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on 10 December 2013
I bought this book to read the section on Israel's war to clear the Canaanites out of their land. It's an issue that troubles me and always has. I've never read anything that helped me square this horrible war with the God of love behind it. Those looking for complete answers to impossible questions won't find them here. But Wright deals with difficult issues with compassion and biblical authority. His treatment of this subject is the most helpful I have read. I strongly recommend this book to those who struggle with difficult problems like suffering, war and the atonement.
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on 25 July 2017
Excellent - readable and informative well researched and relevant to modern questions
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on 16 December 2012
This book deals with some of the 'trickier' parts of the Bible. It is very readable and presented in a straightforward way. I have found it rather enriching, although I imagine that it is best suited to people who already have a reasonably good grasp of the Bible as a whole (both OT and NT)
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on 12 February 2009
The "Tough Questions" that Christopher Wright's book addresses are as old as the hills. But his clear, honest approach and dialogue with these imponderables of the faith is skillfully fresh, accessible and relevant to both the scholar and non-scholar. Freeing himself of evangelical platitudes and simple solutions, Wright portrays tough questions as they should be portrayed: "really tough." But what is so refreshing about the book is already expressed in the title and subtitle: The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith. He doesn't promise all the answers from the get go. He promises reflections, of which he delivers thoughtfully, articulately, prayerfully, and pastorally.
Allow me to give some examples. In his introduction, Wright begins by clarifying that there are different types of "not understanding." Often, we simply put "understanding" in the theoretical world, but we experience non-understanding in a variety of ways including grief, emotional pain, puzzlement and even gratitude. This is a simple, yet profound insight by which he begins his book.
Wright acknowledges the agony of evil's influence in the world. For us, it simply does not make sense. Rather than postulating a rationally sound theodicy, however, he turns the tables. For Wright, it is actually a good thing that evil does not make sense to us because "sense" is a good part of our rationality that is part of the image of God in us. Evil has nothing to do with "sense"-- that is, it is completely beyond our rational notions! (p. 42)
But Wright never leaves the reader in hopelessness. He guards the ugliness of evil's offense and violation of all we know to be good, while equally affirming the goodness of God and the hope of complete redemption.
I have only a few incidental criticisms. Wright frequently quotes Scripture and often includes significant portions of text. This is distracting at times from the flow of the book. (Of course, quoting Scripture too often is a sin easily forgivable!) Some may also object to his perhaps too-hastily expressed eschatological positions (e.g. see p. 169, pp. 199ff.), or generalizations with respect to postmodernity (see pp. 136-38). But these are minor grievances compared to the richness this book offers.
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on 11 April 2010
This is a most excellent book tackling a few difficult questions, each of which is treated with a serious, thoughtful and detailed response. While one might not agree with everything the writer states it is refreshing to have honest opinions clearly expressed - would that politicians followed this man's approach.
I would recommend it to anyone who seeks to have some answers given to the puzzles that Scripture oft times leaves for us to ponder.
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on 16 August 2009
I appreciated the honesty of the author. He distinguishes clearly between what can be asserted with confidence and what cannot. The section on end times was most helpful.
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on 14 December 2015
thoughtful writing to remind us some details have not been revealed (progressive disclosure or not this side?). Helpful to realise the experts don't have all the answers either, but the central message still beckons us. Issues like predestination / free-will, called / chosen, faith / works still arouse debate but we must strive for unity and agreement (read Philippians).
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on 18 October 2009
On the whole I thought this a good book. The author's arguments are clear and many Christians will appreciate his willingness to make clear what we all know, but feel diffident about saying - that God is beyond our understanding. I have long felt that requiring all the i's of faith to be dotted and all the t's to be crossed is scarcely redolent of faith. Wright's scholarship is clear and deep, but worn lightly so that one never feels he is talking down His prose style is straightforward, omitting technical or specialised vocabulary wherever possible. Just occasionally he falls into the pitfall of quoting too extensively from scripture where a single pertinent and representative passage would achieve the job as effectively without breaking up the flow of the argument.
I do think that, despite the title, Wright displays more certainty than is entirely supported by his arguments. He is, for example, clear in pointing out that developing tight timeframes for the end times based on a few passages of symbol-rich scripture is unwise. Indeed. Wright is very unsure about the 'when' of the end times, but seems remarkably clear on the 'what'. Similarly he is very clear of the necessity of a "substitutionary" understanding of the Crucifixion, but gives only one example of critiques of that understanding; and his association of Christ with exiled Israel in support of his position leaves one very large hole (that Jesus was without sin, while Israel sinned big-time) largely unfilled.
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on 14 June 2012
In an age of scepticism and atheistic attack, Christopher Wright has faced some of the difficult questions and answered them with honesty and reverence; highly recommended for those who are struggling with doubt about the Christian faith.
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on 3 December 2015
Very happy with purchase and service.
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