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The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith Hardcover – November 27, 2008
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'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 the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
If we are honest, we have to admit that there are many things we don't understand about God. We do not have final answers to the deep problems of life, and those who say they do are probably living in some degree of delusion. There are areas of mystery in our Christian faith that lie beyond the keenest scholarship or even the most profound spiritual exercises.
For many people, these problems raise so many questions and uncertainties that faith itself becomes a struggle, and the very person and character of God are called into question.
Chris Wright encourages us to face up to the limitations of our understanding and to acknowledge the pain and grief they can often cause. But at the same time, he wants us to be able to say, like the psalmist in Psalm 73: But that's all right. God is ultimately in charge and I can trust him to put things right. Meanwhile, I will stay near to my God, make him my refuge, and go on telling of his deeds.
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That is what the bible does, revealing to us what we can at best approximate with our finite minds and pointing to a deeper mystery that no man has yet seen, touched or imagined. Wright achieves a delicate balance between solid biblical understanding and epistemic humility. Definitely a good, edifying and informative read!
Although Wright is comfortable acknowledging that there are issues and ramifications of the Biblical witness that we simply can't fully understand, he spends a great deal of time carefully couching these areas of incomprehensibility within the solid footing of what we *can* say about them. In other words, there is much we do not and can not understand about God, in some very specific arenas - but that is not the same as saying there is *nothing* that we can understand in these arenas.
This book is not likely to be satisfying to anyone other than a Christian or a favorably disposed theist because it uses the Bible itself as the primary tool for explaining the Bible. The hardcore anti-theist will undoubtedly find this to be dissatisfying - whether or not it actually should be. Wright assumes a God, and then attempts to highlight issues we don't understand about this God, and flesh out what we *can* understand about these issues because of what God has revealed about them in Scripture. If you aren't willing to grant the possibility of a God who can reveal truth about Himself and creation in the Bible, you aren't going to hear Wright's application of the Bible.
Otherwise Wright's writing is accessible to a broad range of people, and he is very good at relying only on the Scriptures for what we can or can't say or explain about God. There are areas where Wright does a better job of this than others, and obviously not every question or conundrum can be addressed in a single book. But Wright does a respectable job of dealing with several issues.
The book may be most valuable in it's straightforward title, making it easy to recommend to people who might not stop to read a theological work otherwise. Despite the explanations that fill this book, Wright's work at least acknowledges that Christians don't have it all figured out - and are not likely to at that!