'Turn Back the Battle'

Elizabeth Kendal is a leading religious freedom analyst and prayer advocate on behalf of the persecuted church. Turn Back the Battle draws on her long familiarity with global trends in religious persecution. It has been forged out of a passionate interest in how Christians respond to persecution and all forms of suffering.

Over the years the author has seen God redeem suffering for the sanctification of believers, the salvation of the lost, and the glory of his Name. She has also seen mission and advocacy organisations – as well as churches and individual Christians – react in ways that hinder and hurt rather than help imperilled Christian communities.

In the latter part of the 8th century BC, when Judah was twice invaded and under existential threat, God commissioned a lone prophetic voice to speak his words into a politically charged military crisis. In Isaiah 1-39 God has provided spiritual resources and a historic precedent to help us respond rightly when under siege. In these days, as Christians world-wide face escalating persecution and existential threat, it is time to hear the message of Isaiah.

Review by J. Alec Motyer

Click here for review by Isaiah commentator J. Alec Motyer

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Click here for Table of Contents (in PDF format).

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Elizabeth KendalClick here for Transcript of
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You hold in your hands the fruit of many years of scholarship, wedded to the reality of present persecution. The promises of God, so desperately needed in Isaiah’s time, come alive for us in these pages at a time when Christianity is marginalized, and Islam is permitted to enact its supremacist agenda. We are encouraged to learn that followers of the Lord in Isaiah’s time also had to remain firm in the face of dwindling numbers and fierce opposition. Please do yourself a favor – read this book and share it with a friend!

Erwin Lutzer, Moody Church, Chicago

Elizabeth Kendal states the persecution of the Church is ‘at the gate.’ She summons the Church and the individual believer to be aware of the ensuing spiritual battle. We must repent and ‘trust not in horses and chariots but in the Lord Our God.’ For armanents she offers faith and prayer. As a witness to the persecution of the Christ’s Church and Christians in the Sudan for over nine years, I commend‘Turn Back the Battle’ to readers. Read it as if the Church and your spiritual life depended upon it. Heed the call to mobilize, and the declaration of victory in and through the Word of God.

Heidi McGinness, Modern-Day Abolitionist and Director of Outreach, Christian Solidarity International, USA

In ‘Turn Back the Battle’ Isaiah’s message comes through loud and clear. A society which does not acknowledge the laws of God will bring judgement on itself: it will decline and perish. To flourish, a nation needs authentic spiritual identity and a sense of destiny. Without these there will be increasing reliance on coercion, authoritarianism, the intolerance of the ‘tolerant’, and persecution of those who disagree with the godless consensus. A city can be either built on rebellion against God – Babel – or fulfil God’s purposes – Jerusalem. A proper balance needs to be struck between a missionary engagement with culture and prophetic witness to the culture. Suffering for the Faith is itself prophetic and the ultimate counter-cultural criticism. The lesson to be drawn for Christian work is not to rely on compromised human institutions to bring justice and freedom to a beleaguered humanity but to rely on God alone.

Michael Nazir-Ali, former Bishop of Rochester and Director of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue

What on earth have events in the Middle East over 2700 years ago got to do with what is ahead of us today? Everything! God hasn’t changed and neither has humankind. Through careful research and analysis Elizabeth Kendal brings to life the past to unravel the present. Read and be forewarned about what may be about to happen – if we don’t return to God.

Stuart Robinson, Founding Pastor, Crossway Church

‘Turn Back the Battle’ will strengthen your faith. It helps us see that God is not about to surrender the lives and destiny of his people to the evil intentions of a mean and despicable humanity at war with itself.

Elizabeth Kendal puts the current awful outpouring of violence, aggression and terrorism against the Body of Christ in its biblical context. She shines the light of God’s Word onto the pain, the anguish and the disdain that God’s people suffer. This book will reinforce your confidence in God’s commitment to liberate his people. It explains why we need to focus on him in our darkest hour. I commend it to all who seek to find reassurance of the unfailing hand of God during the current horrendous siege which is being unleashed on the global Body of Christ.

Timothy O. Olonade, Executive Secretary and CEO, Nigeria Evangelical Missions Association

Religious freedom is one of the most urgent, pressing issues for the global human rights movement. Among those who analyse and comment on religious oppression, perhaps no one is more keenly aware of the underlying issues and root causes than Elizabeth Kendal. This outstanding study demonstrates her mastery of this subject. Her engaging writing style makes this book a must-read for anyone concerned about religious freedom today.

Mark Albrecht, Author of the ‘Restricted World Ministry Handbook‘ (1989), the first country-by-country study on Christian persecution

‘Turn Back the Battle’ is a timely antidote against the belief that more activism, more United Nations, more international legislation, more international pressure, more democracy, or Washington can substantially change the situation of persecuted Christians. Elizabeth Kendal’s very readable book applies the message of Isaiah to believers today, to show that our faith must be in God alone, and our focus on obeying him before anything else. This is valuable advice and I plan to apply it to the situation of my own congregations here in Egypt.

Jos M. Strengholt, Anglican priest in Cairo, Egypt

This book challenged my faith. I have a passion for persecuted believers and studying the book of Isaiah with an eye on today’s world helped me to focus on the way forward for them and for us. It caused me to remember God’s great deeds in the past and trust him for the future. It made me feel ashamed for being so easily influenced by the ‘ways of the world’. It gave me hope for the future, since Jesus is Victor. ‘Prayer is the highest form of advocacy’ is my favourite sentence of this book. May I not just believe it but live it.

Anneke Companjen, author of ‘Hidden Sorrow, Lasting Joy‘ and ‘Singing Through the Night‘, on the women of the persecuted church

What you have in your hand is powerful, provocative and essential reading for today’s world. Elizabeth Kendal has written a classic. Her many years of research into the subject matter of this must-read book challenge us to not look to man for our help, but to God. ‘Turn Back the Battle’ is theologically sound, historically and culturally savvy, prophetically insightful and geopolitically intuitive. It is desperately needed. This is not one to put back on the shelf. Buy it, read it, live it. Now.

Ray Wadeley, Former National Deputations Director, Voice of the Martyrs Australia

With clear spiritual insight, impressive scholarship and intellectual integrity, Elizabeth Kendal explores Isaiah’s revelation of God’s timeless wisdom, compassion and anguish over the suffering caused by humanity’s embrace of the alluring, deceptive philosophies of the world. ‘Turn Back the Battle’ will inspire and empower all who value God-given freedom and yearn to see his righteousness upheld.

Karen Bos, Christian Faith and Freedom

‘Turn Back the Battle’ is an outstandingly insightfulbook which exposes global threats to Christian faith, religious liberty and human rights. As the foundation of our civlisation is shaken, and the Church faces life-endangering challenges from within and without, it calls us to ask ourselves in what and in whom do we trust. It proclaims that our ultimate security rests in Christ alone. It invites readers to a radical faith in God. The message of this passionate and prophetically astute book should be heeded by all Christ’s faithful witnesses in this the 21st Century.

Albrecht Hauser, Mission Secretary and Canon of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg and a Trustee of the Barnabas Fund

In this careful biblical, theological, exegetical and pastoral study, Elizabeth Kendal uses the book of Isaiah to offer hope and comfort to believers the world over, especially the persecuted church. Kendal has mined Isaiah deeply to bring forth its treasures, and we all owe her our heartfelt thanks for doing so.

Bill Muehlenberg, apologist, lecturer, writer, commentator, and CultureWatch blogger

In this superbly written book, Elizabeth Kendal shows how the wisdom of the prophet Isaiah can equip today’s Christians. It serves as a wake-up call for believers tempted by the attractions of an increasingly God-less world, and Christians living under oppression will draw great inspiration from it.

Peter Riddell, Vice-Principal (Academic), and Dean of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths, Melbourne School of Theology

‘Turn Back the Battle’ accurately applies the message of Isaiah to our day. This excellent historical and theological analysis removes indifference and deception from our eyes to reveal our sins and the state of our global society. It is a call to do something compassionate, to ‘suffer-with’ those in need. But primarily it is a call to faith, as only God can provide the help needed. Kendal is honest, faithful and qualified in what she writes. For the last five years we have personally witnessed severe persecution against the church in Jos, Nigeria. We have looked to God daily for answers and have seen his church greatly strengthened and many come to know Jesus. We applaud the exceptional prophetic call in ‘Turn Back the Battle’. This is a radical message, calling us to radical trust, the only response worthy of the gift of Christ who died and rose for us.

Kent Hodge, Christian Faith Institute, Jos, Nigeria