Randy Alcorn

Safely Home

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Safely Home Summary

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Safely Home (2001), a work of Christian fiction by Randy Alcorn, follows two Christian friends who reconnect after twenty years, sharing their very different religious experiences. The book won the 2002 ECPA Christian Book Award; all sales proceeds go directly to a persecuted church featured in the novel. Alcorn is a bestselling writer who previously ministered in various countries, including China and America. In 1990, he founded the non-profit organization, Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM). The EPM teaches biblical truths and encourages people to help the less fortunate.

The two primary characters in Safely Home are Ben Fielding and Li Quan. They studied together at Harvard University for a few years, becoming very close friends. Ben works for the successful company, Getz International, where he is on track to become the next CEO. Quan, on the other hand, lives in constant fear of religious persecution in China. Ben doesn’t know this yet.

Many years ago, when Ben and Quan first met, they had very different religious views. Quan was an atheist who didn’t believe in God. He didn’t believe in organized religion. Ben was a devout Christian who lived his life by Christian values. His influence rubbed off on Quan who converted to Christianity. However, a lot can change in twenty years, and their outlooks are now very different.

As the novel opens, Ben’s boss wants him to travel to China to foster relationships with Chinese businessmen that will take Getz International to the next level. Ben is reluctant to travel so far away, but his boss suggests he stays with Quan since they used to be such good friends. Ben doesn’t want to impose on Quan after twenty years, but he agrees to go for the sake of the business.

Ben arrives in China and meets Quan. Quan asks Ben what he is doing in China, and Ben explains he’s there on business. Ben’s boss wants to understand what makes ordinary Chinese people happy so that he can expand the business into Asia. He is looking for business connections in the region. Quan can’t believe that Ben is a businessman now. He is completely different from the Ben whom Quan used to know.

When Ben sees where Quan lives, he is shocked. When Ben last saw Quan, he planned to work at Harvard University as a history professor. Now, he lives in squalor in a rundown neighborhood with no prospects. Quan explains that Christians are persecuted in China, but he refuses to give up his faith.

Ben doesn’t believe Quan at first. He can’t imagine that the Chinese people persecute anyone for their religious views. However, he soon realizes that Quan is telling the truth. Quan exposes him to Christian services held underground, Bible smuggling, and daily abuse. This is nothing like how China presents itself to the world, and Ben now sees that China has fooled America.

Disappointed at how little religious freedom there is in China, Ben wants Quan to be safe. He tells Quan to stop practicing Christianity and pretend to shun it. If he must be a Christian, he must do so quietly and in the privacy of his own home. He should stop associating with fellow Christians. Quan wonders why Ben feels like this, and Ben explains that he is only trying to watch out for him.

Quan pities Ben, although Ben can’t understand why. Religion used to be so important to Ben until he gave it up for corporate America. Although Ben has the freedom to worship whichever deities he chooses, he worships none. Ben is ashamed to admit that he recently fired someone from Getz International for his stance on homosexuality and abortion. Quan notes that this isn’t very Christian of him, and Ben knows that he’s right.

Ben reflects on how different their lives are. While he is primed to become the CEO of one of America’s most successful computer companies, Quan is working as a locksmith for barely any wages. Quan has a brilliant mind, but he can’t teach or get a better job because of his religious leanings. Ben wonders if God wants him to return to Christianity.

Shortly before Ben returns home, Quan is arrested. He is charged with worshipping at an underground Christian church and practicing false beliefs. Quan admits that he is a practicing Christian. If he exposes the others in his church, then the government will be lenient with him. If he refuses, he will die. Quan refuses to hand over his fellow Christians, even as he is tortured and ridiculed. Ben can only watch as Quan martyrs himself for Christ.

When Ben returns home, he changes the trajectory of Getz International. He uses his influence to expose human rights violations across the world and he returns to Christianity. He makes sure every employee has a fair wage, and he bans the use of political slaves in factory production. To make Quan proud, he starts teaching Chinese students about different religions, and he encourages them to consider Christianity.

Throughout the book, angels watch over what happens to Ben and Quan. The angels record their actions in a special book. When these men die, the angels use the book to decide whether they go to Heaven or Hell. Safely Home encourages readers to cling to Christ, no matter how hard life is here on Earth because the faithful are ultimately rewarded.