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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read
This is a condensed version of Alcorn's IF GOD IS GOOD, and the author makes so many excellent points it's hard to write them all down, but I'll try.

Maybe the key to the whole book is found on page 48, where Alcorn writes this:

"..Because Jesus willingly entered this world of evil and suffering and didn't spare himself, but took on the worst of it...
Published on September 6, 2010 by Joel Holtz

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, but not quite able to deliver
One should not take lightly the challenge of writing a book about suffering. Randy Alcorn's book, 'The Goodness of God', is an abridgment of sorts of his much longer work 'If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil'. In this book Alcorn takes up the problem of suffering. Admitting that this subject often serves a barrier to non-Christians, he attempts to...
Published on April 28, 2011 by N. Lamb


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, September 6, 2010
By 
Joel Holtz (Vadnais Heights, MN) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
This is a condensed version of Alcorn's IF GOD IS GOOD, and the author makes so many excellent points it's hard to write them all down, but I'll try.

Maybe the key to the whole book is found on page 48, where Alcorn writes this:

"..Because Jesus willingly entered this world of evil and suffering and didn't spare himself, but took on the worst of it for my sake and yours, he has earned my trust even for what I can't understand."

That's really the key for any Christ follower struggling with the question of suffering and if there is any "purpose" behind it. God can be trusted, no matter what happens in life. Period. When a Christian gets to that point, they can handle anything that happens to them or their loved ones, even if they don't and can't understand.

Beyond that, I've always loved Alcorn's writing simply because of the bold statements he makes. Listen to some of these:

.."any faith that leaves us unprepared for suffering is a false faith that deserves to be abandoned." (pg.5)

.."God doesn't need us to rescue him from the problem of evil." (pg.31)

.."to hate suffering is easy; to hate sin is not." (pg.99)

.."Worry is momentary atheism, crying out for correction by trust in a good and sovereign God." (pg.110)

This is a must read for all Christ followers, and even anyone who simply wants to explore more about what it means to have a loving God there for you all the time no matter what suffering you may go through in life.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a blessing, March 6, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
Among Christians, it is common to ask "why me Lord" when going through tough times. Many who suffer blame God, or resent Him, or in some cases, cease believing in Him. But what if we were to look deeper, to try to find not only the root cause of much suffering (the fall in the Garden of Eden), but to try to find God's purpose in the suffering we experience. What if we were to instead, view suffering as a blessing, allowing us to rely for heavily on God?

I thought this book was really really lovely. I will warn you now, it definitely challenges you to change your way of thinking. We are very much in the midst of a culture of ME, and this book try to steer our thoughts into a culture of HIM. It is hard to swallow, that mankind is often at the root of their own suffering, whether it is because of the actions of the one suffering, or because of the actions of the original ones, Adam and Eve, and their decision to sin.

At the heart of this book is that God loves you, and wants great things for you, but because we have the power of choice, we must suffer the consequences. And while sins are forgiven, their consequences remain; that is a key point that I think many Christians tend to forget.

While the book is not terribly long, nor are the language and concepts difficult to master, this is a book you want to take your time with. I read it slowly over the course of a couple of weeks, to allow the concepts to really sink in, and to allow me time to process my own reactions to the chapters. I think this would be an excellent book for a small group study, and I know that many will be as blessed by this book as I was.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, but not quite able to deliver, April 28, 2011
By 
N. Lamb "mxpx316czhgxf" (Richmond, VA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
One should not take lightly the challenge of writing a book about suffering. Randy Alcorn's book, 'The Goodness of God', is an abridgment of sorts of his much longer work 'If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil'. In this book Alcorn takes up the problem of suffering. Admitting that this subject often serves a barrier to non-Christians, he attempts to argue that a true understanding of the God revealed in the Bible provides assurance that our suffering is not in vain.

First off, let me say that few Christian authors delve so deeply into their research as does Alcorn. While it is hard for me to separate this work from his earlier work 'If God is Good', I can safely say that both books exhibit a breadth of research that is quite impressive. This is not a mere coffee table book cobbled together from C.S. Lewis quotes and a handful of proof texts. Alcorn has done extensive reading on the subject as well as spending much time delving into the scriptures to say what they have to say about this issue. The author is to be commended for his effort to understand all aspects of this important conversation.

Alcorn's approach to suffering comes from personal experience. In fact, he suggests that for those who deal with suffering this is THE experience that most colors their faith. Where does suffering come from? Alcorn argues that all suffering is a consequence of Original Sin. All the pain and suffering in the world owes its beginning to the Garden of Eden. Coming to an understanding of suffering is not, then, asking why God allows suffering. One must first look to him/herself and understand that their sin is at once the cause and consequence of the fallen world. God allowed sin to enter into the world to fit His mysterious purpose. While we may not know why evil and suffering entered into the world, we know that God is glorified through the conquering of sin and suffering. Coming to terms with suffering is recognizing that we must allow scripture to direct our understanding of God and suffering. We cannot dare on our own to question God as to why. We merely have to accept the fact that we suffer and realize that God is present with use as we do.

This may not be the most convincing argument for non-believers. In many ways, it sounds too close to a 'let go and let God' cliche-ridden approach to faith. Believers who accept what the scriptures say will certain appreciate the numerous quotes, but those who want an honest discussion about the theological problem of evil and suffering in the world might consider this proof-texting. Ultimately, Alcorn's answer is only as convincing as a person's understanding of scripture. If you believe that the bible is the inerrant Word of God then you will accept many of his conclusions about suffering and the personality of God. However, if you don't step into this book as a believer, it may not be entirely convincing. This is one of those books I would leave lying on my table, but not necessarily one I would hand to a non-Christian friend. I wish Alcorn was a little more interested in dialog than provide pat answers, but this is a well-written book that I am sure many people will find helpful.

**I was provided a free copy of this book by Multnomah Publishing. I was not compensated for this review**
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read, May 12, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
Randy Alcorn is an amazing author. He is able in this book to tackle a very difficult subject: suffering. It's so easy for us to get caught up in our own sufferings and forget to look beyond to see God's purpose in it all.

God is good. Always. He has a purpose in every thing that He allows to come into our lives. This is a great reminder of that simple truth.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Goodness of God, May 8, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
Have you ever struggled with the issue of why there is evil and suffering in this world? I believe we all have!

Randy Alcorn's little book The Goodness of God tackles this tough subject. I love this book almost as much as I love its big sister, If God is Good. I am one who likes to answer the tough questions of life with God's Word and very quickly in this book you will know Alcorn is going to take you directly to God's Word.

As Randy Alcorn is faithful to God's Word, he helps us develop a strong picture of the God of the Bible. He had my full attention on the second page, when he wrote:

"At times, each of us must struggle into our Father's arms, like children, and there receive the comfort we need. God doesn't just offer us advice, he offers us companionship. He doesn't promise we won't face hardship, but he does promise he'll walk with us through the hardship."The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering

Life promises us one thing about hardship, we are either in the middle of a hardship or we are just coming out of one, or there is one on the horizon.

Making it through the hardships of life is easier if we have the proper perspective on evil and suffering. I strongly recommend this book to you!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and concise, May 2, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
I have read literally dozens of books which tackle the question of reconciling suffering and evil in the world with the existence of an all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing God. This is undoubtedly one of the most fundamental questions any of us faces in our journey, and has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks of faith for countless people since time began.

I came at this book a bit skeptically, unsure that Alcorn's take on the subject would be worth my time. The book is small - only 115-some pages that are not large - and I was doubtful that such a huge and weighty subject could be adequately tackled with so few words. I was pleased to discover that my doubts were ill-founded. In these few, small pages, Alcorn has managed to distill the arguments and difficulties to their basic facets, addressing each with TRUTH in a simple, yet powerful way.

I don't think I'm exaggerating when I state that this book may well be the most important one many people can read, next to the Bible itself. The Body needs these truths: first, to answer our own questions and doubts. And secondly, to answer the cries of a hurting world. WHY does God allow evil and suffering in His world? Why do "bad things" happen to "good people"? Writing from the perspective of one who has himself had to grapple with these questions in personal, painful ways, Alcorn masterfully answers these questions with the truths of Scripture, using simple logic and fact to show that God really can be trusted.

The book is concise enough that any reader should be able to make it through without getting bogged down, yet it is remarkably comprehensive and does not brush aside any hard questions. The simplicity makes it a great resource for looking up answers, or to read with others for discussion and study. It is unquestionably one of the best books I have ever read on the topic, and I would recommend it most highly to anyone.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group in exchange this honest review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Practical and Pastoral Theodicy, April 8, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
Some books addressing the problem of evil are more philosophical. Others are more practical and pastoral. In "The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering," Randy Alcorn masterfully takes the best philosophical arguments for the goodness of God and presents a pastoral, practical response to the question of evil.

This book gives a sound, Scriptural explanation of the subject while maintaining a heart of mercy. It is not the thorough treatment that Alcorn gives in "If God is Good," but it is written with the same clarity of thought and theological reliability.

Chapters deal with such perplexing topics as why evil exists at all and reasons for the suffering of believers. The author addresses misconceptions about a Biblical view of health and wealth. He evaluates the underlying world-views that deny God based on the existence of evil. Most importantly, he focuses on Christ as God's eternal solution to evil and suffering.

If you are looking for a more comprehensive examination of this subject this is not your book - "If God is Good" is a more suitable choice. This book, however, is a simple, accessible, yet sound resource for pastors, counselors, and those who deal with the grieving and suffering. It is an easy, quick read that will be an encouragement to anyone who is in, going into, or just coming out of a trial.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God never promised health & wealth, June 17, 2013
By 
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
One argument against the existence of God goes like this: "If God is both good and all-powerful, then He would not allow evil in His creation. Evil exists: therefore, God is either not good, or He is not all-powerful."

Author Randy Alcorn answers that argument, but this is primarily a book of comfort and encouragement for the grieving and downtrodden. This is a condensed version of "If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil."

He turns the question of pain on its head by asking, "Why is there good in the world?" Why should we expect any good at all unless there really is a God? And lest we begin to accuse God for the problem of pain, Alcorn points to the cross as the most powerful evidence of God's love, forgiveness and understanding. Alcorn reminds the reader of Heaven - a place of no more sickness, pain or death - the kind of place we are all longing for.

If Alcorn has an axe to grind, it's against the health and prosperity religion. They worship a feel-good, genie god who grants their every wish. The true God of creation, however, is more interested in our character than our comfort.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Primer on God, Suffering, and Evil, April 28, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
Alcorn, Randy. 2010. The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering. Multnomah: Colorado Springs, CO
I want to thank the folks at Waterbrook Multnomah for this fine volume by Randy Alcorn. This book was everything I had hoped it would be. Let me explain.

There are many books that explore the relationship of God and suffering in a way that may relate to the deep philosopher, or are so simplistic that it simply dismisses the problem as a doubt issue. Alcorn's volume strikes a perfect balance in being meaty enough to dialogue with some major theological and philosophical issues, while at the same time being steered by a Scripturally-saturated pastoral focus that is accessible for the everyday Christian.
Alcorn tackles the following in this fairly short volume:

- The origins of evil and suffering
- The reality of inherited sin and our contribution to the big mess of things
- Overview of the common Christian responses to evil and suffering
- Overview of various philosophical responses to evil and suffering
- How Jesus Himself was the object of unparalleled suffering on our behalf
- Why God allows suffering and how it is used for His purposes
- Complexity of human responsibility and God's sovereignty
- A Biblical view of health and wealth
- The eternal eschatological answer to the suffering of this time
- Personal struggles with suffering and how to find perspective

This book was filled with a dozen "money quotes". These are quotes that I mark as being worth repeating. I can't list them all here, but here are a few of the more helpful quotes from the book:

"God doesn't just offer us advice, he offers us companionship" (2)
"Whenever you feel tempted in your suffering to ask God, `Why are you doing this to me?' look at the Cross and ask, `Why did you do that for me?'" (47)

"Because Jesus willingly entered this world of evil and suffering and didn't spare himself, but took on the worst of it for my sake and yours, he has earned my trust for what I can't understand. Just like countless others, many of whom have suffered profoundly, I've found him to be trustworthy. When it comes to goodness and evil, present suffering and eternal joy...the first Word, and the last, is Jesus." (48)

I commend this book and give it 4.75/5 stars for what Alcorn's aim was in giving Christians a nice succinct treatment of evil and suffering that will leave the reader edified at the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Methodical and Scriptural, April 27, 2011
This review is from: The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering (Hardcover)
If God is all-powerful and loving, how can He allow so much suffering in the world?

Most of us have probably heard that question. Author Randy Alcorn addresses it, in a logical fashion, in The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering.

Chapter by chapter, he examines the origins of and explanations for evil and suffering; differing worldviews; why God allows evil and delays justice; a biblical view of health and wealth; and God's eternal solution to evil and suffering. Although most of the chapters include assurance for those who are suffering, the final two chapters--Wrestling with the Reasons for Our Suffering and Finding Perspective in Our Suffering--specifically address those points.

Alcorn works through his points systematically but in an engaging tone. He uses Scripture to back up his words and includes a generous number of anecdotes and quotations. This illustration is one that I especially liked:

"Ever been to a football game at half time when the band forms words or pictures in the middle of the field? They look great from up in the stands. But what if you're on the sidelines when the band forms its symbols? You can't see them. What the band's doing appears pointless. We see life from the sidelines. God sees it from above, in the grandstands. The Bible invites us to trust God that one day, when we can see from Heaven's perspective, many things will make sense that don't appear to when we're on the sidelines." (page 53)

In the first few chapters, I wasn't sure that The Goodness of God was going to provide anything new. After those few chapters, however, I was increasingly drawn into the book. Overall, I liked The Goodness of God very much. I agree with the author's perspective, and I like his logical yet not harsh approach.

(I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes. Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing and Blogging for Books for the opportunity!)
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The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering
The Goodness of God: Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering by Randy Alcorn (Hardcover - August 10, 2010)
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