Book Review: Neither Bomb nor Bullet

Aug 13, 2019 by

by J S Marshall:

Benjamin Kwashi with Andrew Boyd, Monarch Books, July 2019

In troubled times we need the power of God in the lives of men and women sent by Him to inspire and lead us. Such, I have to say I was convinced, having read his amazing life story, is Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi, who as the subtitle says is truly on “the front line.” By this, I mean the city of Jos, in Plateau State Nigeria. Jos is in the centre of Nigeria and its continually central the news for inter-ethnic and inter-religious violence. But we have to be more specific, for as the Archbishop explains, Jos was in the past a peaceful place where a majority Christian population enjoyed warm relations with the Muslim minority. But the rise of Islamic fundamentalism as the book notes long predates 9/11 or Boko Haram. In fact it was around 1980 that the first impact of Islamic extremism, fuelled by money from the Gulf,  began to be noticeable and it was as long ago as 1987 that many Christians were killed by Muslim extremists in Jos, hundreds of churches and properties were burned, including the Archbishop’s own house which was not only burned but actually blown up. Virtually everything he owned was destroyed and he carries around the ashes of his house to this day as a reminder of that.  His wife, Gloria, asked him “Ben, you are a preacher and you preach that heaven and earth will pass away?” “Yes,” he replied. To which Gloria said “Then it has to start with you, otherwise people will not believe it. Material things are gone, so what? Lets go”

Worse was to come. Over the next thirty years, he and his wife were to experience horrific violence at the hands of extremists, who twice, in particular, attacked and assaulted them in his own home. Once when he was away in London and could only listen helplessly as the killers viciously and savagely attacked his wife, once when he was there. The second time the assailants battered down the door and forced Ben and his wife into their bedroom where they were going to kill them both. “Please let me pray before you kill me,” said Ben, praying that it would just be him killed and not his family. Then he knelt down and started reading Psalm 23 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil”. He and his wife closed their eyes and laid prostrate, praying and awaiting death at any time. They could hear footsteps going backwards and forwards and he braced for the bullet, yet eventually, after a long time he next thing he heard was his son saying: “Dad, they are gone”.

Read here

See also: Why Archbishop Ben Kwashi isn’t going to Lambeth 2020, from Gafcon

Archbishop Kwashi defies the terrorists on Nigeria’s front line, by Michael Binyon,  The Times [£]: “Archbishop Benjamin Kwashi lives in the middle of the conflict zone, in the city of Jos. A charismatic and influential figure, he has called on Christians to resist what he sees as virtual genocide by extremists trying to drive all non-Muslims out of northern Nigeria. He has paid a heavy price.”

Christians must speak truth to power – whatever the consequences, by Ben Kwashi, Christian Today


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