Called to Controversy The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and The Founding of Jews for Jesus by Ruth Rosen is a weighty biography written by daughter about her father. When I first received it in the mail from Thomas Nelson, my heart sank. It is 307 pages long and, since it was written by someone related to the author, I feared it would be mired in minutia and endless, boring details. I was wrong.

Ruth Rosen writes with clarity and honesty about a very outspoken man and the ministry he founded called Jews for Jesus.

Born in 1932, the story of Rosens’s childhood is worth reading for its insights into wartime America and the first impressions of God on a boy growing up in a Jewish community. I enjoyed the direct recollections of Moishe throughout the book.

Moishe Rosen came to Christ as an adult through the influence of his wife who had also been raised Jewish. His struggles to assimilate into the American Christian churches of the time are both comical and enlightening. His first impressions of a Christian church service are invaluable for anyone who wants to share Christ with others.

Ruth Rosen writes sensitively about her father who was outspoken, flamboyant, opinionated and deeply committed to serving Jesus Christ. Moishe’s own words often leap off the page to inspire and interest the reader.

Moishe said this, “I never liked being boss. I never sat down with someone to plan out what they should be doing. And, if they didn’t know exactly how to do it, I’d trouble-shoot it.”

He was the kind of man who was probably a little like a bull in a china shop; he got things done, he didn’t apologize and he kept on going in spite of the crash of broken china around him. His daughter does a good job of sharing his story without glossing over his weaknesses, yet, her love for him shines through.

As someone who became a believer in 1978, Rosen’s approach to serving Christ was, in some ways, typical of that era (including the founder of Calvary Chapel, Chuck Smith). Those were the days of bold, young “Jesus Freaks” who obeyed first and thought about “how” later.

His daughter Ruth said,

“My father would be the first to tell you that what you think of him makes little, if any, difference. It’s what you think of Jesus that really matters.

So while this book is not meant to force beliefs on anyone, please excuse this one burst of gospel fervor: if you don’t know Jesus and will consider him with an open mind and heart, I believe God will bless you beyond anything you have ever dreamed possible….We can spend our brief lives any way we choose, but we can spend them only once.

It’s important to recognize value, in ourselves, in others, and in whatever work God calls us to do. That’s something I learned from my father.”

If you enjoy lengthy insights into interesting people, I recommend this book. I received this book free of charge from Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.

To be entered to win a copy, please leave a comment and share what historical or contemporary person you find interesting! I will pick a winner on March 31st!