Book Review: Spiritual Warfare in the Middle East

Just finished reading this and found this book review to be adequate:

Spiritual Warfare in the Middle East
by Glenn Patton
Brentwood Christian Press 1992

An interesting little book. However, one would expect the author, a Southern Baptist missionary in Lebanon and Jordan during the 70's, to actually know how to spell "Maronite" since it is, after all, the largest and oldest church in Lebanon--there is no such thing as the 'Marionite' church.

Also grating is his overarching emphasis on being Baptist, as opposed to simply evangelical or even Christian. He has not one positive thing to say about the historical Christian communities of Lebanon and Jordan who managed to stay Christian through centuries of brutal Islamic rule, and one senses that he does not see them any differently than the Shi'a and Sunni Muslim communities in those countries.

In one story though he almost seems apologetic about how his missionary agency (the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Conference) is so focused on Baptists only. He is invited to speak to a group of Christians and teach them, he is later told he must cease because they are not formally baptists.

That having been said there are several truly touching moments throughout the book, and it can not be doubted that his years of sacrifice and ministry demonstrate a true and deep Christian longing to see the Gospel (according to the Baptists) increase. The story about the exorcism of a young Jewess is precious, the testimonies about changed lives of both Muslims and nominal Christians are also encouraging. His call for missionaries to the Middle East must be heard.

Finally, the insights into the political and historical situations leading up to the Lebanese Civil War and the attempt of the Palestinians to overthrow the Jordanian monarchy were quite interesting to me, though politics is not his main concern.

In sum, it is a short read and if you happen across it, it will be worth your while to read it, though his treatment of non-Baptist Christians will be annoying to non-Fundamentalists.

[Abu Daoud says: for a better, though different, group of missions testimonies see Ten Muslims Meet Christ by William M. Miller.]


Don said…
I knew a couple well who were missionaries for the SBC in Morocco for several years. The wife was a daughter of a very high official in the Sunday School Board. Their experience really soured them--not with the Moroccans or other Christians, but with the SBC.

SBC missionaries are paid employees of the Foreign Mission Board, which means that a) they don't have to raise their own support but b) they have to do everything the FMB told them to do. In their case they felt that they spent too much time being tour guides rather than being missionaries to a mission field with a great deal of need.

I would say that their attitude wasn't quite as triumphalistic as what you saw in this book. After 2 1/2 years in an SBC church I left for the RCC, but they never stopped thinking of me as a Christian.
Abu Daoud said…
Hi Don,

Certainly there has been change since the 70's when Dr Patton was ministering in Lebanon, but not a whole lot of change. I know a good number of SBC folks and a good friend of mine is former SBC missionary in a very challenging field, and they love their calling a lot and will put up with the rules to stay in the field. I only know one man who is, as far as I can tell, a true believer in the SBC policies.

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