Genesis Publishing Group
"With all humility I express my gratitude to the Judge of heaven and earth for this precious opportunity." Mehdi Dibaj (p.28)
What was Dibaj's "precious opportunity" -- to speak at a major conference, to pastor a large church, to get a major Christian book deal? No, he was going on trial for his life in Iran because he was a Christian.
Mehdi Dibaj's story is just one of several that Bill Drake and the Voice of the Martyrs tell in Wear the Crown. They write several longer stories and numerous shorter ones that include color pictures. The book also includes the words to several of Bill Drake's songs.
Drake does not write the stories in a maudlin, sentimental fashion, nor in a depressing manner, but inspires with the courage and commitment of the men and women he writes about. Each chapter tells the story of a martyr, or martyrs and their families. The chapter ends with the words of a song, mostly by Drake, and a section of application. Then between chapters the authors include photos and page-length stories of Christians suffering persecution from around the world.
The book has a sturdy, attractive cover and color photography. I can't help but think of it almost as coffee-table quality because of its attractiveness. Those who keep a Bible in a conspicuous place may wish to place this near it to encourage conversation about the persecuted church. However, I don't want to leave the impression that this is just a picture book either. The stories, both short and long, are moving, true, and well-written.
I have two slight criticisms. I would like to see more accounts, and to see among the longer accounts stories from Africa and the western world, such as Cuba and Columbia. The authors draw the longer accounts from the Middle East and Asia, though they include African accounts in the shorter stories. But perhaps my saying "I didn't get enough" is not such a bad criticism.
The Voice of the Martyrs is one of the most well known organizations that supports and encourages the persecuted church. It was started by Richard Wurmbrand and his wife following their own persecution under Communism. Its director, Tom White, spent time in a Cuban prison for trying to spread the gospel in Cuba.
Bill Drake is the International Music Minister of Operation Mobilization. His songs, at least the ones here, include a depth often lacking in contemporary Christian music. Perhaps because of his involvement in Operation Mobilization, he raises questions that the church in the West does not often cover.
In his epilogue, he describes underground seminaries where young people from around China gather to learn the gospel and how to preach it. "They spend weeks in intensive training, memorizing huge chunks of Scripture, learning how to run and how to hide, learning how to survive on just what they can glean from the trees and bushes. This is their Bible school. From here they fan out across the country, preaching the gospel, establishing underground churches, training up new leaders. But not before they take one final class: how to die well." (92)
Wear the Crown is a beautiful and inspiring book which should be read in every Christian school, church, and in most homes. It calls us from the worldliness surrounding us to cherish what is of true eternal worth. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
In many countries around the world, our brothers and sisters in Christ are suffering for the sake of the gospel. Yet they do not back down. They will not deny their faith. These inspiring stories of modern-day martyrs are highlighted with compelling color photographs, encouraging readers in their own faith in Christ. Includes ideas on how to pray for and support the persecuted Church.