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The last Christians : stories of…
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The last Christians : stories of persecution, flight, and resilience in…

by Andreas Knapp

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Andreas Knapp's honesty and directness kept me hooked from the beginning, and I couldn't put it down until I finished. This book brings to light what is often glossed over or viewed through an outsider's lens. All Christians need to be aware of how their brothers and sisters are living (or dying) around the world.
  AdamNu | Feb 7, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The author, a German priest, goes to Iraq and gives us a personal look into the struggles and sufferings of Middle Eastern Christians. Written with clarity, honesty and compassion, with historical sidebars that give additional context, The Last Christians is an important book that sheds light on a people whose plight is often overlooked by the media. ( )
  Suzanne81 | Dec 31, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Andreas Knapp, Roman Catholic priest, from Leipzig, Germany, having listened to harrowing stories of Christian refugees and their persecution at the hands of Islamists in Iraq and Syria, decided to go to war-torn Mosul in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region to learn more about what Knapp understands as the historical center of Eastern Christianity.

[ . . . ] ( )
  chuck_ralston | Dec 30, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is a LibraryThing Early Review for the paperback “The Last Christians” by Andreas Knapp.

Gut-wrenching is an understatement regarding the first-person accounts shared within the pages of this book. The light to be found, amid the darkness of persecution, shines in the small personal acts of humanity and love that take place amongst those enduring such earthly hell. The final chapter of the book, Chapter 19 – Giving of Our Best, and the following Epilogue, provide a glimmer of hope and a cautious, but optimistic, way forward.

Reading this book from start to finish was an emotional punch like I have rarely encountered, even compared to similar atrocities read about that took place at a time further removed from us; perhaps this is due to the chronological nearness of the events related; i.e. even as recent as 2016. A way to help someone through such an emotional book might be to start with Chapter 19 and the Epilogue and then read the book from the beginning to the end.

This is a book that demands to be, and must be, read by all that are alive today; especially for those of us that live in the West; without question for those that call themselves Christian. ( )
  MusicforMovies | Oct 31, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Andreas Knapp's The Last Christians is the story of what appears to be the accelerated extinction of Christianity in the places where it first put down deep roots, the northern Middle East, the places we know today as Iraq, Syria and parts of Turkey. Though Christianity survived, even thrived, in these regions for many centuries Knapp reports the relentless oppression it faces with the rise of Islamic nationalism, generally, and ISIS, specifically.

Knapp tells the story in two parts. He is a German priest who has befriended immigrants in the city where he lives, and in the first part he travels with a friend to the Middle East for the funeral of his friend's father. He gets to meet many people who are displaced and experiencing persecution solely because of their Christian faith. In the second part he is back in Germany, and he has increasing involvement with the immigrant community. In both parts he goes back into history to bring in relevant earlier times in history when there was severe persecution, such as the Armenian genocide in 1915.

The book's strength lies in Knapp's ability to listen and relay the many stories and eye-witness accounts he has received. Without exception, the things he reports are absolutely horrible, and sadly, pass largely unnoticed in the Western world.

The weakness in the overall narrative is in Knapp's theology, which appears to consider Jesus to be primarily a worker of social justice. No doubt Knapp considers Jesus the social justice worker par excellence, but what emerges is a story that is largely man-centered and lacks the perspective of God's point-of-view.

The fact that God is both holy and sovereign are missing, meaning that as he tells the stories there appears to be no thought given to the fact that God may be at work, and powerfully so, in the face of tragedy. As he tells stories of suffering he does so without seeing the suffering as representative of the suffering Jesus said would come to His followers.

Knapp reports people being driven from the place where their families have called home for centuries, and a concurrent destruction of many cultural artifacts, but what is lacking is any sense of understanding of the temporary nature of the things of this world, or the fact that for Christians, our true home is elsewhere.

I don't want to beat up on Knapp. He has compassion for those people who have emigrated to his city and he does what he can to help them. Unfortunately he is unable to take their story and connect it to the larger storyline of the Bible, which ends in the new Jerusalem, with all Christ's children being with Him, and all their tears wiped away. ( )
1 vote BradKautz | Oct 20, 2017 |
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