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What Good Is God?: In Search of a Faith That Matters

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,197 ratings  ·  173 reviews
Journalist and spiritual seeker Philip Yancey has always struggled with the most basic questions of the Christian faith. The question he tackles in What Good Is God? concerns the practical value of belief in God. His search for the answer to this question took him to some amazing settings around the world: Mumbai, India when the firing started during the terrorist attacks; ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by FaithWords (first published January 1st 2010)
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Cheryl Gatling
My husband read this book for a reading group at church. When he brought it home, I asked him, "So? What good is God?" He wasn't able to give me an answer Now that I have read the book myself, I know why not. Yancey doesn't actually answer that question. A more accurate title might have been "Travels With Yancey." Each chapter describes a different place he has visited, and includes a talk that he gave there. He has been literally around the world, often meeting with people in extreme circumstan ...more
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
In this book, Philip Yancey presents his ideas about spirituality in an extremely realistic and practical way. He examines the concept of God's goodness and the value of faith in the troubled times we live in and does not mince words or give pithy pat answers. He honestly looks at some disturbing issues with a view to discovering if God is actually good in that specific situation. He is comfortable enough with ambiguity to avoid generalizing and giving advice not based on truth. As a committed C ...more
Holly Weiss
Oct 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"Sojourns of Journalist a Metaphor for Spiritual Journey of Believer”

Phillip Yancey is one of the most influential writers in the Evangelical world today. “I write books for myself,” he says on his blog, “searching for a loving, gracious God.” Yancey writes about God’s grace instead of the God he feared because of the hell and brimstone preaching he received from what he calls a “toxic church.”

Yancey brings us a new format in his book, What Good is God. He takes us on a global trek to ten disti
Nov 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Yancey is my favorite Arminian writer. Thought provoking, genuine and original, Yancey never fails to send my thoughts in new directions. I am about half way through this one and it is formated into chapter pairs with the first one describing an extrodinary or unusual circumstance where Yancey has been asked to speak and the second giving the speach itself. He has covered so far speaking at the Virginia Tech Masacare, the Chinese underground church, a conference for recovering prostitutes, remem ...more
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this book, but I don'’t think it was what I found, at least in terms of its structure. What Good Is God? In Search of a Faith That Matters is a collection of talks that Philip Yancey has given in various places around the world, each prefaced with a chapter reflecting on the circumstances under which they were given.

In some instances, Yancey addressed communities in the wake of traumatic events; in others, he spoke to groups who were marginalized and perse
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is Phillip Yancey’s latest book and the second Yancey book I’ve read. It’s very good, and I looked forward to reading a chapter each night after work. There are some wonderful stories that I hope to remember and share with others. The book is set up in a series of sections made up of two chapters: In the first chapter of the section, Yancey provides background on the situation, circumstances, invitation, etc., that led to him giving a talk at a particular place. Then in the second chapter, ...more
Oct 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: religion, nonfiction
Got an advance copy of this from the bookstore where I work. Philip Yancey is one of my favorite Christian writers, and he had an interesting and effective format for this book. It was divided into 10 sections, each one about a place he had traveled where he had been struck by the faith of the people he met and the difference God had made in their lives. From Mumbai, shortly after the terrorist attacks in 2008, to Virginia Tech after a student went on a murderous rampage, to a convention of wome ...more
This was fine. Nothing earth shattering for me at least, but Yancey always has interesting things to say about faith and religion. In this book he visits 10 places where faith has been tested. Yancey gives the reader information about why he picks this place, why he visits these people and what he had to say to them. I will give Philip Yancey credit - I am not sure that all evangelicals would choose to visit the places Yancey does. And I don't think all conservative Christians would be open to t ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really like Phillip Yancey's books. He doesn't beat around the bush - bad stuff happens whether you are a Christian or not. The difference for Christians is that we have a companion on the journey and we can experience hope and grace despite out circumstances.
Buddy Draper
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book covers difficult places and issues and how God speaks and ministers to and through His people.
Francis Gahren
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christian
My Take

This book made me want to read more of Philip Yancey’s books (I have several of them on my shelf). I was immediately interested in his story of how he dealt with his car accident on a slick Colorado road. With a broken neck, strapped to a board because the doctors were afraid a bone fragment would puncture an artery, he was given a cell phone and told to contact his family because they were not sure how long he had to live. That would sober you up real quick, wouldn’t it?
I also like his s
Jamie Scott
Sep 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Yancey asks questions in every book that are hard to answer. Often these answers are like the ending of the book of Job. It turns the tables and asks even harder questions of you. What are you doing about evil in the world? God put the church in place to be a beacon of hope in the darkest of places, in tragedies that leave you deeply unsettled about His goodness. This book won’t explain away evil and it won’t give you easy answers. God is God and that means that we will never fully understand Hi ...more
Wes F
Apr 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another great Yancey book that my wife & I read together as a devotional book. This book focuses on six messages Yancey gave over several years--including one at Virginia Tech after the on-campus shooting, and another in Mumbai after the terrorist attack. I really liked the format: Yancey would spend one chapter giving background on the situation/context for the talk--then the next chapter was the full message. Many of the messages focused on grace--and how God's grace was what was so amazing & ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Philip Yancey’s books has become a reassurance of my faith in God. Much like the last book I read, Where Is God When It Hurts, Yancey travels to various parts of the world researching the basis of the Christian faith. It is inspiring to read or listen to stories of people from far and beyond who have come to faith rummaging through their hardships in life to find God, to find hope and to find someone to believe in.
Every time I read a Philip Yancey book, I learn about the power as well as the st
Ann Sam
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Philip Yancey is clearly one of the best Christian writers of our times. This book is a collection of his speeches in several parts of the world during a crisis, when this question, "what Good is God" arises in the suffering victim's mind. It was a journey to walk with him through the streets of China, the church transforming the wounded south Africa, recovering addicts, when the markets tumbled globally in 2008, grieving friends and family post the Virginia tech shooting and the life transformi ...more
Marion Abbott
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a tough read. Not because it was difficult to understand, but because it's so jam packed with stories, insights and information, it's a TON for the brain to absorb.

I had to take a break at the midpoint, just to ponder and regroup.

Yancey is a gifted (gifted!!) writer who has seen so much. We are lucky to have his voice.

Highly recommended, with 'reading breaks' alongside.
Mookie J
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
A Good read. Enjoyable. Philip Yancy again proves to be one of my favorite authors. He just knows how to write, tell a good story and communicate important information. 1st book read of 2019 better than any book i read in 2018.
Nothing phenomenal, life-changing or big amazing quotes, so just 4 stars, likely 9/10. Good book
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Lively writing about many of the times and places that God is at work in the world. It will not answer questions about why God does not step in and save bad happenings, but rather how God works in human hearts. And He may be doing more than we know. The sermons are a bit long winded and could use some editing.
Joni Leimgruber
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love the way Philip Yancey shares these important stories - even honestly talking about his own journey through undoing early racist beliefs. Yancey inspires me as a writer, to keep on telling the human stories and to never feel the need to hide the truth behind a facade. In What Good is God?, Yancey shows that the whole, raw story is truly the most powerful weapon in life.
Judith Read
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have read Philip Yancey before. He gives his take on those hard questions in life that perplex. He does not preach, but illustrates through his own and others challenges of faith. This book is no exception.
I don't like books of dogmatic screed and this is why I find Philip Yancey so readable and thought-provoking. He is not a theologian nor a pastor, but a journalist who ponders and writes about religion. His books make me think.
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is Yancey's latest book and best ever! He shares his experiences travelling to and meeting with Christians from key countries whom we can really learn from! The Middle East, China, etc.--amazing and well worth the read. Very encouraging.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology
As always, Yancey combines good questions with original answers. Absolutely loved it.
Rachel Rothwell
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good book. Talks given on various difficult sitautions.
Oct 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I have loved his writing over the years and this book recaps some of the themes and thoughts of past books.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad read. I love Philip he writes in a way even I understand.
Rubie redd
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-challenge
I loved this book. Made me feel closer to God. He doesnt give you answers but gives you view points from himself and others so you can make a decision yourself
Apr 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Read all the way through this time without the group. Lots of great references!
This book in no way answers the question posed in it's title. In fact that more I read it the more I thought it veered away from it. Nevertheless I found it be a very moving book that provided a lot of food for thought.

The book has 10 chapters and each is divided in 2 parts. The first part introduces the setting and situation. Mumbai during the 2008 terrorist attacks. An AA meeting in Chicago. China, the Middle East, and Cambridge to name a few. Yancey shares the stories of people he meets. Fro
Jun 12, 2010 rated it liked it
In his latest novel, What Good is God?, Philip Yancey explores, through ten of his previous speeches, the impact God is having around the world. I have to admit that I was not familiar with Yancey before reading this book. I had heard of him, but this is the first book that I read by him.

The title of this book is a bit misleading. Inherently, the reader expects a definitive answer to the question – What good is God? And I don’t know that Yancey ever really answers the question. He gives accounts
marked it as to-read
Jul 06, 2010
Tamara Blair
Jul 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very well done book asking and answering (hopefully) question about faith and life. At once personal,global and universal and never 'preachy'.
rated it it was ok
Aug 02, 2010
Aug 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fic, spiritual
I'd read a bit, then have to put this down to read another book, so it took me a long time to finally finish. Phil Yancey is one of my favorite authors, because he is so honest about his faith and doubts. Good for readers who want to know the answer to the title, see some positive aspects about Christianity in the world today, see places where Christians need to improve, and spread God's grace.
Margaret Miller
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Sep 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Angi by: Goodreads
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from one of the Goodreads giveaways. I was very excited to win something, especially considering that I received it one month before the First Edition date :-)
Reading this book has really helped me to become more in tune with the world around me and even ignited a spark in my spirituality. The author, Philip Yancey, is a journalist and a public speaker, and usually with a christian overview. Reading this, I see how many amazing experiences he has been able to experience because
Carol Evans
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I like Yancey’s style. He’s not afraid to ask the big questions and allows us to join him in his search for the answers. His writing is not preachy, it’s simple, clear, and approachable, but gets to the heart of the matter. He writes about the real world, not abstracts and “what ifs.”
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A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Philip Yancey earned graduate degrees in Communications and English from Wheaton College Graduate School and the University of Chicago. He joined the staff of Campus Life Magazine in 1971, and worked there as Editor and then Publisher. He looks on those years with gratitude, because teenagers are demanding readers, and writing for them taught him a lasting principle: ...more

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“Where is God when it hurts? We know one answer because God came to earth and showed us. You need only follow Jesus around and note how he responded to the tragedies of his day: large-scale tragedies such as an act of government terrorism in the temple or a tower collapsing on eighteen innocent bystanders; as well as small tragedies, such as a widow who has lost her only son or even a Roman soldier whose servant has fallen ill. At moments like these Jesus never delivered sermons about judgment or the need to accept God’s mysterious providence. Instead he responded with compassion – a word from Latin which simply means, “to suffer with” – and comfort and healings. God stands on the side of those who suffer. (pp.27-28/What Good Is God?)” 10 likes
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