Title: Child of Grace: A Death Row Story
Author: Dr. Chris Brown
Publishing Date: Jan 27, 2019
Length: 186 pages
About the Book:
Dr. Chris Brown takes you on a journey of faith as he and his father discover God’s grace in the most unlikely circumstances. Come along on the journey to the darkness of death row, into the light of Christ, and through the pain of an execution. This book is a unique look at redemption through the eyes of a child who sees his wayward father saved on the way to death row and follows his own road through darkness on the way to redemption. It’s an amazing true story of God’s unfailing grace and the redeeming love that is available to all.
What do you think of when you hear the story of the thief on the cross? The one whom Jesus said “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). He was a man condemned to death for his crimes, yet he still wasn’t too far gone for Jesus to reach. In our human nature it’s hard for us to not place levels on sin. Have you ever heard someone say “there’s a special place in hell for that one” or “don’t worry, his bill will come to,” or something along the same lines? I have, and I’ll admit it didn’t seem to bother me until I was older and grew more in my faith. The thing is, we all deserve hell. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we could have a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father and one day enter Heaven. There isn’t anyone too far gone for Jesus to reach.
Why do I say that and what does it have to do with this book? Dr Chris Brown is the son of a man who was sentenced to death for murder. He spent his childhood living with his paternal grandparents and only seeing his father Gary in prison. It was behind bars while on death row that Gary came to Christ. Apparently getting drugs while in prison wasn’t too difficult, and initially he continued his lifestyle of drugs and pornography, but over time he felt convicted and turned away from those things. Eventually he became a minister of sorts in the prison, and shared his faith with anyone he could. While he still had earthly consequences for his sin, he lived the rest of his days serving the Lord in the capacity that he was able.
This book is part memoir and part testimony. It’s a shorter read coming in at just under 200 pages (and is also smaller in dimensions), but holds such a powerful story of redemption. As a bit of a content warning, Dr. Brown shares some graphic details about the murder that resulted in his father’s incarceration. I believe it’s intentional to show that he’s not trying to sugar coat or deny any of the things his father did. It was ugly. What he’s trying to show us is just how much Jesus changed him from the inside out. Not only do we hear of his father’s path to faith, but Dr. Brown also weaves his own testimony into the pages as well.
This was an incredibly powerful read and one I highly recommend. This would be especially great for those interested in starting and/or participating in a prison ministry. It holds a powerful message everyone could benefit from hearing though. There is certainly some difficult-to-read content, but it’s intended to show just how much saving faith in Jesus can (and does) change people.
*I received a copy of this book from the author. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.