Learning to Love: a book review

I first became aware of the ministry of Heidi and Rolland Baker through a class I took in seminary. My professor (Bob Ekblad) is an activist who works with people on the margins and is passionate about the work of the Spirit.  He held up the Bakers as exemplars because of their tireless work in mission and their passion for supernatural ministry. I had seen video clips of interviews of Heidi Baker  but knew little about her (and Rolland’s) mission organization or their work in Mozambique. So I was excited to read Learning to Love: Passion, Compassion and the Essence of the Gospel

Heidi and Rolland take turns narrating  their work in Africa and around the world.  Learning to Love tells of their experience  entering into the suffering of Christ, loving people, responding to God’s leading and seeing Him work in often incredible ways. The passion and zeal the Bakers have for sharing the gospel is infectious.  While many charismatic authors in the United States preach prosperity, the Bakers have given their lives sacrificially to see the people of Mozambique and around the globe come to saving faith in Christ. They speak of miracles and God’s provision but they also have really entered into the suffering of the nations they’ve served. This book is their story of ‘loving God and the person in front of you.” There mission has involved them in caring for children and orphans, planting churches,  leading bush revivals, prayers of healing, digging wells, launching schools, providing needed physical care and more.  Through it all they have sought to be faithful to God’s call on their life.

Yet Learning to Love was a difficult read for me. To me, the book reads like a series of support letters for Iris Ministries (their organization). They are passionate and expound on where God is working in their midst, but there seems to be little cohesive organization to their chapters.  I also found that I still know very little about their mission philosophy (other than an expectancy to see God at work). I like that they are listening to the Spirit and expect miracles and are driven by a concern for the people of Mozambique, but because this book tells you the breadth of all that they do, you don’t get a sense of what their long term commitment to one place, or one group of people is like.  There is more to their story which I would like to hear.

I do respect that these charismatic missioners have seen God bring healing and new life in their mission and have come to expect God’s supernatural ministry. This is the experience of the global church and too often us educated Americans seek naturalistic explanations instead of the God of Grace.

I am not sure that I can say I loved this book, but I did like Heidi and Rolland and what I heard from their story.  I give this book 3 stars and am interested in hearing more about their work.

Thank you to Chosen Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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