The Advocate – Randy Singer

When I was in high school, history was the only class I ever did poorly in. I struggled to remember names, facts, and dates that floated independently in my mind, taken out of any overarching chronology rather than put into a historical context.

But put those names and dates into a story—give characters faces, relationships, loves, lives—and I am utterly engrossed.

Randy Singer has done a stunning job with his latest masterpiece, The Advocate. In fact, for as much as I love his legal thrillers, I would have to say that this is the best story he has ever written. It tells the story of Theophilus, the “most excellent” intended recipient of the books of Luke and Acts, as a young lawyer in Rome during the time of Jesus’ death and Christianity’s birth. Rome is a barrel of gunpowder just waiting for a spark, and the story closely follows the politics, conspiracy, and tension of that era. Singer does more than just tell: he immerses the reader in the feeling of the time, in the hopes and drama and fear of living in first-century Rome.

And the emotional rollercoaster is a powerful one. I held my breath through most of the pages. It brought me to tears more than once. After turning the last page, I wished I had not—wished it could go on and on through the next 2000 years, making history leap off the page, carrying my heart with a story I could believe was real.

I wish I could give a copy of this book to every Christian in America, but especially those with little knowledge of their own church history, and especially those with the audacity to claim that American Christians face persecution to claim. Singer paints an unyieldingly realistic picture of the challenges the church faced, that will make you search your heart and face your own beliefs. He writes a book about Christ without preaching, a book about the Gospel with few glimpses of Christ and more focus on the effects he had.

I don’t know what more praise I could give this book. Without a doubt, if Randy Singer had written my history textbook, I would’ve devoured the book breathlessly, desperate for what happened next, all wrapped up in the lives of those who went before me, as real as the life I live today.

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Author: Josh Olds

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