Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: The Devil in Pew Number Seven


“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” Romans 12: 14

Rebecca never felt safe as a child. In 1969, her father, Robert Nichols, moved to Sellerstown, North Carolina, to serve as a pastor. There he found a small community eager to welcome him—with one exception. Glaring at him from pew number seven was a man obsessed with controlling the church. Determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way, he unleashed a plan of terror that was more devastating and violent than the Nichols family could have ever imagined. Refusing to be driven away by acts of intimidation, Rebecca’s father stood his ground until one night when an armed man walked into the family’s kitchen . . . and Rebecca’s life was shattered. If anyone had a reason to harbor hatred and seek personal revenge, it would be Rebecca. Yet The Devil in Pew Number Seven tells a different story. It is the amazing true saga of relentless persecution, one family’s faith and courage in the face of it, and a daughter whose parents taught her the power of forgiveness.

~ The Devil in Pew Number Seven

My Thoughts

Rebecca Nichols Alonzo’s memoir is by far one of the most extraordinary, gripping accounts of sincere Biblical forgiveness I’ve ever read.

Her story, while frightening and difficult to imagine, never crosses the threshold into self-pity or vindictiveness (but clearly she’d have every reason to do just that!). Rebecca presents her story in a very articulate, matter of fact way while the emotions she felt as a child are carefully threaded throughout. You feel her fear, her pain—and pride when she mentions her precious parents.

Quite honestly, I don’t know if I could forgive someone for things Rebecca and her family went through—or worse, if I’d even want to forgive them in the first place. In fact, I’m still in awe over her parents response to “the devil’s” attacks! As a mother myself, I know my first reaction would be one of blind hatred and viciousness where my children’s safety was concerned. And yet upon finishing this book, I couldn’t help but pray that I too would one day be able to model that kind of forgiveness and instill it’s healing power in my children’s lives.

The Devil in Pew Number Seven is truly a must-read! Its message is powerful and life-changing, even if you already consider yourself the epitome of forgiveness. ;-]

One last thing; please don’t let the title scare you. While her story is by no means sugar coated, Nichols-Alonzo’s words never come across as gory or “horror movie-esque”. (I couldn’t have gotten through it if it was!)

As a special bonus, Tyndale Publishing has created a free Book Guide which includes a video trailer and PDF download of Chapter One.  Click here to check it out.

Again, run—don’t walk—and pick up a copy of The Devil in Pew Number Seven today. You won’t be disappointed!

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation was provided and the thoughts expressed are my own.*

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