Foreword Review — Sept / Oct 2004
“By choosing to work through ordinary people-with obvious flaws and frailties—God ensures that when something powerful happens, He alone will get the glory.” This concept, from the author’s introduction, is the basis for this lightly fictionalized account of the Apostle Peter’s relationship with Jesus and his role in Christ’s earthly ministry.
At the beginning of the story, Peter is an unschooled, unspiritual fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. At the story’s end, he is a wise, imposing leader, about to play a pivotal role in the founding of the Christian Church. In between, readers see the key to Peter’s transformation: not only has he been exposed to Christ, but he has also become willing to follow his Friend and Savior at all costs. Using Peter as an example, Briscoe argues that the key to leadership is not the desire to lead—in Christianity, paradoxically, the key to leadership is the desire to follow God.
Briscoe, who has written many books with Christian themes, has been a minister for more than fifty years, during which he became intimately acquainted with the Gospel accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. His care in narrating Peter’s stories with extra details that illuminate their historical context make the accounts especially interesting. For instance, while recounting the context for Jesus’ teaching on divorce, Briscoe informs readers that a “great debate between followers of Rabbi Hillel and Rabbi Shammai was raging at that time … Hillel’s followers were quite liberal on the issue, Shammai’s more conservative.”
Briscoe’s theological exactitude is not impeccable, however: some minor difficulties arise, such as when the author mentions the resurrected Christ’s painfully bruised rib cage, or when he asserts that Peter and John actually filled the jugs of water that Jesus turned into wine. While such inconsistencies may cause some readers to scratch their heads, Briscoe’s thought-provoking devotional questions and recommendations for action, which end each chapter, will offer insight to mature readers.
Brave Enough to Follow is a wonderful book for Christians who feel inadequate to lead in the ways they feel God calling them. It can also inspire any Christian, no matter how unworthy he or she feels, not to give up the faith. Indeed, as the book states, Peter, the “Rock” upon which Christ declared that he would build his church, began by protesting his own unworthiness to stand in Jesus’ presence.