Early on in Ninety and Nine Plus One, Robert H. Dunkle issues an edict to Christians to honor and preach their faith to others: “It is our responsibility as born-again believers to tell the world about Jesus and that he is able to save them from going to hell when they die.” These are strong words, but for the author who evangelized to the people of India via shortwave radio, faith is a matter of life and death. This collection of 100 transcribed broadcasts from his tenure as an airwaves preacher pays testament to that urgency and the author’s earnest piety.
Dunkle’s book serves as both a devotional and Bible study. Each chapter begins with a scriptural quote; then the author offers reflections and commentary on each passage. He covers many theological ideas and themes, from the importance of directing our lives away from sin, to the necessity of surrendering our pride to Jesus, to keeping the faith during suffering and crisis. Dunkle also stresses the need to put life into perspective, reminding readers that worldly possessions are meaningless if one doesn’t have a loving relationship with Christ.
Dunkle’s easy prose is thoughtful and his message is pastoral and promising, yet taken as a whole the book feels wordy and repetitive, mainly because broadcasts aren’t usually intended to become chapters in a book. Repetition of his call for readers to become “born again” as well as his inclusion of the same prayer to close each chapter might have worked on-air, but here it feels overdone and heavy-handed. Maybe overemphasizing the idea is the point—nailing down the message until readers change their lives—but better editing would have made his message more effective.
Dunkle’s sincerity is apparent and his desire for readers to experience spiritual renewal is well intentioned, but the book needs revision to help the author’s teachings resonate with a wide audience.