Author: Rebecca Nichols Alonzo
Pages: 278 pages
Genre: Biography/True Crime
As a husband, daddy, and pastor what would I do if a powerful man in the community was terrorizing my family? That is the question that I was confronted with as I read through The Devil in Pew Number Seven.
I received this book free from Tyndale Publishers in return for a review. Sometimes that is a happy exchange and other times I plod along through a book to provide a review. This particular experience was painful—though not because of the writing. This books message is painful, yet ends with hope and a grace-soaked called to forgive.
Unfortunately this is a true story written by a woman that “never felt safe as a child”. She never felt safe because a man “obsessed with controlling the church and determined to get rid of anyone who stood in his way” terrorized their family for years. The man hated her daddy, the pastor. This was not confined to threatening phone calls, nasty stairs, or rumors being spread (though these were present). We’re talking dynamite outside the newborns room, bullets through your daughters room, dynamite during church service, followed by laughing at the destruction.
Some may believe that the story progresses a little slow and that the writing is a little too cutesy at times. As for me, I think it builds tension and stirs the emotions. I found myself picturing the gruesome scenes as the story climaxes. My own heart was breaking as I picture my own family going through such an ordeal. Perhaps, as a pastor I can relate a little deeper. The ending was sweet and affecting. If Rebecca Nichols Alonzo had the goal of telling her story to encourage forgiveness then she succeeds.
After reading this I’m still not sure what I would do if I were in this pastors shoes. Part of me would want to fight back and pursue this devil. Part of me would want to pack my bags and get my family speedily to safety. And part of me would probably do the same thing this pastor did—stay the course and choose the path of love even if it meant death.
Every pastor at one time or another is faced with countless decisions like this one. Do I stay and protect the flock or do I leave and protect my family? This heart-gripping tale puts a face to that decision.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars