Rick Gregory, Writer

Translating Messages From Heads To Hearts

REVIEW: Imprisoned With ISIS – Faith in the face of evil by Petr Jasek

All Christians should read this book. Western Christians MUST read this book. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.” As. If. You . . . 

We don’t like to talk much about being imprisoned or suffering for our faith. The “faith stories” we (Western Christians) have exported to the rest of the world suggest that if we simply have enough faith, we can be rich in this life and live just like those who make no claim to faith; the Good News is that we can be certain of our eternal destiny, because we recited a “sinner’s prayer” at some time in our lives and “invited Jesus into our hearts.” It’s mostly about – ME. Doesn’t matter if our lives look like no different than anyone else’s, right? Doesn’t matter if all our goals and aspirations are for the things of this world. We’re only human, right? Yes, we absolutely need a relationship with Jesus! But the American Gospel where we are the key actors isn’t the Gospel Petr Jasek lived. And it isn’t the Gospel Jesus preached!

Jasek is gracious in not overtly and directly calling us out for our selfishness. Instead, through his compelling portrayal of his 445 days in Sudanese imprisonment, he shows us what the real Gospel looks like. It isn’t what Rankin Wilbourne (in his book, Union With Christ) called a Magic Kingdom Christianity. As I read, I saw myself with him in his cells at the NISS, Omdurman, Al Huda and Kober prisons. And the more I read, the more I felt I needed to repent of my own apathy toward brothers and sisters in Christ who have been imprisoned, tortured and murdered for their refusal to deny their faith in the Jesus of the Bible. As God molded and shaped him through the people and events he encountered throughout his captivity, I saw a much fuller and expansive picture of the Gospel of the Kingdom. Even as I say this, I’m terrified; I want in. Thank you, Petr!