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The Calling: A Challenge to Walk the Narrow Road 
Author: Brother Andrew
Publisher: Baker Book House
Length: 288 pages

Dutch evangelist Brother Andrew has spent his adult life calling himself “God’s Smuggler”, the title of his first book.  This nickname is attributed to his practice of smuggling Bibles into areas of the world that have no legal access to the written Word of God.

The Calling is a book detailing some of Andrew’s adventures in doing this very thing.  He details his visits to Russia, China, Colombia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Germany (before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall), and many other countries.  Years of planning, prayer, and the pursuit of following his mission to distribute Bibles are portrayed in great detail.

Andrew’s main thesis is this:

“Most of us often have the idea that God must have a special calling on our lives, a particular end for us to accomplish, and we must find out what it is for us.  If we have no such calling from God, then we have not been selected by him for special service, and we can only live out our lives as drones in the kingdom, one monotonous and unimportant day at a time.  But we must understand that this is our idea, not God’s.” (p. 34)
The emphasis here is simple: God has called all Christians, and has endowed them all with gifts.  He may or may not reveal a specific plan to each person, but “the calling” is to each of them ­ to use the gifts God has given them to promote His Kingdom.  If we do so, miraculous things will take place.

The most unforgettable story in the book is one man who was captured in China.  He was forced to stand on a box four feet high and one foot wide, with a noose on his neck.  His captors informed him that if he fell asleep, or fell off of the box, the noose would tighten and cause him to be hanged.  After thirteen days of this, without food or sleep, his legs gave out.  At the same time, there was a loud thunderclap and a bolt of lightning was visible.

The man woke up, with his two captors staring at him.  They requested he tell them about Jesus.  He asked why.  They said, in effect, that if God could save him by sending a lightning bolt to break the rope around his neck, then He could save them as well. 

The Calling is full of stories like this one.  Whether or not you agree with the idea of “smuggling”, Brother Andrew has followed the lead he believes came from God, and millions have seen the Bible as a result.  The book is often entertaining, and often challenging.  The only drawback is that it jumps around over different time frames on occasion, making it difficult to keep a timeline of events while reading.

Brian A. Smith 8 November 2002



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