Arab Spring, Christian Winter: Islam Unleashed On The Church And The World, by Ralph Stice
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Life Sentence Publishing/Aneko Press in exchange for an honest review. A copy of the book can be found at Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Arab-Spring-Christian-Winter-Unleashed/dp/162245233X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1421388486&sr=8-2&keywords=arab+spring+christian+winter+ralph+stice%5D
In light of recent headlines like the European terrorist attacks over comics about Mohammed  and the massacres of thousands in Nigeria by terrorists there (not discussed in this book, which focuses on North Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey, with the exception of some references to the Cote d’Ivoire and thhhhe author’s missionary work there ), this book is certainly a relevant one in discussing what the rise of political Islam means. To be clear, for evangelical Christians, most of what passes even for “moderate” Islam is a bit of a skewed funhouse mirror, in that there are strong similarities and differences. A sincere and committed Christian laments vulgarity and immorality and its rampant spread in our culture and our lives, and longs for God’s ways to be practiced by leaders who live modestly and avoid corruption and enforced in society. That said, when one looks at what Christianity is like compared to original Islam there are some serious differences, most notably that sharia is a barbaric law that exploits and dominates where it does not kill and destroy, while Christianity is a religion about an abundant life and love and concern for others.
This book makes for some grim reading, for the most part. Although it ends with a chapter looking at what Christians can do to prepare for the rise of militant Islam and the decline of freedom for Christians, including the development of small groups and greater involvement in faith by ordinary believers, most of the book looks at the murder, exile, rape, and destruction of homes and churches that are all too familiar to vulnerable minority Christian populations in majority Islam countries. The author makes some definite leaps of logic in viewing Islam as the antichrist, and definitely wades into some deep waters in suggesting a malign role for Turkey. His avoidance of specific prophetic fulfillment is both a strength and a weakness–a strength because it avoids setting dates, a weakness because when he does cite interpretations, he either seeks to piggyback off of similar would-be end time prophets who see importance in the Muslim world and because he seems to make a straw man of certain interpretations of certain scriptures as a way of avoiding specific prophecies at all.
Despite some weaknesses in its prophetic argument, as an exercise in headline prophecy it is worthwhile for a couple of reasons. For one, it offers both an evidence-based, first-hand perspective of life in the Islamic world that serves as a reality check to illusions about the efficacy of elections and American aid and military involvement in making the Middle East better. For another, it offers both practical tips on how to deal with persecution in general as well as some passionate appeals to aid the suffering Christian populations of the Middle East  by providing prayers, practical assistance, and even a safe place to escape the horrors of torture and exploitation and death. This is a book that even though flawed is a worthwhile read, both for its information, but even more so for its passionate call to face the possibility of dark times for Christians in the pampered West. Such a wake-up call to the dangers of “moderate” political Islam and to our own vulnerabilities is seriously needed.
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