Being There

Brother Andrew is anything but politically correct. The Dutch-born evangelist, in this age of carefully nuanced interfaith dialogue, unapologetically preaches the Christian gospel, especially to Muslims. And yet, despite what some might call his blunt approach—or maybe because of it—he has been warmly welcomed by many Muslims, with whom he has formed close friendships.

Brother Andrew first achieved international notoriety with his autobiographical best-seller God’s Smuggler, which has sold more than 12 million copies since its publication in 1967. The book told the story of how Brother Andrew “smuggled” Bibles and evangelistic materials behind the Iron Curtain at the height of the Cold War. Born in 1928 in the Netherlands as Anne van der Bijl (which translates as Andrew), he explained that “Brother” is a name given to all those who believe, and that he dislikes the “smuggler” label. “That term came from the publisher in the States—not from me,” Brother Andrew explained. “We weren’t ‘smuggling’—we were just taking things in without permission ... call it ‘unofficial delivery.’”

Today, since the fall of Soviet communism, Brother Andrew’s efforts are focused in large part on the Middle East and the broader Islamic world. “In the early 1970s,” Brother Andrew told Sojourners in a January conversation while attending a Muslim-Evangelical Christian dialogue in Tripoli, Libya, “I saw that Islam could one day be a bigger threat to the church than communism ever was.”

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Sojourners Magazine March 2008
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