Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Randy Alcorn's If God Is Good (1)

I picked up a free copy of Randy Alcorn's book, If God is Good, from the publisher a while back, in return for which I was to write about it here at WF. I've been reading it very slowly and feeling like I've been neglecting my side of the bargain.

So what I thought I'd do, rather than review the book in one sitting, is to write about it in a series of posts. This will allow me to slow down and read the book with care, rather than rushing in order to get to the review in a timely fashion. And besides, it's definitely a book for digesting slowly, and thinking about deeply. I'll go chapter by chapter, briefly recapitulating Alcorn's main points. And I should add that one of the reason I'm doing this is because I whole-heartedly agree with Alcorn's premise that how we think about suffering will affect how we think about God and about life. There are few matters as important as this.

The central question motiviating Alcorn to write this book is a familiar one:
If god is good . . . then why all this evil and suffering? {p.2)
In this first post in the series, I simply want to re-state a few of Alcorn's main premise-points from the book's introduction. These are not attempts to answer the question, only fundamental insights to keep in mind as we wrestle with that question.
  • Seeking answers to these questions should turn us to Jesus in a fresh way.
  • We each bring our own burdens to the journey.
  • The faith that can't be shaken is the faith that has been shaken.
  • God's Word is central to gaining eternal perspective.
Alcorn recounts some wonderful stories as illustrations of these points. As we begin this reading journey, perhaps with a little trepidation, Alcorn simply wants to remind us,
This book won't work magic or make your problems disappear. But I hope god will use it to help you, regardless of the difficulties you face. He offers us profound, moving, and surprising insights that can feed our minds, warm our hearts, and give us the strength to face a world that is not what it once was, or what it one day will be.


Mark Babikow said...

Thanks for this Bob...I have read some of Alcorn (Heaven) but read it very quickly. Have you read any of Philip Yancey's books such as Disappointment with God...The Jesus I Never Knew...etc...I think a good look at what you described this book is like...not answers that make problems disappear, but questions that make God seem more integral in our individual journey...hey, at this point...I willl take that whole-heartedly!!!!!

Bob Spencer said...

I read Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew, which I thought was profoundly good. I've read a couple of others by Yamcey, but the names escape me now. As for Alcorn, I've read many articles and one of his novels, Safely Home, which I liked quite a lot. In your last sentence you express well a very important concept, with which the Pslamist would concur.