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Too Good to Be True: Finding Hope in a World of Hype Hardcover – May 15, 2006
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'With solid scriptural exegesis, Michael Horton outlines a theological conceptualization of suffering. Written for both the pastor and lay person, every reader will see God's plan and purpose more clearly and understand that the compensation for belief in God cannot be spent at Walmart.' (American Association of Christian Counselors)
From the Back Cover
In a world of hype, we may buy into the idea that through Jesus, we'll be healthier and wealthier as well as wiser. So what happens when we become ill, or depressed, or bankrupt? Did we do something wrong? Has God abandoned us? As a child, Michael Horton would run up the down escalator, trying to beat it to the top. As Christians, he notes, we sometimes seek God the same way, believing we can climb to him under our own steam. But we can't, which is why we are blessed that Jesus descends to us, especially during times of trial. In Too Good to Be True, Horton exposes the pop culture that sells Jesus like a product for health and happiness and reminds us that our lives often lead us on difficult routes we must follow by faith. This book offers a series of powerful readings that demonstrate how, through every type of earthly difficulty, our Father keeps his promises from Scripture and works all things together for our good.
Top customer reviews
2. Lay people
3. Anyone who is considering, or has responded to, the call to follow Christ
When I'm out and about, or even just flipping through the channels on TV, I am often confronted by statements that Christianity will "fix" your life. I admit that Jesus has fixed some parts of my life and that my life is definitely better with him than without him. However, we should never tell others, nor should we expect, that accepting the call to follow Jesus will exempt us from pain or trials; grief or temptation. Neither does it carry a promise to make us healthy, wealthy, and wise. "It isn't a technique for our personal therapy."
What Jesus does promise is that we will have trouble and that we will be participants with him in his suffering . So, unless you are some kind of sick person, this doesn't sound too exciting. Why then, would anyone choose to become a Christian?
Horton correctly instructs us that, "The good news that we proclaim is true, not because it works for people in that pragmatic, utilitarian way, but because nearly two thousand years ago, outside of the center city of Jerusalem, the Son of God was crucified for our sins and was raised for our justification. This historical event may not fix our marriages, our relationships, or our messed-up lives the way we would like, but it saves us from the wrath of God to come and gives us new life, hope, and wisdom for our existence here and now, guaranteeing the end of pain at last."
If you've been disappointed with your life (or with God) because things aren't going the way you were promised, this book should be a source of great joy. Horton makes a clear distinction between what God has promised and what (well-meaning, but wrong) people have assumed to promise on his behalf. Hope in God's promises is not misplaced and will never disappoint.
Horton has done a good thing for us all in writing this book.
Though Horton has written several books throughout his academic career that is very technical and scholarly (e.g., "Covenant and Eschatology," "Lord and Servant," etc.) he has also written books that really touches the hearts of ordinary lay Christians who struggle with living the faith daily - like this one.
The message that Horton wants to get across to his readers in this book is clear: though they are many joys and blessings of being a Christian, Christians will still go through troubles and sufferings. During times of crises Christians need to look to Christ alone as Redeemer for hope and comfort.
Horton's book is divided into two main parts: 1) God of the Cross (chaps. 1-6), and 2) God of the Empty Tomb (chaps. 7-10). The first section deals with the issues of suffering, theodicy, and God's sovereignty; the second deals with God as Redeemer of creation. Readers will find both sections to be practically helpful as they sort out why tragedy strikes and how Christians can have hope even in the midst of these tragedies. In summary form, Horton smashes down the unbiblical ideas presented by the prosperity teachers and seeker-sensitive pastors in this book.
Overall, the book is very helpful and theologically on target. It is also easy to read and, thus, accessible to all types of people. If you're one of those Christians who have no clue on what the Bible teaches about God's character and the nature of the Christian life (i.e., a Christian who thinks that being a Christian automatically makes your life good and easy) then you really need to pick up this book and really see how the Christian life is.