To End All Wars, by Ernest Gordon

To End Alll Wars, Ernest GordonForgiveness, grace and spiritual transformation are subjects about which every Christian studies and desires. Nevertheless, many of us find it not only difficult to receive these in their own lives, but to extend them to others.

To End All Wars is a book that demonstrates the power of God to touch individuals that are confined in the most horrid conditions humanity can devise and transform them into people that willingly love, forgive and offer grace even to their most brutal enemies. Written by Ernest Gordon and originally titled, Through The Valley Of The Kwai, this historical account of the famed Burmese railroad, that was built by prisoners during World War II, is a gripping record of men who had lost everything except God and came away transformed by grace.

The book opens with the author seemingly dying in a prison hospital known as the “Death House”. The story unfolds as Ernst Gordon recalls his life leading up to Scotland’s entrance into the Second World War, his decision to join the 93rd Highlanders Regiment, and his subsequent placement to Malaya. After the fall of Singapore and a foiled escape attempt, Gordon was captured and sent to work as slave labor for the Japanese.

While a prisoner, Gordon and the other British Commonwealth troops faced death by disease, brutality, and starvation. As he recuperated in the hospital, the author was befriended by two Christians. Through their influence he, along with others, began to study the Bible and experienced a truly amazing work of God in their lives.

Without either whitewashing the atrocities or damning his captors, this soldier relates how the love of God impacted hateful, abused, dispirited and hopeless men so that they overcame their animosities and experienced God’s transforming power.

The end of the book relates the permanence of this spiritual change as many of these former prisoners returned to serve Christ and their fellow man. Although the brutality in the book is sometime hard to read, I highly recommend To End All Wars as a magnificent reminder that forgiveness and grace are possible through the redeeming work of Jesus Christ.

This account can also be found in a movie by the same title (To End All Wars), starring Kiefer Sutherland. It is rated R for the true life violence it portrays.

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Bill Mayk
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About Bill Mayk

Bill is the founding pastor of Grace & Peace Presbyterian Church (PCA) Prior to beginning this church planting work in the Pottstown area, Bill served as a hospice chaplain and a missionary to Mexico and Jordan. Bill earned his MDiv from Biblical Theological Seminary.