Crossfire of Hate"

Why "In Crossfire of Hate" by Martha Wall didn't become a better known classic after its publication in 1970, I don't know.

It is the true, gripping account of God at work in rural Colombia during the height of the terror of "La Violencia" from the viewpoint of the Marco Franco family. Mr. Franco, a philandering drunk like many of his neighbors, heard--and vigorously rejected--the good news about Jesus. At that time and place, evangelicals were a despised and persecuted minority.

The second time Marco heard the gospel, he embraced Jesus. The change in his life was dramatic and instantaneous. He never drank alcohol again. He decisively ended his relationship with his consort (while continuing to financially support her and her children). His raging temper that kept everyone on edge with fear was brought under God's control. He immediately began sharing the good news of forgiveness of sins through Jesus with everyone around him. His immediately family members were so amazed by his transformation that within a short time they were all Christians too.

The Franco family, and Marco particularly, suffered brutally for their new faith. They repeatedly fled for their lives, were robbed, threatened, and beaten. Several times they escaped only because of the direction intervention of God. If they had kept their faith 'private' none of this would have happened. But to become an "evangelico" was to become an evangelist. The had never met a quiet Christian. They repeatedly chose to open their mouths and home even though they knew it could cost their lives.

And, amazingly, in the midst of their terrible suffering, the church grew. Their neighbors could not help but take seriously something that Marco was willing to die for. The gospel fire that started with Marco spread from family to family and from village to village until the whole region was ablaze.

The challenge to us: God did that with an illiterate, impoverished drunk. What has He done with us?

Some books tell a good story badly, and some books tell a poor story well. This book tells a great story well. (If it weren't so violent it would make a great movie.) The book is out of print but you can still pick up copies for under $5 (including shipping) using May it challenge us to follow Jesus all the way.

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