Monday, June 01, 2009

Marysworld Welcomes Scott Higginbotham as a Contributing Reviewer

Scott has joined Marysworld as a reviewer! We both share the same passion and review standards when it comes to Christian ficton. The qualifying list is long but as a reader of Marysworld, you know we take our reviews and book promotions seriously.

Here is Scott's premier review for Marysworld!

Christian Jihad: Two Former Muslims Look at the Crusades and Killing in the Name of Christ
Where should a true conversion occur? Why is Christianity’s reflection tarnished in the Muslim world, and why do they refer to American soldiers as Crusaders? When opponents to anything “Christian” bring up the faith’s shortcomings, are they justified in the slightest? In Christian Jihad, the authors, Ergun Mehmet Caner and Emir Fethi Caner, both of whom converted from Islam to Christianity, show the reader the darker side of misplaced religious fervor at the point of a sword. They cover the Crusades, the Inquisition, the persecution of church reformers, and explain to the reader how subtle shifts, overt declarations, and unbridled zeal wreaked untold harm on Christianity’s image. Furthermore, Appendix B compares the speeches of a medieval pope and that of Osama bin Laden. The similarities are startling. A walk through history tells us that the cruciform type sword was one of the weapons of choice throughout the Middle Ages. Knights belonging to the celebrated Templar and Hospitaller orders, those prowling the tourney circuits for fame and profit, or hearth knights in a lord’s service used them for the dangerous vocations they had chosen. These men were but part of the fertile soil upon which to sow the seeds of crusade.

Thus, Pope Urban II, in the Council of Clermont during the winter of 1095, effectively swayed hundreds of bishops and prelates into regaining the Holy Land, also known as the Outremer, at the point of a sword. Crusading fever soon spread and commoner and noble alike affixed the Crusader’s Cross on to their tunics. The badge’s absence was proof of a reprobate soul. Some heartily made the decision, but for many, the choice was all but made for them, because the choice was obvious: Heaven or Hell.

The Caners then cover the fear and suspicion rampant during the Inquisition. It took very little to pique the interest of a Dominican monk charged with rooting out sin. And heresy trials had few options: admission of guilt or denial of guilt. Both unfortunately involved pain, and in its distorted view of what pleased God, the Church believed that physical pain was spiritually healthy. They make no apologies, and offend the reader, which is their whole point. They want to temper overzealous Christians desiring conversions at any cost. You will be disgusted at the excesses and the lengths that the Church went to in order to purge sin. Even the reformers had marred views of what true Christianity should mirror, especially in how the Jews were viewed and treated.

So should a conversion occur at the tip of a sword? No, and the Caner brothers will leave no unanswered questions in the reader’s mind. However, the cruciform sword did make a powerful statement, both literally and figuratively, and the Christian imagery of its construction was a deliberate act. The blade was long, the pommel was heavy and could be inlaid with crosses, and the crossguard protected the hands of the user. Conversions at its point left recipients little choice: convert or die, Heaven or Hell. But what if the point was broken off, and the blade made dull? That was my question after reading Christian Jihad, because rhetorical, abstract questions can make us think.

You would have an image of a cross, and only at its foot would you have a true conversion.

To read more of their fascinating stories and learn more about these two evangelical Christian professors, who seek conversions only at the foot of the cross, you can visit the Caner’s website at:

Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications (September 25, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0825424038
ISBN-13: 978-0825424038
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 2.8 inches