They Say We Are Infidels, a book review by Paula Wilding

Paula Wilding wrote this review of They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz, WORLD magazine editor. This book is available at the Sunday morning Bookstall.

On New Year’s Day, Pastor Josh Stringer preached on Psalm 130 and encouraged us to share our stories of where we have seen God’s care and grace. In her 2016 book, WORLD magazine editor Mindy Belz does just this—the telling of the stories of our Christian brothers and sisters persecuted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq.

Belz has spent years traveling to war-torn areas as a journalist, communing with Christians in the Middle East. In They Say We Are Infidels, Belz shares the conditions and history that has led to where the Middle East stands today, with Christians now continually threatened and killed by ISIS. But Belz’s book focuses mostly on stories of the Christians who she met and talked with during her travels over many years. Belz comments that during her years of covering war-torn areas in the Middle East, her safety and survival were always dependent on those whom she could trust—other Christians. What a lesson for us. Our God—who loves community and is himself in constant community with the Son and Holy Spirit—brings his care to us through others who also call him “Lord.”

While not shying away from the destruction and persecution Christians face in Syria and Iraq, Belz focuses on what should be a prevailing characteristic in all Christians—hope. Belz writes of the Christian community and how many Iraqi Christians risked their lives to help her, transport her and house her. The Christians, while they cannot ignore the constant threat upon their lives, clearly are living for something more. Their eyes are on eternity and on Christ day-to-day. With so much loss and uncertainty, these Christians are centered on the promises of God that will not and cannot change. As Belz commented in an interview, “They have a fearlessness that is admirable and something we can learn from them.”

Belz remarks that when she asked the Christians if they would like to be featured in the book under aliases, none of them wanted their real names changed. The bravery and focus on God of these Christians came when they were forced to choose. As Belz remarked in an article in “By Faith” magazine, “they gave up everything so that they could hold on to the one they weren’t willing to give up . . . their faith.”

Belz is clear that persecuted Christians do not need our pity, but they desperately need our prayers and our advocacy. Not all Christians are called to travel to war-torn areas, but they are called to care for their brothers and sisters in Christ. If you would like to be involved, consider joining the weekly prayer group for the persecuted church, Fridays at noon in C103.

If you are interested in helping our Iraqi Christian brothers and sisters, go to WORLD Magazine’s website and search “Aid for Iraqis.” The magazine has compiled a list of 15 reputable and trustworthy agencies, encouraging American how to help in very practical ways.