The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places
NASHVILLE, TN (ANS) -- Is it insane to become a bold disciple of Jesus Christ? Well Nik Ripken (his pen name for security reasons), a missions veteran of 30 years, and a global leading expert on the persecution of believers in Christ, particularly where Islam is concerned, believes that the only true way to be a follower of Christ is to be "Like Sheep Among Wolves".
He says that this can be achieved in global discipleship and evangelism in the face of growing hostility towards the church around the world.
Ripken has laid it all out in his second book, The Insanity of Obedience: Walking with Jesus in Tough Places (with Barry Stricker), and published by B@H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee.
It is a follow up from his first book, The Insanity of God: A True Story of Faith Resurrected, in which the first part of the title caused quite a stir.
In his blog, (www.nikripken.com/god-insane), he tackled the controversy in this way: "Many people, especially those of us of a more mature age, feel that the title implies that God Himself is insane. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many who have been concerned about the title have implied that it was chosen purely for marketing purposes. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"The longer that one is, generationally, within Christianity the more they cease to look at the kingdom of God from a point of view of one who is outside of that kingdom. To those, when one talks about a God who would give his only Son to die on a cross, this would be the act of someone who is insane. What God would do such a thing? When we are asked about where we have gone and what we have done the last 30 years, talking about being salt and light in places like Somalia the stares and comments we receive question our sanity. We have been told that we are crazy.
"The title, The Insanity of God, was a result of a lot of perspiration in seeking God's title for the book. About seven of us struggled for weeks over this title. Finally the day came when we had to come up with a title."
Now, continuing the "insanity" theme, Ripken says that all Christian disciples have one thing in common: as they carry the gospel across the ocean and across the street, persecution will become the norm for those who choose to follow Jesus. How believers respond in the face of persecution reveals everything about their level of faith and obedience.
The Insanity of Obedience is a bold challenge to global discipleship. Ripken exposes the danger of safe Christianity and calls readers to something greater. The book challenges Christians in the same, provocative way that Jesus did. This book dares you-and prepares you-to cross the street and the oceans with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Some of Jesus' instructions sound uncomfortable and are potentially dangerous. We may be initially encouraged by His declaration, "I am sending you out." But how are we to respond when He then tells us that He is sending us out "like sheep among wolves"?
In light of the words of Jesus, how can modern day believers rest comfortably in the status quo? How can we embrace casual faith in light of the radical commands of Jesus which are anything but casual? Ripken brings decades of ministry experience in some of the most persecuted areas of the world to bear on our understanding of faith in Jesus. The Insanity of Obedience is a call to roll up your sleeves . . . and to follow and partner with Jesus in the toughest places on this planet.
"We have the high privilege of answering Jesus' call to go," Ripken says. "But let us be clear about this: we go on His terms, not ours. If we go at all, we go as sheep among wolves."
He adds that Jesus gives us Himself. And He gives us the tools necessary for those who dare to journey with Him.
Already the book has received many endorsements and the foreword was written by Dutch-born Brother Andrew, whose book, God's Smuggler (with John and Elizabeth Sherrill), sold some 10 million copies worldwide.
Andrew writes, "This is a book that every well-meaning Christian ought to read. It gives the most comprehensive overview of what life is like for the true followers of Jesus who are willing to pay the whole price for following Him. Extremely touching at times. It makes you cry and it makes you laugh. But remember they are your brothers and mine. Therefore we have a responsibility with them as part of the body of Christ worldwide."
About Nik and Ruth Ripken: This dedicated couple are veteran overseas workers for 30 years. During those years they have served in the fruitful harvest fields of Eastern and Southern Africa along with their three sons. Since 1991 they have labored in countries which are predominantly defined by persecution toward those coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Following the deaths of many converts to faith in Jesus within a Muslim setting, mainly due to their relationship to foreign workers, they also experienced the death of their 16-year-old son on Easter Sunday morning due to an asthma attack in 1997.
Soon after this the Ripkens began a global pilgrimage among believers in persecution to recapture a biblical missiology of witnessing and house church planting within environments of persecution and martyrdom.
To achieve this goal the Ripkens have interviewed approximately 600 believers who live in environments of persecution, totaling 72 countries to date. These believers have courageously shared with the Ripkens how to thrive in persecution, more than just survive. They represent what victorious living in Christ entails, echoing the biblical account itself. Sitting at the feet and learning from believers in persecution has resulted in the writing and publishing of many articles and books related to faith in persecution. The Ripkens also offer a 3 to 5 day workshop for churches, seminaries, Bible colleges, and especially for those living and making Christ known in the midst of persecution.
Currently the Ripkens live in the Middle East and their website is www.nikripken.com
Note to the media: To request an interview with Nik Ripken about his new book, please contact Jason Jones at Jason@prbythebook.com or on Twitter at @Book_Publicist.