CONVERSATIONS: God's Smuggler Confesses

Brother Andrew wonders if American Christians are willing to die for anything, even their faith.

Brother Andrew is a doer. While most Christians put out fleeces, he would already be on the plane, facing danger, finding a way into some place others describe as "closed." As a teen in Holland, he worked alongside Corrie ten Boom in the resistance during World War II. As a college graduate, he started making trips behind the Iron Curtain, sneaking in Bibles, books, or whatever else was needed to further the gospel there. Forty years ago, he organized this whirlwind of activity into a ministry called Open Doors.

Once described as "the James Bond of the cloth," Brother Andrew refuses to see himself as exceptional. He describes his 1967 bestseller, God's Smuggler, as a "curse," because it portrays him as heroic and extraordinary, whereas he thinks all Christians should do whatever it takes to help brothers and sisters in need. Just like he does.

From behind the Iron Curtain, throughout Africa, and now the Middle East, Brother Andrew keeps walking through open doors.

IF YOU HAD TO DO IT OVER AGAIN, WOULD YOU STILL START OUT AS GOD'S SMUGGLER?

I didn't start as God's smuggler. I'm against smuggling. What you are calling smuggling resulted from several years of ministry in communist countries—first in evangelism, then in teaching. Pastors there had no training, so they asked if I could bring them a Bible on my next trip to visit them. I said yes. But soon there were so many requests that I couldn't carry them openly any more.

WHAT ABOUT PROJECT PEARL, WHERE IN 1981 YOU DUMPED A WHOLE FREIGHTER'S WORTH OF BIBLES ONTO CHINA?

That was very illegal. By that time, Open Doors had a fleet of vehicles that were specially converted for this type of activity so that we could not only hide books and Bibles but also a person or a printing ...

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