Book Review — The Devil in Pew Number Seven

I interrupt this hiatus for a book review. Since I asked for books to review, I feel I need to get them reviewed in some sort of a timely fashion, even if I tried to give myself a hiatus from blogging.

The Devil in Pew Number Seven is a true story. The book was sent to me for review by Tyndale, though I am not under any obligation to write just a positive review.

This is a compelling story of a pastor’s family in the south in the 1970s. They went through horrible abuse by a very deranged individual in their church. I lived through a lot of church abuse in my day, but nothing I saw involved this kind of terrorism. Rebecca Nichols Alonzo writes of her family and the ugly days of pastoring a church in a tiny town in North Carolina. Though the church thrived, one particular man in the church just simply hated the pastor. His abuse included hurling verbal abuses at the pastor during the Sunday services and “anonymous” letters. But it went far beyond anything I’ve ever seen or experienced.

The vengeful man actually set off explosives near their home and tried to contract a killer to assassinate the pastor.

Eventually, through the violence of another man battling alcoholism, the pastor and his wife are shot. The pastor’s wife dies in that shooting. The pastor goes into horrible bouts of depression. The book is written from the viewpoint of the daughter, who was only seven or eight when her mother was tragically killed.

The main theme of the book is forgiveness. It is about blessing those who really do persecute you. The author and her brother work through forgiveness both for the killer and the vengeful old man who tried to blow up their house.

The book lacks depth. I was left wanting to know more. The reader is left without a lot of detail on deeper issues. How did that congregation stay so supportive so long? This is a book that could go much deeper into a riveting story. Everything flies by too quickly.

Overall, the look into abuse and forgiveness makes it a compelling read.