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The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith
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The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  190 ratings  ·  40 reviews
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 peo ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 27th 2008 by Zondervan
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V
Feb 27, 2009 V rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: christians who are struggling with some of the big questions
Recommended to V by: city church
first, this book was good in that it made me want to read the bible. wright quotes extensively from the bible, especially the old testament, and provides just enough context to make me want to read the story (instead of seeing isolated quotes).

equally important, it helps me think about some of the sticking points of christianity (why is there evil in the world? why did the old testament god help israel demolish the canaanites?) without presuming to have some kind of neat solution.

i would recomm
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John Martindale
Gee.... Goodreads should have a half star. 3 stars would seem to many and yet 2 stars seemed to few, I wish I could have given it two and half stars.

But yeah, The first part of the book deals a little with suffering. He believes we can't understand and likely never will, and coming from what seems a theistic evolutionist persuasion, there is even more mystery. Indeed the curse doesn't easily explain all natural evil, it only explains thorns.
Wright shows how the bible is filled with angry outb
...more
Kjersti
This book was a gift to me, from one of my former teachers. And, let me tell you, it's an amazing book. It brought me back to connecting faith in God with difficult theological questions – questions of faith. I think ultimately, as Christians we have to trust that God knows best – that he is good, and that 'good' is what he is, was, and always will be. Really great book.
Jeffrey Backlin
Bought this book to read based on several recommendations. The author is an OT scholar and has an easy to follow writing style and approaches his four topics based solely on biblical interpretation (no philosophy, history, etc), hence some of his responses seemed to be weak (e.g. the problem of evil). Of the nine chapters the best where Wright's treatment on the Caananites, the why/what of Christ's atonement and his treatment of eschatology. The content, however, was not on par with other treatm ...more
David Campton
There is much to commend this book. The author is intellectually rigorous and honest, whilst remaining true to a conservative evangelical theological framework, with its thorough-going Biblicism. It was refeshing for someone from this theological strand admit to "gaps" in the Bible's ability to answer theological, philosophical and moral questions, and to have him state his position in such a humble and irenic fashion. In this he is clearly following in the footsteps of his mentor and friend Joh ...more
John
I've been reading through Christopher Wright's book, The GOD i Don't Understand." I have been led to worship & tears again & again. In reading his chapter, "The Cross--How?" I came across this section that was water for my thirsty soul:

We may have no control over what other people think of us, but that need not destroy the proper sense of dignity and self-respect that comes from know the affirmation of God himself...the same person, alone with God and the memories of the past, can quite
...more
Beth Peninger
What I love about this book is the permission it grants to not understand God fully, to have doubts and questions about things he says or does. Too many times those with doubts, questions, and hesitations are quieted with Christianese sayings and guilt. But the most devoted believer of Christ will have their moments/seasons of doubt, of misunderstanding, of wondering if it all is for naught. Frankly, when I run into a believer who hasn't been unsure, who hasn't questioned God, who hasn't doubted ...more
Adam Shields
Short review: This is the second of Christopher Wright's books I have read recently and I will be reading more. This is a very pastoral book focused on showing us how to read scripture and understand both the limits of our knowledge and correct common misunderstandings about God. He takes four areas, 1) the problems of evil, 2) understanding how/why God destroyed Israel's neighbors in the Old Testament, 3) what we can know and understand about the crucifixion and 4) how to understand heaven, rev ...more
Trevor
On the conquest of Canaan:
"Israel's practice of herem was not in itself unique. Texts from other nations at the time show that such total destruction in war was practiced, or at any rate proudly claimed, elsewhere. But we must also recognize that the language of warfare had a conventional rhetoric that liked to make absolute and universal claims about total victory and completely wiping out the enemy. Such rhetoric often exceeded the reality on the ground.

Admittedly this does not remove the prob
...more
Wyndy
This is definitely as the subtitle says ~ A Reflection ~ Mr Wright is writing about those questions, from a scholar's perspective, that just don't get answered definitively by the Bible. He uses his own experiences for illustations so it's not just a theoretical interpretation but also has humour and reality situations. In the Preface he states: "To know God, to love and trust him with all one's heart and soul and strength, is not the same as to understand God in all his ways" Isaiah 55:8-9" I b ...more
Frank Peters
This book was not what I expected, but that is my fault considering the title. I was hoping that Dr. Wright’s reflections on tough questions of faith would be a bit more objective, or scholarly, or systematic, or apologetic. But, alas, there were too many reflections as advertised. To be fair, there were outstanding portions of the book, but these were surrounded by musings and reflections. I really wanted to like the book, especially since the author articulated (at least when not musing and re ...more
Tim
Excellent book from a top-notch theologian! Wright is one of my favorite authors, and this book only solidifies his place near the top of the list. In both content and tone, this is a great book.

I purchased this book expecting that he would tackle the problem of evil and OT violence (he does, and it's all very good), but my favorite part of the book ended up being the sections on the cross and on end times. His presentation of the atonement is one of the most concise yet thorough treatments I've
...more
benebean
So far I'm enjoying his discussion. I'm not always sure I definitely agree with everything, but that doesn't bother me. Mostly I feel privileged and grateful that the author was kind enough to share some of his inner dialogue and thoughts on these difficult and hairy issues.

Every now and then I wish he would explain some of the logic behind arguments he doesn't agree with before dismissing them, so instead of just saying, some people think this, but I don't agree, it would be more like some peop
...more
BJ
Christopher Wright is a great help to me. One thing that is unique about this particular book is Wright doesn't just tackle problem of evil issues that typically enter "tough questions" of the Christian faith books (which he does!), but he focus us on the cross, and recent debates about it. Wright is cross-centered, and this means every problem he deals with should be understood in light of the cross, he states, "[the cross:] outweighs in positive glory everything else that puzzles me with negat ...more
David
Christopher Wright is now alongside NT Wright as a favorite, must-read Bible scholar! Wright is right (I know, that's cheesy).

In this book Wright discusses things about God he does not understand. These are not just intellectual difficulties. When he discusses the work of Christ on the cross he does not fully grasp the majesty and beauty of it (who can?).

Each chapter is readable,thorough and brilliant. I have read other books on these same topics and Wright comes at them from a slightly differen
...more
Andy Kline
Very helpful - especially Wright's thoughts about the Canaanite conquest. One criticism - his views on Dispensationalism don't seem to be informed by Dispensationalists, but rather by those who oppose Dispensationalism - though some of his criticisms are legit.
Karla
This is and excellent book written in an easy to read style. Wright grapples with tough questions and gives the reader scripturally sound answers without resorting to popular ideologies propelled by consumeristic Christianity.
Sarah
This book has been my bedtime reading for a month. It's been wonderful as well as reassuring to drift to sleep thinking about how awesome yet mysterious our God is. Wright helps the reader to realize that there are limitations to our understanding, and that those limits can cause us pain and sadness. Sometimes--based on our own experiences--we even question if God really is God. In his almost memoir-style Wright points the reader to Scripture, and reassures us that God can handle our questions a ...more
Jackie Lau
Marvellous book! Please pay particular attention to the parts on The Cross and The New Heaven and Earth! You'll surely find them truly awesome and how awesome is God.
Bryan Neuschwander
Lucid and sane. But maybe that's only because I agree with him. Just sayin'.
Heather Goodman
Thoughtful book on several hard questions of Christianity. Wright is (1) an OT scholar and (2) involved with Christian international NGOs, and those aspects show in his theology. Though I don't always agree with his premises or conclusions (I usually did), I found this book helpful in thinking through some of these issues. Good stuff.
Dave Courtney
An intellectual and pastoral reflection that confronts biblical problems and difficult questions the result from the reality of pain and suffering while remaining entirely cross centered. It's a book that allows us to approach the difficulty of unanswered questions by saying, that's alright. We are not in control, but God is thankfully stands much taller than our own limited perspective on the story of life. It's a book that should prove to be a great comfort to anyone wrestling with efforts to ...more
Tim and Popie Stafford
I particularly liked the title, which represents a subtle view. With those we know, and especially those we know and love best, we often don't understand. Yet we can love and honor and trust them.

The chapter on the problem of the Canaanites is extremely good, probably the best thing I have read on that subject. It doesn't pretend to offer a comprehensive apology, but rather explores the topic in order to make it fit under, "don't understand" rather than "can't stand."
Ryan
An amazing book that tackles many questions of the faith. Not hard and difficult to read, but flows with style and imagery and expertise writing skill. A balance of quotations (not many, but useful ones) and external resources, but the voice of the author is primary and a fun voice. I throughly enjoyed this book despite it's category. Especially liked the sections on New Earth at the end. Get this book, I recommend it to believers under a year into the faith.
Peter
He tackles four hard questions: evil & suffering, what about the Canaanite conquest and all that killing, how does the cross actually atone for us, what about the end of the world. I found the first three engaging as I am not that curious about the last. He is very honest IMO about answers which are hard to come by particularly about the Canaan conquest. No deep language, written in English. If you want to wrestle with these questions it's a good book.
Jeff Borgman
At the conclusion of this book, I found it to be generally interesting and approaches the topics I would hope from an introductory perspective. I wish he would have dove deeper on several of the topics especially earlier in the book. The last three chapters on eschatology were more interesting and he attempted to answer his questions more thoroughly. Lukewarm recommendation.
David Varney
Excellent and compact look at some common misunderstandings that Christians often have about God. Lucidly looks at the biblical witness and offers sound explanations but at the same time the author is humble and recognises the limit of what we can affirm from scripture and what we must confess is beyond our understanding.
Ian Rees
As usual from Chris Wright a thoroughly engaging piece of theology. No easy answers are given to the problem of evil or difficult questions about suffering, the killings in the OT or the cross, but helpful perspectives are spelled out from Scripture.
Kristie Kercheval
I am still not sure what I thought. Maybe I shouldn't have read it on vacation. I felt like some parts were hard to get through, and could have been written more efficiently. But I appreciated the book and will probably review the chapters on the Canaanites.
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Christopher J.H. Wright, (born 1947) is a Anglican clergyman and an Old Testament scholar. He is currently the director of Langham Partnership International. He was the principal of All Nations Christian College. He is an honorary member of the All Souls Church, Langham Place in London, UK.
More about Christopher J.H. Wright...
The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible's Grand Narrative Knowing Jesus Through the Old Testament: A Decision-Maker's Guide to Shaping Your Church The Mission of God's People: A Biblical Theology of the Church's Mission Old Testament Ethics for the People of God Salvation Belongs to Our God: Celebrating the Bible's Central Story

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