Friday, September 10, 2010

Seeds of Turmoil: The Biblical Roots of the Inevitable Crisis in the Middle East

By Bryant Wright, 222 pages, Thomas Nelson.

Wright offers a concise, crystal-clear analysis of Middle East politics from the get-go until now. His historiography is biblical. He interprets every past event from a biblical, theological perspective, endeavoring to show throughout his book how every significant incident fits into the divine plan.

This follows from the biblical view of history. The Lord has a plan for humanity, and will work things out in due time. As Wright notes again and again, the Father will not be mocked. Willful disobedience, lack of faith, and outright sinfulness, though part and parcel of biblical and post-biblical history, do not have power over God.

"The Lord is the master of history, so let us rejoice," is Wright's message, and he never falters from this line of thinking. He argues that Islam distorts the biblical message, even if Muslims claim the same Abrahamic lineage as Jews and Christians.
Islam, he notes repeatedly, has been a bloody, violent religion from its beginning. He reminds readers that Muslims conquered the long-Christian lands of North Africa and the Near East. Unfortunately, he avoids delving into the politics and theological turmoil that had deeply divided those Christians and alienated them from the Byzantine Emperor. Some of those Christians, Wright forgets to tell us, regarded their new Arab-Muslim masters as liberators.

Seeds of Turmoil, though an interesting read, is full of holes despite - or perhaps because of - the author's strongly-held views of Islam and Arabs.

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