The Day God Flipped My Switch
Reviewed by Herbert (Heschel) Israel Links
This memoir recounts the bewildering religious conversion of Ron Benrey, a perfectly contented Jew who on an ordinary August afternoon abruptly and inexplicably became a Christian. What could have changed his heart so drastically?
In 11 succinct chapters Benrey takes us through the profound changes in his life when God “flipped his switch.” He recounts his interaction with Carolyn, a Christian witness in his life, and the moment God reached out to him on what he calls his “Road to Annapolis.” Those who have come to faith as young adults know the profound changes that took place in their outlook, goals, and priorities upon conversion. Benrey testifies that these same changes occur even in adults who qualify to carry AARP membership cards. As a late Jewish bloomer, this revelation at age 55 is remarkable. However, we Jewish people have frequently been described as being “a riddle within a mystery wrapped in an enigma.” Occasionally we do weird things from time to time that get us into trouble—like believing that Jesus is the Messiah.
Benrey’s background is extensive: professional speechwriter, author of 10 non-fiction books, including Know Your Rights: A Survival Guide for Non-Lawyersand Understanding Christianity, and co-author (with his wife, Janet) of nine mystery novels. One would assume that with scientific credentials from such secular institutions as Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a membership with the Pennsylvania Bar (Duquesne University Law), Benrey would be an unlikely candidate to embrace the Messiah. However, what will surprise and fascinate readers is his uncanny ability to mystically use characters in his novels and develop the plots of those novels to demonstrate how God could be a Trinity and how Jesus could be the incarnate Son of God, fully human and fully divine. In the final analysis he acknowledges that his conversion is actually an “inside job,” accomplished by God.
Benrey beautifully describes his friend Carolyn as “an authentic non-threatening Christian who quietly modeled Christianity in a way that could influence the people around her. Her “self-giving love, expressed through a decision to act in someone’s best interest regardless of the present cost,” impressed and affected him deeply. To doubters he firmly asserts, “I already know that it happened [to me], but I can’t prove to anyone else that it actually happened. I don’t mind skeptics doubting my experience. I was there. They weren’t.”
Readers will be impressed by Benrey’s ability to grasp historical theology and his insight into the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Some the most captivating chapters in this memoir are “Everything I Learned About Christianity I Learned from Writing Mystery Novels,” “I Can Believe in Evolution and Christianity at the Same Time,” “About the Switch, and “My New Christian Mischpoche” [family]. Even though Benrey was not seeking after God, the book makes it apparent that God was searching for him. Benrey’s story is inspiring for believers and thought-provoking for unbelievers.
A fascinating, humorous, and provocative read, The Day God Flipped My Switch is a book that informs as well as entertains. And readers who are sticklers for carefully constructed theological systems will be refreshed by this layman’s practical theology.
Hooray for Ron Benrey, a smart scribe who is not afraid to declare the Truth. If you long to share your faith in the Lord with your Jewish friends, I would strongly urge you to give this book to them.
Herbert (Heschel) Israel Links is a Holocaust survivor, born to Jewish parents in Vienna, Austria. An ordained Presbyterian minister and graduate of Baylor University and Princeton Theological Seminary, he has served as the director of the Messianic Jewish Center and pastor of Congregation Beth Messiah, a Messianic Jewish Congregation in Philadelphia, Pa.