Posted: 01/01/2009 at 11:53am
A Review of Heidi Baker’s Compelled by Love
by Steve Eastman
Attending a Heidi Baker meeting in a Western country can be puzzling for the uninitiated. Not puzzling in a bad way, if you’re spiritually hungry. It’s puzzling in a way that makes you want to understand the mystery of God operating in her life. I went to one of her meetings a few years ago. Heidi gets on her knees when she’s “supposed” to be preaching. She laughs. She cries. She praises. Her new book initiates the uninitiated. We learn she’s compelled by God’s love.
Many people would say Heidi Baker was an unlikely candidate for a ministry to the world’s poorest. As her husband Rolland tells us in his forward, “She had a privileged upbringing, living on a private beach, and lacked nothing in education, comforts, and opportunity.” She even earned a PhD in systematic theology. When the couple arrived in Mozambique, they had no money and few contacts. It brings to mind how God sent the apostle Paul, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, to reach the Gentiles. Heidi and Paul have something else in common – a vision that birthed a ministry.
By the age of 16, according to Rolland’s forward, Heidi “… had already been mystically taken to heaven and commissioned by Jesus to be a missionary and a minister to Asia, England, and Africa.” In the earthly realm, she draws inspiration from the example of Mother Theresa, whose quotes set the stage for nearly every chapter.
Heidi also draws inspiration from the children and other poor she encounters. The very foundation of Compelled by Love is living out the Beatitudes, which grant the poor in spirit, the meek and other weak ones the blessings of the Kingdom of Heaven. These promises are often spiritualized away in the West, but they are a matter of life and death in Mozambique, just like the miracles.
One day someone gave the Bakers money for a feast of chicken, 1,138 pieces to be exact. Heidi and Rolland followed the illustration in the book of Luke and invited the poor, the crippled, the blind and lame -- more than 2,200 of them. It turns out there was more than enough. Families even got to take some home.
It seems like the Bakers and Iris Ministries move from one crisis to another. She has been in jail for her faith. Rolland has been terribly sick. Natural disasters strike an already impoverished country. There are no back-up plans. Each situation is an opportunity to trust in God and remember that the Beatitudes and other principles of Scripture really work.
Heidi’s typical day may include holding an AIDS-stricken orphan, praying against attacks from bandits and performing a wedding for a former prostitute who will now follow Jesus at any cost. Westerners come to volunteer, sometimes for weeks at a time. They hunger for the presence of Jesus. Seeing Heidi Baker in action in Mozambique is not puzzling at all.
Visit the Compelled by Love webpage.
Read Steve Eastman's interview with Heidi Baker.
Edited by Steve Eastman on 05/25/2009 at 10:55pm