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“Stories from the Front Lines”

January 4, 2012

Stories from the Front Lines: Power Evangelism in Today’s World”, by Jane Rumph; Chosen Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996. 272 pages.

Review by Steve Hyde

Stories from the Front Lines” is an exceptional book as it highlights the move of God in miracles around the world.  It is an exciting book to read.  There are literally stories here from all over the world.   I think the point of the book was to highlight the great miracles that God is doing around the world to show that it is not just about “numbers” (i.e. how many people raised their hands to prayer the ‘sinners prayer’ or how many churches were planted).  While these are good things, it is nice to hear the testimonies of God at work.

This book is designed to inspire, and it does.  Some of the stories seem unbelievable, but hopefully they are all true.  It does seem quite well researched, though it is clear that Pasadena, California is the key connection.  While the stories are from all over the world, the “storytellers” seem to all have a Southern California connection and are all second or third hand reporters.

I do like how it is all weaved together.  I have previously read books of testimonies and they seem to be disconnected stories with no real overarching theme.  This book, however, is a bit different in that while it does have great stories, they are carefully arranged to highlight a point.  In chapter 10, which is titled “What Then Shall We Do?”, the point is highlighted:  God works in a variety of ways and in very powerful ways!  The author highlights stories of divine healing, prophetic messages and words of knowledge, dreams and visions, angelic visitations, miracles and spiritual warfare.  These stories are all given to excite the reader about what God is doing, but also to give hope for evangelism.  Evangelism with power!

The only weakness of the book I observed is that some of the stories may not be completely believable.  The author also highlights this weakness.  The reason I say that is because there are two stories from Cambodia which supposedly took place at the same time when I was in Cambodia.  One, a resurrection from the dead, is completely believable.  A second involving a fireball hitting a Buddhist temple and causing it to fly off its foundations more than 50 feet is stretched way thin.  I was here in Cambodia then and well-connected in the Christian community, I know the temple, I know the area and I know it is still a major center of witchcraft, demon worship and few Christians.  The story itself was given probably 4th or 5th hand, so I think it got stretched each time.  When the story was finally told by an overseas Cambodian pastor in Pasadena, it was “beyond belief” (literally).  I don’t think that this discredits the whole book however.  I think most of the stories did happen and probably similar to the way they are told, but obviously the writer has to write in a way which is appealing to the US and Western readership which is the target audience, therefore some details are probably lost or exaggerated.

Would I recommend this book?  Sure!  It will excite your faith and open your mind to what God is doing around the world.  Only a few stories are shared, but the same book could be written a million times and not fill up all the stories of power evangelism that is happening across the world.

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