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The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith Hardcover – November 27, 2008

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The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith + Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God + What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Jesus' Bible
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (November 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310275466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310275466
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #137,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


'Christopher J. H. Wright boldly explores the four most difficult subjects Christians will generally face: the problem of evil, the genocide of Joshua, how modern culture can make sense of the cross, and prophecies about the end of the world. In each case, Wright uses his long experience as a theologian/teacher to skillfully and winsomely bring us through the dead-end solutions we often hear and lead us in fruitful and promising directions. This is not a book filled with the usual piety or apologetic drivel so often found in such treatments: it is a tough-minded and courageous wrestling match with profound issues of faith reminiscent of John Stott. Few of us would take on such a task. Wright has not only done it well--- but supremely well.' -- Gary M. Burge, Professor, of New Testament, Wheaton College <br><br> --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Dr. Christopher J. H. Wright is International Director of the Langham Partnership International. He also serves as chair of the Lausanne Movement’s Theology Working Group and chair of the Theological Resource Panel of TEAR Fund, a leading Christian relief and development charity. He has written several books, including Living as the People of God (An Eye for an Eye in the US), God’s People in God’s Land, Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, Walking in the Ways of the Lord, Deuteronomy in the New International Biblical Commentary, The Message of Ezekiel in the Bible Speaks Today series, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, and The God I Don’t Understand. Chris and his wife, Liz, have four adult children and six grandchildren.

More About the Author

Christopher J. H. Wright (Ph.D., Cambridge) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland. His doctorate is in Old Testament ethics. He taught Old Testament in India for five years (1983-1988) at Union Biblical Seminary, and then returned to the faculty of All Nations Christian College, a missionary training school in England, where he was principal from 1993-2001.

Wright is now the international director of the Langham Partnership International (known in the United States as John Stott Ministries), providing literature, scholarships and preaching training for pastors in Majority World churches and seminaries.

He has written several books including commentaries on Deuteronomy and Ezekiel, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God and Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament. An ordained Anglican, he serves on the staff of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London, England.

Customer Reviews

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Overall, the book is accessible and enjoyable to read, and therefore a worthwhile investment both in money and time.
David T. Lamb
The first section of the book considers the question of suffering and evil in light of the biblical affirmation that God is good and loving.
K. Litwak
Wright understands the importance of putting ourselves in the shoes of those who read the Bible in its original, historical context.
Trevin Wax

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Trevin Wax on May 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In conversation with 20somethings and teens today, I have discovered that there is an aversion to simplistic "Sunday School" answers to the tough passages of Scripture. Dissatisfaction with easy answers is widespread among the younger generation. Whereas previous generations prized practicality over everything else, the up-and-coming generation is looking for depth in its quest for truth.

We do not want to devote our lives to the worship of a God made in our own image. Neither do we wish to confine God to a box. Let us do business with what the Bible teaches, no matter how complex or difficult or unpleasant the journey may be.

Christopher Wright's book, The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith is a welcome addition to a spate of recent books that demonstrate a willingness to tackle the hard questions raised by the Bible. The God I Don't Understand is an appropriate title. Wright does not exhaustively answer the difficult questions he poses, but he shares valuable reflections that display his pastoral insight and personal piety in seeking the truth.

The God I Don't Understand is for people who ask, "Why?"

Why did God judge the Canaanites the way he did in the Old Testament?

Why is there evil in the world?

Why do good people suffer?

Why do we have to believe this or that about the cross?

Why are there so many views about the end times?

Christopher Wright ponders these questions and then provides some insights that help clarify the issues:

"To me it is a profoundly moving thought that the word that introduces our most tormenting questions - `Why' - was uttered by Jesus on the very cross that was God's answer to the question that the whole creation poses.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Phillip G. Camp on January 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Why does God allow evil and suffering in the world? Why did God command Israel to kill all the Canaanites if he is a God of love and mercy? How does the cross of Jesus accomplish our atonement and what are the implications of it for us? What happens when the world ends, or does it end? In his new book, The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith (Zondervan, 2008), respected biblical scholar Christopher J. H. Wright engages these questions. I say engages because he does not answer them, at least not completely or to the satisfaction of every questioner and critic. He does not because he admits that he cannot. The Bible does not give conclusive answers to such questions, and Wright takes the Bible very seriously as the Word of God, noting what it says and does not say on these matters.

So let me say, at this point, that this is one of the most refreshing things about this book. This seasoned biblical scholar confesses that there are questions that he continues to wrestle with despite all his years of studying, reflecting on, and teaching the Bible. In fact, many times throughout the book he moves to citing Christian hymns or biblical praise texts. That is, his questions ultimately lead him to the mystery of God and, thus, to praise.

Although Wright admits that he cannot give definitive answers, he does help us explore the questions in a fruitful and faith-affirming way. He tackles these questions, as the subtitle of the book suggests, from the perspective of faith, not as one who is trying to believe, if only he can have all his questions answered. Thus, each question is addressed within the larger framework of the biblical text and Christian faith. For each question he discusses both what the Bible says and does not say on the matter.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Mitsuhiro Nakamura on March 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Overall I enjoyed reading "The God I Don't Understand." It was thoughtful and readable. Part One was especially helpful. Wright is not satisfied with just giving usual answers. I especially appreciate his extensive use of the Old Testament. I can imagine that next time I teach this subject, I would incorporate some of his arguments into my teaching. If I'm allowed to make a critical comment, however, his reasoning behind the following comment in page 40 seems to be weak: "Nevertheless, we may discern the fingerprints of Satan in what is described in these poems [Isaiah 14:4-21 and Ezekiel 28:1-17], since it is clear that these arrogant human beings were brought low because of their blasphemous pride and boasting against God." Now, I don't deny a possibility that Satan was behind these two kings, but he never explains the connection between them. It sounds like a circular reasoning. I'd like to see a clearer explanation here.

Parts Two and Three were generally helpful.

I had a problem with Part Four. Trevin Wax, in his Amazon review, says, "Yet, I did not find part 4 as relevant to the book's overall theme as the previous sections." I tend to agree. Wright seems to think that the dispensational interpretation of end times is as dangerous to Christianity as the other three issues he has dealt with in this book. But is it true? I agree that there are some people who are too obsessed with end times prophecies to remember why those prophecies are there in the Bible. [Those prophecies are to encourage holy living among believers, if I mention just one of the purposes.] But most dispensationalists do not belong to that category. Wright, in his eagerness to criticize the whole movement, does not distinguish serious dispensational scholarship from garbage. This is very unfortunate.
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