Sunday, May 1, 2016

Book Review: Hearts of Fire

Over seventy percent of Americans claim to be Christians, but what does being a Christian mean to us?  Would we still so eagerly claim our Christian faith if identifying as such meant being disowned by family, watching our towns burned, spending years in prison, facing torture, or seeing our family killed?
For the eight women whose stories this book tells, the answer was yes.  Originally published by the Voice of the Martyrs in 2003, the oldest story in Hearts of Fire: Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith is the story of Sabina Wurmbrand (1945).  Other stories take us into the early twenty-first century.

While the book was well-written, it was not the most pleasant reading.  The author(s) were not graphic and tried to present torture palatably, but one would have to be quite insensitive not to feel slightly distraught after reading about believers (including children) being burned alive.  The lack of women's rights in various countries is also appalling. 

It is amazing how God gave these women the strength to endure, continue evangelising, and even to forgive.  I would recommend Hearts of Fire to anyone wanting to become more aware of the sufferings of the persecuted church. 
Thanks to Alena for sending me this book in the teacup exchange!

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”  --Catherine of Siena

32 comments:

  1. I think about 95 % of Poles claim to be Christins but their behjaviour is different

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    1. It's a lot easier to talk like a Christian than to act like one.

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  2. Thanks for the review! I haven't read this one yet. I will put it on my list. :) ~Lisa

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  3. Sadly the Christian church in America knows little of persecution. beautiful apple blossom image.

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    1. Thanks Felicia. We have been blessed not to suffer like the churches in other countries, but it is sad how insensitive we can be at times to the suffering of others.

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  4. Love the picture. Very pretty. But then, anything without snow right now, thrills me. But anyway, lack of women's rights, really sticks a bee in my bonet.

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    1. Ha! I'm on the same page as you with being thankful for anything other than snow. It's dreadful to read about how few rights women in some Middle Eastern countries have.

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    2. Terribly dreadful and oh so sad, too.

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  5. I have been looking forward to this review, dear Bethany, and I am so happy to learn that you enjoyed reading Hearts of Fire. I have added the book to my list of books to read...thank you!

    Have a lovely week! Hugs!

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    1. Hope you enjoy it! Have a great week as well!

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  6. I think 83 is a little high for the number. Even though I haven't read the book, I think you hinted that some of these women were abused because they were being evangelical.

    The countries with a Muslim majority have never been kind to them. Many might tolerate Christians, Jews, and even Atheists unless they "promote" their beliefs to other people even those who just "blog" about it. Many have laws saying it's a crime to convert a Muslim. Apostates are treated worse than the lowest animals there.

    Turkey is currently trying to suppress utlra-religious Muslims trying to turn their secular government into an Islamic one. I think many in Turkey have seen how well that's worked out for most of the Middle East and Northern Africa. About as well at it worked for medieval Europe mixing religion and government.

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    1. Ah, you are right. I just took a headline from an ABC poll, but now reading the article, they have too small of a sample size (it looks like it was just of 50 people!) Pew Research says 70.6%, so I will change my post to read "Over 70%." Good catch, thanks!

      Yes, the women were abused *more* because they were evangelical. However, regardless of religious persecution, women's rights is a big issue in Muslim countries.

      Right on apostates. It's terrible to think someone could get in trouble for blogging about their beliefs. Hope Turkey succeeds in keeping their government secular. Persecution is sad.

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  7. Thank you for the review, Bethany!

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  8. Such a beautiful image, Bethany.

    There have been many Christians who have suffered for their faith.
    There have been many Christians who brought unbelievable suffering to others.

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    1. I'd have a hard time accepting those who persecuted others as real Christians, but they definitely claimed the title. It was the religious leaders of the day who crucified Jesus.

      Catholic religious leaders burned Protestants like John Huss at the stake. Anglican leaders persecuted Catholics, beheading Sir Thomas More. Zwingli (a father of the Reformed church) and the Lutherans persecuted and killed the Anabaptists. Episcopalians in the colony of Virginia jailed, waterboarded, whipped, and shot Baptists. Puritans in Massachusetts imprisoned, flogged, and executed Quakers--even cutting off one Quaker's ear! That definitely does not sound very Christian to me!

      Church history is far from beautiful. In fact it's terrible enough to make just about anyone who studies it a cynic of organized religion. Too many people have tried to take advantage of the faith for their own power and profit.

      But God's love is beautiful and pure. Jesus didn't take; He gave. He didn't persecute and kill others; He was persecuted and killed. He didn't take power over the Romans. But He took the power over death and hell and said, "All power in heaven and earth is given unto me." And He has given us the power to be children of God and to know the love of God.

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  9. I haven't read this book (yet!). It sounds like a tough but good read. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. It was a good read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. I appreciate your words on this book, Bethany. I believe this would be a challenge to our faith.

    May your week ahead be filled with God's glory.

    Blessings~~
    Debbie

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    1. Yours as well! Blessings to you Debbie!

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  11. Martyrdom described in the Bible or in modern days in a book such as you described does not make for pleasant reading it is true, but sometimes it seems it is necessary to read to motivate us to do our part to stop it in the future as the Lord empowers us to do so. Thanks for the review. xx

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    1. The martyrs have a special place in heaven. May Christ's kingdom soon come to bring justice and peace on earth.

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  12. Hello Bethany and happy May. It does sound like a good book. My mother would probably like this.

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  13. Good review Bethany! I look at this book and Foxe's Book of Martyrs very similarly. They were good books with good points but not very enjoyable to read. Too much pain and horror.
    Your last picture is beautiful!

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    1. It's hard to read about the suffering of others. Thanks Lydia.

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  14. Nice review and from your words it should be a very inspiring book. Love the last picture! Sending you happy kisses and hugs! Liuba x

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  15. I haven't read this one but it sounds like an important book.

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