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Is God to Blame?: Beyond Pat Answers to the Problem of Suffering

4.14  ·  Rating Details ·  287 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
Is God to blame? This is often the question that comes to mind when we confront real suffering in our own lives or in the lives of those we love. Pastor Gregory A. Boyd helps us deal with this question honestly and biblically, while avoiding glib answers. Writing for ordinary Christians, Boyd wrestles with a variety of answers that have been offered by theologians and past ...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published October 9th 2003 by IVP Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Amy Neftzger
Jun 06, 2012 Amy Neftzger rated it it was amazing
Gregory Boyd tackles some difficult issues and does a nice job of taking on the current view within Christian culture that God controls everything and, therefore, whatever bad things come our way are there by God's design. This idea that everything is under God's control is what Boyd refers to as the "blueprint worldview."

Boyd successfully challenges this viewpoint and even goes so far as to point out the irrationality of the concept (why would God seek to fight evil with love through sacrificin
JJ Vancil
Sep 06, 2013 JJ Vancil rated it it was amazing
Greg Boyd continues to a breath of fresh air. 'Is God to Blame?' is the 4th book I've read of his in the past 8 months & I'm constantly blown away by the deep of thought, Scriptural integrity and consistency of thought. This book addresses the question of why there is suffering with such grace, focus and intelligence. It just makes sense. It is so refreshing to have a voice like Boyd challenging the unscriptural and yet very prevalent blueprint model of God's sovereignty. After reading this ...more
Радостин Марчев
Aug 01, 2016 Радостин Марчев rated it really liked it
По всички критерии Грег Бойд е според автор. Неговата подкрепа за "отворения теизъм" генерира значителна критика, дори явни обвинения в неортодоксалност.
Въпреки това аз намирам книгата (първата от този автор) за едновременно добре написана и необходима. Тя представя едно внимателно и нюансирано виждане за причините за страданието и нещастията в света и за ролята на Бога за тях.
Не мога да кажа, че съм убеден от това, което Бойд е написал. Много от нещата, които той казва са разумни и библейски.
Heather Tomlinson
Mar 20, 2015 Heather Tomlinson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apologetics, theology

Excellent book that dissects the trite "God is in control" responses to suffering that we hear so often - those words that seem to work when the suffering isn't too overwhelming, but are no good when someone has truly been violated. It explores the Biblical roots of these ideas, and shows that the Bible teaches that God is opposed to all suffering and evil, and wants to liberate people from it. When it does not happen, there may be a variety of reasons, but not that God willed deliberately for s
Highly recommend. It's one of those books I want to make all my friends read. I hope to write a real review at a later time.
Sep 06, 2010 Richard rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2009
My favourite quote: "Ultimately, we are the final explanation of our own behaviour." Found on page 66, line -8 to -9.
Jan 18, 2014 Cheree rated it it was amazing
I rarely give a book a five star rating, but I have done just that to "Is God To Blame?"

This is a very important book for anyone who struggles with the question "why?". Intuitively, we know that the pat answers of "God is in control" or "Nothing happens without a reason" or "It's all part of the Master Plan" cannot be true. These comments simply don't line up with a loving God who died in our place on a cross.

Boyd does an excellent job of kicking over sacred cows and explaining confusing scrip
John Martindale
Aug 18, 2012 John Martindale rated it it was amazing
Boyd has a rare writing ability, his words flow smoothly and there is never a bump in the road. This book is written so a kid could follow and understand (sometimes I think its a bit too dumbed down) and yet, still he touches on some significant subjects from a fresh perspective. I am anxious to read his book "Satan and the problem of evil" where I think he shares some of the same concepts but in a lot more depth and in a scholarly manner.

But yeah, some of the main points of this book is that J
Alex Szatmary
Aug 27, 2008 Alex Szatmary rated it it was ok
Recommended to Alex by: Galen Zook
Boyd does a great job of pointing out the problems with what I would call "superstitious Christianity", that is, looking for God in the tiny, chaotic details of life. He also appropriately calls to task those who respond to suffering with responses that indicate that the suffering was worthwhile because it's part of God's larger purpose--this makes God a bully. His writing is pastoral, and, from that perspective, the book is useful.

Also, his emphasis on doing theology through the lens of the per
Bryan Stevenson
Jan 14, 2015 Bryan Stevenson rated it liked it
This was a solid book with some good insights into the problem of evil. Boyd presents his case, and also refutes many of the opposing points. In some cases he sets up straw men and cleanly takes the down, but in others he addresses some thoughtful opposition. I have a difficult time agreeing with his interpretation of some of the OT scriptures that portray God as vindictive. He goes through some theological gymnastics that would have made Mary Lou Retton proud.

On the other hand, he continually p
Robert Samsel
Nov 03, 2013 Robert Samsel rated it it was ok
I must agree with those who applaud Boyd's pastoral rejection of an unloving God that does not care for us and is willing for us to suffer. Suffering is a consequence of The Fall, not the desired norm of creation, and God is grieved by the presence of sin and suffering in this world.

However, I believe it is unnecessary to reject God's foreknowledge to achieve a position that sees God as innocent of the results of a corrupted system. His foreknowledge does not make him culpable for suffering; but
Geoffrey Morris
Sep 28, 2012 Geoffrey Morris rated it it was amazing
I was an Open Theist before I started reading Boyd; his work has merely codified things that I'd already come to in working my salvation out in fear and trembling. Boyd does an excellent job of applying Open Theist concepts to the problem of pain and suffering, arguing (I'd say effectively) that there are a lot of moving parts in any situation, but especially in the realm of the angels, that cause things to happen that God would not wish for us. Boyd lays out a clear roadmap for why he believes ...more
B Shelton
Feb 03, 2014 B Shelton rated it it was ok
This was a very tedious read. It was more of a textbook, which is good if I was studying this concept--not so good if I am searching for answers.
Mar 08, 2014 Ashley rated it it was amazing
SO GOOD. Has completely changed/strengthened my views on suffering and good and evil.
Jan 25, 2013 Pancho rated it it was amazing
This excellent book challenged my worldview and adequately answered the problem of suffering from a correct hermaneutical approach to scripture. At first it looked like Boyd might start to dip into open theism with his answers, but he successfully avoided that pitfall. Instead, he offers a rational answer to why evil exists and why God is innocent of wrongdoing. Clear, concise, and insightful, Boyd's book is a must-read for all believers and for those who are seeking answers in light of sufferin ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Allen rated it really liked it
Boyd, while not commending Open Theism, escorts the reading to the entrance to this controversial theology. I am not now an Open Theist, nor do I believe that I ever will be. However, this book makes you seriously think about the issue of theodicy in a Christocentric fashion. He is pastoral and sincere on every page. He seriously weighs the issues and debates the norm. What more could one ask from a pastor-theologian? Read and enjoy, but use caution.
Jul 05, 2012 t rated it it was amazing
Recommended to t by: Roger Olson
Really liked Boyd's perspective on the complexity of the creation we live in, and that often there are so many other factors at play in our circumstances... that God should not take the blame for much of what happens to us. Boyd's focus on the Cross, the impact of that event, was very helpful. Am actually putting the book on my re-read this year list... as a counter to much of the neo-calvinistic reading found in my home.
Aaron Roberts
Apr 29, 2014 Aaron Roberts rated it really liked it
Not a perfect book on the problem of evil, but a very good one.
Dec 07, 2011 Scott rated it really liked it
This book will challenge your world view on the subject of God's sovereignty and man's free will. Not sure I buy all of what Boyd has to say, but it has me still thinking...Isn't that the sign of a good book.

This book is not for everyone. If your faith is strong enough and you are okay with allowing someone to challenge doctrine you've held for true all your life, then challenge youself.
Feb 19, 2014 Barb rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing. Finally an author who pulls together free will, God's interaction in our lives, and his love for us, Most importantly, someone who takes the scriptures seriously, and believes what they say!. Even if you are a determinist, I urge you to read this to see a valid view of the free will view. You won't be sorry. Just finished it and now I am going to read it again!
Dan Haley
Mar 30, 2016 Dan Haley rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any person struggling with the awful things that happen in life.
Great book! I enjoyed it very much. I have read a few of Boyd's books and believe he has an excellent grasp on the openness of God. This book focused on the nature of happenings in ones life and the lives of every being on the planet (and universe). There is a very good chapter on Job! To be honest, I completely skipped the chapter on prayer, maybe later...
Elfin Morgan
May 17, 2012 Elfin Morgan rated it it was amazing
Love this. Boyd does a beautiful job of walking your through this very important subject. This study could make the difference in how you view God. Changing Him from a monster who causes pain and suffering, to the loving God he really is, and deserves to be seen as.
Oct 15, 2007 Rich marked it as to-read
i should probably drop "Satan And The Problem of Evil" by the same author and start with this. It is a more easy to read, less scholarly version of the same book. I've heard it is great and helpful for those who are doing any form of Christian counseling.
Apr 16, 2008 Matt rated it really liked it
I became a fan of Boyds and picked up this one. I was going through the typical free will debate in my mind and this book gave me great ideas in my study. it wasn't just a "prove my point" style book, but it was a biblically based one.
Apr 05, 2010 Kathyduffy rated it it was amazing
Completely changed my perspective on God's role in all of the stuff that happens in the world that causes so much pain and destruction. Also great on the significance of prayer.
Aug 29, 2007 Danny rated it really liked it
A thoughtful read and helpful for understanding why prayer is so important in the context of our lives and spiritual warfare. Recommended by Roger Olson.
Ryan Manns
Nov 13, 2013 Ryan Manns rated it really liked it
Shelves: religion
This is a great book that addresses the age old question of "If God exists why do we suffer?" Definitely recommend this book.
Mar 23, 2012 Elise rated it really liked it
Makes you think. A lot. Not a quick & easy read, but worth digging into if you have time to dedicate to in-depth study.
Jan 24, 2012 Carrol rated it really liked it
Have decided I like this author. Will be reading more of his books.
Aug 25, 2015 Jacki rated it it was amazing
I love this book I go back to it time after time.
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Gregory A. Boyd is the founder and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and founder and president of ReKnew. He was a professor of theology at Bethel College (St. Paul, Minn.) for sixteen years where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Professor.

Greg is a graduate of the University of Minnesota (BA), Yale Divinity School (M.Div), and Princeton Theological Seminary (PhD). Gre
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“To live thoughtfully with Christlike love we must allow ourselves to be disturbed by the grotesque realities surrounding us and sympathetically enter into the nightmarish suffering of others.” 2 likes
“many people have trouble passionately loving and living for God because they have a mental picture of him that inspires anything but passion.” 1 likes
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