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Your God Is Too Small: A Guide for Believers and Skeptics Alike Paperback – June 1, 2004


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Your God Is Too Small: A Guide for Believers and Skeptics Alike + New Testament in Modern English + Ring of Truth: A Translator's Testimony
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 124 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (June 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743255097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743255097
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Churchman Highly recommended for skeptics and believers alike.

About the Author

J.B. Phillips died in 1983. A canon of the Anglican church, his works include The Newborn Christian and his highly acclaimed translation The New Testament in Modern English.

Customer Reviews

This is one of those books that is worth reading and re-reading.
D. M. Schutz
The chapters are short enough to be read aloud and discussed in a classroom setting and the issues it deals with are deep yet practical.
Anthony J. Ross
This book is a must read for all who seek a better relationship and understanding of God.
The Bah

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Cathy Carmack on July 16, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was recommended to me by a couple of folks and once I began reading I understood why: it's simple, pithy and a thoughtful read. I read it slowly so I could ponder each point of interest. I can truly say my God got bigger by the time I finished reading this book. And that's a Good Thing.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Pilgrim on July 15, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Originally published in 1952, this book is as up to date as tomorrow. For many years, I have observed the truth of the statement that we create God in our own image, resulting in an anemic deity no more wise or powerful than we are, and certainly incapable of creation, maintenance, or salvation. Phillips clearly identifies the source of the powerless god that we humans produce when we make the mistake of beginning with ourselves as a paradigm for holiness.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Stacey VINE VOICE on November 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
"Your God Is Too Small" by J.B Phillips is a bit difficult to get through because of the old-fashioned language, but gaining an understanding of the fallacies we choose to believe about God is well worth the effort required to read this book. The key to completion is to read only one concept at a time, and to completely understand the text before moving on. I frequently found my mind drifting, but stopped when I realized what was happening and re-read the passage. Thankfully the "chapters" are short, so re-reading is not too great an effort. And the rewards reaped are worth it - a greater understanding of God.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By James R Ament on March 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book has been around a long time (1956) and, for years, was on my 'someday to read' list. I eventually read it.

We first learn about God as children and our conceptions can remain in a state of juvenile faith or more likely, the idea of God can become too small to affect "adult loyalty and cooperation." Or one cherishes a "hothouse God who could only exist between the pages of the Bible or inside the four walls of a church." Phillips acknowledges immediately that "many men of goodwill will not consent" to "mass hypocrisy...to buy a sense of security at the price of...truth." Phillips addresses the inadequate conceptions of God which lead to this problem and tries to show us "a God big enough" for adult comprehension and respect.

Part I lists the destructive constructions of God:

The Resident Policeman, i.e the overdeveloped conscience, a relic of childhood that we mistake for the voice of God, where "God can be made to appear to the sensitive an over-exacting tyrant, and to the insensitive a comfortable accommodating 'Voice Within' which would never interfere with a man's pleasure."

The Parental Hangover, i.e. the residue of a sentimental clinging dependence on a parent. Christ's reference to the Father or becoming "as little children" was not about a childish toddler/grownup relationship but about an understanding of the "awe-inspiring disparity between man and God."

The Grand Old Man, a great power in his day but old-fashioned, a God inadequate for our modern scientific times, a God to be respected for what he was but hardly adequate to be engaged in our fast-moving contemporary world. I would call this a result of our narcissistic tendencies reinforced by the Enlightenment.

The Meek and Mild, often conveyed in sappy hymns.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By George Morris on November 8, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is truly an "oldie but goodie." Written over 50 years ago, it's just what is needed today for believers and non-believers alike. Those who don't believe in God are often hampered by an all-too-narrow definition of who/what God is, and are driven to reject the whole concept. Of course God is not an old man in a white robe with an account book; believing in that, for an adult, would be as ridiculous as believing in Santa Claus. Phillips strips away the narrow, all-too-worldly notions of a deity that many of us grew up with, and then invites us to consider a liberating, expansive view of God that is worthy of a thinking adult. This is a great book for believers as well, as it will help them cope with doubts and disappointments by correcting false expectations. A valuable, accessible-to-all read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Essy J on March 14, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When you read Phillips' explanations of the ways people think of God, you're sure to find yourself in at least one of them. I've recommended this book or given it to others more than any other book about faith.
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44 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Mary E. Sibley VINE VOICE on August 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
People have knowledge of God through conscience. However, a feeling of guilt and failure may be quite false. People can be trained to feel that certain things are not done. Some people are abnormally afraid of God.

A child might think that God is an old gentleman living in heaven. Children may outgrow the meek and mild Saviour and find their heroes elsewhere. The meek and mild idea operates below the conscious level of many Christians. Thoughts and actions may be inhibited.

Phillips identifies absolute perfection as a false god. He claims the one hundred percent standard is a real menace. It is a prescription for guilt and misery. Followers of religion have found God to be their refuge and strength. It is not right to view God as party leader of a particular view. No denomination has a monopoly of God's grace. The 'outsider' sees clearly the advantages of a unified Christian front.

Another too small idea views God as a sort of managing director. We should not model God on what we know of man. To some the image of God is a blur of disappointment. Such people do not know the terms under which we inhabit the planet. It is necessary to see the immensely broad sweep of the Creator's activity. The vastness seems to depersonalize God.

Beauty and goodness and the search for truth exert an effect on man. True love and self-sacrifice have always been the most moving human attributes. Christ taught that love should go out to other people and out to God. The truth taught by Jesus is the right way to live. The purpose of life is loving God and doing his will. Christ deemed pride, self-righteousness and the exploitation of others sinful. The follower of the new way is called to spread the good news.
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