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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review: SEAL of God


I first learned of Chad Williams when I watched him debate an atheist during one of his street preaching events. Later, I found him through Ray Comfort’s ministry; he was always the one who would bring up the apologetics-related topics on their show, On The Box. Needless-to-say, I loved it! So when I heard that he was writing a book, I knew I had to read it. That book, SEAL of God, is an excellent read. It is the testimony of former Navy SEAL, Chad Williams, chronicling his life from before he met Christ to his unexpected encounter with Him, and his experiences in BUD/S SEAL training.



The book begins with stories from Chad’s “wild” side in his younger years. Always the adventure seeker, Chad chased every dream he had, and he was always in search of the next “thrill.” It was obvious that he was searching for something, though at the time, he didn’t know what that was. He finally decided that becoming a SEAL was the way to fill the void. A former Navy SEAL, Scott Helvenston, took Chad under his wing and began to prepare him for the grueling work he would encounter in SEAL training. But although Chad had made up his mind to become a SEAL, it was Scott’s sudden murder while on a mission in Iraq, which strengthened his resolve to enlist as a Navy SEAL in honor of his friend. The book follows many of his experiences in SEAL training, as well as his attitude and lifestyle before he met Christ.

Here is a brief synopsis of the book:

Just days before Chad Williams was scheduled to report for basic training at the Great Lakes naval base, he turned on the television and was greeted with the horrifying image of his mentor and training partner, US Navy SEAL Scott Helvenston, being brutally murdered in a premeditated ambush on the streets of Fallujah, Iraq.
Steeled in his resolve, Chad committed himself to completing the US military’s most difficult training to become a Navy SEAL – and avenge his friend’s death. One of only thirteen out of a class of 173 to make it straight through to graduation, Chad went on to serve o SEAL Teams 1 and 7, completing tours of duty in the Philippians, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and finally Iraq. There, Chad’s journey came full circle when his team was ambushed by enemy machine gunners – close to the same road where his hero had been killed five years earlier.
SEAL of God follows Chad’s extraordinary journey through twenty-five grueling weeks of BUD/S training and onto the hostile streets of Al Anbar Providence, Iraq, where he witnessed the horrors of war up close. Along the way, Chad shares his own radical conversion story and discovers the true meaning of ultimate sacrifice.

Chad had known that God was with him throughout the years, since he had witnessed some personal miracles early in his life. Still, he seemed to resist Him, even perusing alcohol a bit too much. For this reason, after many pages on his rebellious lifestyle and the dangers he encountered in SEAL training, it was refreshing to hear Chad’s testimony of how God met him when he was least expecting it. (You can listen to a short audio of Chad’s testimony here.) It was at one of Greg Laurie’s events that Chad knew that he was going “to do what that guy up there on the stage is doing.” (And if you know anything about his life apart from the book, you know that Chad is now ministering full time!) Of course, life as a Christian was not always easy for Chad, and the book tells of some of his struggles as a new-found Christian.

SEAL of God is a page-turner. Personally, I have never found books on military life to be an engaging read. However, I could not put this book down! It is written in a very easy-to-understand way, and it reads much like a novel, though it is actually the testimony of former SEAL Chad Williams.

At the end of the book, Chad does an great job of bringing the topic full circle as he explains that Jesus did for us what many military personnel do on a daily basis: He laid down His life for us! As such, while not strictly about apologetics, this book is an excellent evangelistic tool, especially for anyone who is familiar with military/SEAL life. SEAL of God is a book that I recommend to fans of Ray Comfort’s ministry and to those who have family in or retired from the military.

Disclaimer: I received this product free from Tyndale in exchange for a review. The opinions expressed in this article are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of the publisher or author.

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