Full Pardon: The Harry L. Greene Story. By Harry L. Greene and Robert C. Larson. Richmond, VA: Good News Publishing, 2001. 183 pp. Cloth. $14.95.
Harry Greene is a former felon who received a full pardon and now heads one of the largest prison ministries in the world, Good News Jail & Prison Ministry (GNJPM). This book tells both his story and the story of GNJPM.
Of special interest to me is the fact that Dr. Bill Simmer, a personal friend, was the founder of GNJPM and he is the one who led Harry Greene to faith in Christ while he was in jail awaiting sentencing that sent him to two years in state prison. Bill led Harry and others to faith in Christ by repeatedly being there for them and sharing the message of the love of God in Christ and the free gift of eternal life. As much of the book deals with Bill’s ministry to Harry, it was a pleasure to read this book about a personal friend.
Even though I’ve spoken in two state prisons and have a number of former felons as friends, I was challenged to be more responsive to recently released felons. Greene and Larson convey the need to reach out to these people and to incorporate them into the local church family. The book also gave me a greater appreciation for those who devote their lives to minister behind prison walls to prisoners and to prison officials.
The gospel is repeatedly mentioned in this book. For example, “He actually wonders if he would everhave come to faith in Christ had he not been placed behind bars” (p. 91). “I received my cherished eternal life in Christ solely because of what my Savior did for me on the cross: He died in my place, so that I might gain eternal life” (p. 146).
However, sometimes the evangelism language in this book is a bit fuzzy. We find vague expressions such as “he accepted Christ” (pp. 78, 79, 87, 153, 154, 167), “he invited/asked Jesus to come into his life” (pp. 79, 80, 172), or “he gave his heart/life to Christ” (pp. 108, 170).
JOTGES readers who are interested in prison ministry will want to add this book to their personal library.
Robert N. Wilkin
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society