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Dark Journey Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   176
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 30, 2006
ISBN  0976779021  
EAN  9780976779025  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Crimes unspeakable. A name synonymous with twisted brutality and perversion. Jeffrey Daymer. The most notorious serial killer of our time. A decade ago his story shocked and gripped our nation and the world. But we didn't get the whole story. In prison, Dahmer's dark journey crossed paths with deep grace. Here is the whole story, told by the man who befriended him and showed him the light of God's love. It's an unexpected story of first steps in faith, of surprising questions about the Bible, of light breaking into darkness. A story that will change what you thought you knew about grace. Jeffrey Dahmer. Christian. Grace unspeakable.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
"If Jeffrey Dahmer is going to heaven, then I don't want to be there."  Jan 14, 2007
Wisconsin minister Roy Ratcliff, through a series of unexpected developments and coincidences, was offered the opportunity to spiritually counsel serial murderer Jeffrey Dahmer while he was serving fifteen life sentences. Dahmer made headlines in the early 1990's for his cannibalism, necrophilia, and dismemberment of 17 male victims. Ratcliff's story, however, is slim on the true crime details, and rich in spiritual reflections on his relationship with one of America's most notorious serial killers.

Ratcliff baptized Dahmer in the Church of Christ at Wisconsin's Columbia Correction Institution. Dahmer had completed church workbooks and study guides prior to his request for baptisim. Ratcliff's book describes his relationship with a man who was shunned not only by America as a whole, but by the Christian population of America.

Minister Ratcliff describes a strong friendship from which both men grew and developed spiritually. Ratcliff was subject to harsh criticism for counseling a man that most believed was unfit for heaven. His story, however, is not that of a jailbird conversion, but of a friendship with a deeply troubled man who long knew that his urges were demented, but was unable to control them. Dahmer was murdered in prison in 1994, but Ratcliff continues to minister to prisoners to this day (he had never visited a prisoner prior to Dahmer's request for religious contact in prison).

This book is a slim volume that is rich on reflections about religion, friendship, God, spirituality, and society's concept of forgiveness. It is (thankfully) short on true crime details. Admittedly, the dialogue does read as amateurish, and Ratcliff appears to paint himself in an overly angelic light, but this is still a worthwhile read about religion, friendship, and a crime that is imprinted in America's collective psyche.
Can God Forgive a Serial Murderer and Cannibal?  Dec 27, 2006
One phone call in April 1994 changed Roy Ratcliff's life forever. The call came from a fellow minister who wanted to know if Ratcliff would preside over the baptism of an inmate who was incarcerated in a prison near his home. Ratcliff had never had any experience with prison ministry. Nevertheless, he agreed to drive to the prison and meet with the prisoner. Upon being satisfied that the prisoner had a proper understanding of baptism's purpose, Ratcliff would make all the necessary arrangements. Ratcliff just needed one more piece of information: who was the prisoner making the request? The answer: Jeffrey Dahmer.

Ratcliff, like everyone else living in Wisconsin in the 1990s, was familiar with Dahmer's horrific story of torture, murder, necrophilia and cannibalism. When Ratcliff met Dahmer in late April 1994, he was surprised at Dahmer's quiet demeanor, his fairly lean frame and his small hands. Satisfied that Dahmer understood the meaning of baptism and that his desire was sincere, Ratcliff made arrangements for Dahmer's baptism in May 1994.

After Dahmer's baptism, Ratcliff continued meeting with him for weekly Bible studies and discussions. Little did they know that, in late November 1994, their friendship would be severed by Dahmer's brutal murder at the hands of another prisoner.

His friendship with Dahmer changed Ratcliff's life in several ways. First, the responses of other Christians to Ratcliff's ministry with Dahmer challenged Ratcliff to think deeply about the concepts of mercy, grace and justice. Some Christians encouraged Ratcliff's efforts, others believed Ratcliff was being conned and still others believed Dahmer was too evil to be forgiven. Second, Ratcliff's belief in Dahmer's sincerity and his friendship with Dahmer led him to believe more deeply in God's unconditional love. Third, following his ministry with Dahmer, Ratcliff became involved in several other prison ministries, activities that he is still engaged in a dozen years later.

Ratcliff states unequivocally that God can and does forgive the Jeffrey Dahmers of the world. Ratcliff also states unequivocally that divine forgiveness does not expunge the need for earthly justice. Ratcliff believes that people who cannot understand these distinctions are confused about the natures of both God and society. Social justice required, rightly, according to Ratcliff, that Dahmer should serve out his sentence regardless of his spiritual condition. Ratcliff reports that Dahmer also accepted his penalty as a just one. Neither of these men ever viewed spiritual conversion as a "get out of jail free" card. According to Ratcliff:

"A gross misunderstanding of what Jeff's baptism accomplished was apparent. No one said Jeff was no longer guilty of his crimes. He would not be released from prison, nor should he be, dependent upon his baptism. Baptism does not take away crimes. It addresses sins. The issue in baptism doesn't concern justice in the society. It concerns the forgiveness of God. . . . Jeff's crimes cry out for justice. . . . No one understood this quite as well as Jeff" (pp. 85-86).

This is a profoundly moving book, an unpretentious chronicle of an unlikely friendship that developed around a seemingly unlikely faith. Christians interested in stories of personal testimony will find this book interesting, as it offers insights into the spiritual lives of two men, Ratcliff and Dahmer. They should also find it uplifting, because it offers the promise of present and future redemption to all people, regardless of their past transgressions. Finally, readers of any faith, and even people with no faith, who read this book will be challenged to reconsider their ideas about God, evil and justice.
Can a story about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer be beautiful?  Dec 16, 2006
Can a story about serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer be beautiful?

My mind takes me to a verse in the gospel of John: "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it" (John 1:8 ESV). Dark Journey Deep Grace shows that the darkness of Jeffrey Dahmer's past cannot overcome the light of Christ. The grace of Christ Jesus is more than able to transform a life that has known the depths of depravity.

I was apprehensive about reading this book because of the inevitable retelling of Dahmer's crimes. A couple of chapters are somewhat disturbing, but I found that grace runs through this account. I see it in Dahmer's desire to be baptized and to obediently follow Christ. Because he had done so much wrong, he wanted so badly to do everything right that it bordered on legalism.

This is where God used Roy Ratcliff, a sincere and humble Church of Christ pastor that God uniquely prepared for this situation. Overwhelmed with regret for his crimes, Dahmer thought of suicide. Ratcliff at one time was so low over a failed pastorate that he too contemplated the same. He gently helped Dahmer to see the issue in light of Scripture, and was also able through their ongoing study of the Bible to guide Dahmer away from a legalistic faith. Ratcliff wanted Dahmer to know that he was fully loved and accepted by God.

Ratcliff never sought notoriety, but he had to deal with it when word of Dahmer's baptism reached the press. The grief that it caused was overshadowed by his concern for his relationship with the man he knew as Jeff. He was pleasantly surprised to learn that Dahmer was glad that people learned of his baptism. Dahmer had a desire to share his faith with others.

This is a wonderful account, simply told, of Ratcliff's seven-month relationship with Dahmer. One of the beautiful aspects of the book is that the two became friends. As a result, Ratcliff is able to share intimately about how Dahmer changed after becoming a Christian.

Dahmer dared to ask the question: Is there a place in heaven for a sinner like me? This book answers yes. It's surprising to learn that many people, including Christians, found it difficult to believe that Dahmer could be forgiven and have a place in heaven. It makes one wonder if Christians truly believe that the vilest offender can receive pardon from sin through faith in Christ.

Ratcliff uses misunderstanding in the minds of people to write briefly about the difference between forgiveness and justice. This might help those who struggle with the thought of God accepting Dahmer and his being a Christian. The book, however, leaves little doubt about his faith being genuine.

The writing is excellent making for easy reading. The author shows a wonderful balance in what he chose to write about. He wisely and tactfully addresses a number of issues without being preachy.

There's a beauty in being able to tell the truth in a simple and straightforward manner. That's what I find here.

This is a tragic story made beautiful in the end by the grace of God.
chief of sinners  Nov 21, 2006
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (10/06)

The words grotesque, depraved, and heinous, do not adequately describe the horror of mayhem and murder attributed to the appalling nature of Jeffrey Dahmer's criminal offenses. Dahmer is described as a "handsome, former tennis player, the son of middle-class parents, and a perverse serial killer whose unthinkable acts shocked the nation?"

In his statement to the court in 1992, Jeffrey Dahmer said, "Your Honor, I know my time in prison will be terrible, but I deserve whatever I get because of what I have done. Thank you, Your Honor, I am prepared for your sentence, which I know will be the maximum, I ask for no consideration."

"Dark Journey, Deep Grace" asks the question, "Can God forgive even Jeffrey Dahmer?" This is the story of Jeffrey's journey from remorse, to repentance, to redemption.

Author, Roy Ratcliff expressed the beginning of the journey this way, "Jeff confessed to me his great remorse for his crimes. He doubted he could be forgiven. He wished he could do something for the families of his victims to make it right, but there was nothing he could do. He turned to God because there was no one else to turn to, but he showed great courage in his daring to ask the question, `Is heaven for me too?'...he dared to ask and he dared to believe the answer."

Roy was often asked if Jeffrey was sincere in his desire for baptism and in his Christian life. Roy addresses this common skepticism about prison ministry and last-minute conversions. His response is a resounding, "Yes!" Ratcliff also details Jeffrey's extreme swing to legalism and his new passion to do things right in every aspect of his new life and faith.

On November 28, 1994 Jeffrey Dahmer was killed by another inmate in the prison facility. Seven month's earlier Roy Ratcliff, a minister from a community near the prison baptized Jeffrey in a whirlpool. In the months that followed, Roy visited Jeff weekly to nurture him in the Christian faith and to study the Bible together. Jeff was eager to learn more and was full of questions about following Christ's teaching. His life revealed evidence of growing in understanding and in growing into Christian maturity.

In God's providence Roy recognized Jeff as a friend, and as a brother in the faith. This is a story of man's sinfulness and God's grace.

Roy Ratcliff working with co-author Lindy Adams has created a masterful contrast of man's darkest evil and the power of God's forgiveness and His redeeming grace. "Dark Journey, Deep Grace" is profound in the questions raised and powerful in the answers provided. This story of Jeffrey Dahmer dramatically demonstrates God's grace, forgiveness, and his eternal destiny.
Very well written, very honest account  Oct 23, 2006
Roy does a wonderful job of showing you another side of Jeff. He gives a very honest and open account of his friendship with Jeff. He is also honest about the naysayers and doubters of this story. Regardless of what people think of Roy's motives, this is the work of a man who God chose to befriend and tell the story of a sinner who was saved.

Write your own review about Dark Journey Deep Grace: Jeffrey Dahmer's Story of Faith

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