book review: the God i don’t understand

prayer, God, rosary, trials, storms

Written by Dan King

Christ-follower. husband. father. author of the unlikely missionary: from pew-warmer to poverty-fighter. co-author of activist faith: from him and for him. director of family ministry at st. edward's episcopal church. president of fistbump media, llc.

June 16, 2011

prayer, God, rosary, trials, storms

[serialposts]We all ask these questions.

It’s okay to admit it… there’s stuff you don’t understand when you read the Bible, right? Why did God order the killing of every living person… man, woman and child in Canaan? Why does a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why does He allow so much senseless destruction… man-made or natural? Why did God have to ‘kill’ his own Son to save us?

These are the questions that both cause doubt in the mind of the Christian, and fuel the fire of the atheist and other non-believer.

In The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith, Dr. Christopher J.H. Wright deals with many of these questions in a refreshingly honest and scholarly way. The book is broken up into four parts, each covering some of the toughest questions we all struggle with:

  1. What about Evil and Suffering?
  2. What about the Canaanites?
  3. What about the Cross?
  4. What about the End of the World?

Wright deals with these questions by looking at the Scriptures through a proper exegetical/hermeneutical lens. What I mean by that is that he strives to interpret key passages by fully understanding the time, place, and culture within their proper context. This approach is refreshing because I believe one of the biggest problems facing the church today is improper Bible interpretation.

As the International Ministries Director for Langham Partnership International, the chair for the Lausanne Movement’s Theology Working Group, the author of several other books (including some Old Testament commentaries), Wright certainly has the chops to talk about this stuff. He’s earned his doctorate in Old Testament economic ethics, and his deep knowledge of the Old Testament provides incredible insight even into the New Testament passages that he discusses in the book.

One of things that I find most refreshing about this book is that Wright openly admits that he still struggles with fully understanding some of these issues, despite his deep theological understanding of the context in which they take place. In a strange way, I find that that somewhat empowering. As he shares history and other context, I get it. His points make sense. But I too still have questions, and it’s good to know that I’m not missing something.

In the end, the book is an interesting read… and great for discussion (I’ve been reading and talking about it with a small group of other men). I feel better prepared to discuss these issues more intelligently… as opposed to just shrugging my shoulders or making up some off-the-hip answer.

1 Comment

  1. Dolly

    Thanks for sharing that Dr. Wright still had questions despite his many scholarly achievements.  Thank you also  for the great book review!


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book review: the God i don’t understand

by Dan King time to read: 3 min