Kabasele’s traditional defense of Christianity blends biblical interpretation with an autobiographical account of a mysterious illness healed by faith.
Kabasele (Jesus Christ is My God, 2011) is a Congolese Muslim by birth and an evangelical Christian by calling. His book is largely an analysis of assorted biblical passages from Jewish and Christian versions of the holy book, although names of translations are omitted. Literal interpretation abounds as does a theological perspective that seems conservative evangelical Protestant. The author uses a simple though non-specific style and rarely strays from brief declarative sentences. He has a keen eye for etymology and offers finely detailed explanations of many of the original Hebrew and Greek terms in the Bible. Kabasele selects an unusual assortment of passages for exegesis: Job, Paul’s Letter to the Romans and Paul’s epistle to Philemon. There are 14 chapters, most of which run little more than a page. Each chapter moves through interpretation to conclude with a prayer culled directly from scripture or a quote to ponder. Interrupting this pattern is a curiously moving account of the author’s nearly yearlong hospital stay due to a disease doctors had difficulty diagnosing. Kabasele credits a bedside visit from Jesus as the spark for his unexpectedly speedy recovery; full healing might be credited, however, to the surgeons who removed his spleen. Unfortunately, Kabasele’s biblical analyses suffer from a lack of interpretative rigor. His understanding of the complex book of Job concludes with “I believe that if God had not used Job, many people in today’s world would not understand what’s going on with them.” This position is not clearly articulated, theologically developed, or framed through specific examples. The author also tends to make sweeping and unsubstantiated generalizations, once going so far as to claim that human beings control other planets.
Many readers will find the account of Kabasele’s mysterious illness riveting, but little else in this awkwardly written evangelical tract is original.