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Not by Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God [Paperback]

By Layton Talbert (Author)
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Item description for Not by Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God by Layton Talbert...

Have you ever been tempted to think that a loving God is not the one in control of your life? Survey God's providence in the pages of the Bible, consider examples of His rule over history, and translate the practical reality of His providence into the here and now. In this survey of God's providence, Layton Talbert draws from Old and New Testament examples of people and events that prove the continuous and loving intervention of God in every circumstance of the believer's life.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: BJU Press
Pages   322
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.95 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2001
Publisher   BJU Press
ISBN  1579246397  
ISBN13  9781579246396  

Availability  3 units.
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More About Layton Talbert

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Talbert is a Deacon at Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. He earned a PhD in theology from Bob Jones University and teaches there.

Layton Talbert currently resides in Greenville, in the state of South Carolina. Layton Talbert was born in 1960.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Pneumatology
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology

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Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Not by Chance: Learning to Trust a Sovereign God?

Excellent Biblical Study on God's Providence  Jul 6, 2007
I've owned this book for sometime and have finally got around to reading it. Sorry I waited so long. It's more than just a read, it's a study where you'll want to have your Bible right along side to read and study the Biblical texts as they are discussed. Would be very usable as a Bible study. I hope Dr. Talbert is led to write additional books. His writing style is very clear and understandable. I also greatly appreciate that he does not add to the Biblical record. Where the Bible is silent, he also is silent.
Looking for a deeper understanding of God? - give it a try!  Dec 7, 2005
The subject is not easy to address, nor to explain to someone with little thological background. But Dr. Talbert makes the subject understandable for lay people as well as those who are into theology.
I like the humble and balanced approach of this book. As someone who is into counseling, preaching and theology I highly recomend the book. It has been a comfort to me, helped me to see some hard times in a diffrent light and perspective and I am convinced it will do the same to everyone who still believes that God exists and whatever his theological back ground is because Talbert makes the Bible the most important positiv argument. Will there be no more questions after reading the book? No. But a deeper knowledge of the souvereign God will help you to find more answers to bothering questions.
Providence: Learning to Accept a Fundamental Baptist God  Jul 9, 2002
The problem of theodicy (A word that doesn't appear in this book), how can an all powerful and loving God allow suffering and evil, is a question older than the Biblical text itself (The Sumerian poem: Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur, edited ca.1075 BCE). It is within the reality of life that the context of religious faith is put to the test and theological dogmas stand or fall. Such test is found in the Biblical book of Job, the cry for divine justice in Revelation and the death of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Religious texts (such as the Bible) are usually read form one's sectarian/theological point of view and, as it is the case, the more conservative the interpreter, the more limited the application of the text for the communities of faith. It is in just such a context that I would place Layton Talbert's Not by Chance. In fact, Talbert's book has more in common with such Protestants apologists as John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and Karl Barth than it an objective Historical Critical reading of the various theologies of God that make up the Bible itself. It is at this point that the reader needs to understand that Not by Chance is written by a Fundamental Baptist whose dogmatic theology sees the Bible in total harmony with itself under the authorship of a God who is reveled in progressive revelations. However, contrary to this view, the Biblical books of Samuel and Kings are retold form a different and often conflicting theological perspective in Chronicles. The ancient versions (Greek / Septuagint and Aramaic / Targums) present a continual update and advancement over the Hebrew / Masoretic view of God. While the authors of the first and early second centuries BCE give us a major revision of God's nature in the New Testament. One of the most effective evangelistic tools of the early Christians in relating the diety's nature to the Graco-Roman world was the use of the generic word "god" (Classical "theos") that enabled the Hellenistic world to read into Christianity many of the concepts of their local gods (see Acts 17:16-31). Instead of dealing with the underlying historical context of the nature of God in each book, Talbert cites verse after verse to bolster his point of the universal concept of God's "Providence" at the expense of the internal complexities of these different theologies. It is just such an apologetic stance that effectively limits the readership of this book.

Talbert seems obsessed with the word "Providence" even though he admits it the "word `providence' occurs only once" in the Authorized Version (p. 28-9). Talbert's theological obsession with this word has him to include it in twelve chapters heading. In fact, I was left wondering why he didn't include it in the books title?

Talbert's strong dogmatic conservative view has not only limited him to a very restrictive bibliography, but when he must acknowledge other works on theodicy such as Rabbi Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People (p.22-3) Talbert uses a endnote to state:

Kushner cites the example of "an earthquake that kills thousands of innocent victims without reason" (p.59). Such statements display and unwitting arrogance, an assumed omniscience that (1) the victims are "innocent," and that (2) no good reason for such an event exists, simply because we cannot think of one. (P.268, note 23)

This type of theological reasoning shows a callous indifference to human suffering; be it the cancer victim or the devastation of mass starvation in Africa which I feel damages the underlying theology of the book.

In short, Not by Chance would have been better named, Providence: Learning to Accept a Fundamental Baptist Position. Talbert's book will have an audience, but he will be "Preaching to the choir" for the people who are willing to trade the true struggles of the Biblical authors over God's justice for a position of dogmatic apologetics. Harry H. McCall

The Best Modern Book on the Providence of God  Jun 30, 2002
Dr. Talbert's book is the best modern book on the providence of God. He skillfully, reverently, and humbly matches theology with reality in a way that helps us think God's thoughts and view life from His perspective. He divides the 322-page book into thirteen chapters that introduce, define, describe, and illustrate God's providence. The author explains in the preface, "I am not interested in propagating or defending any particular system of theology. The burden of this study is to investigate the testimony of Scripture, challenging all of us as God's people to conform our thinking and to adjust our attitudes to the plain utterances of God Himself" (x-xi). Appendix E, an essay entitled "Salvation: Divine Determination or Human Responsibility?", is itself worth the price of the book.

The back cover of Dr. Talbert's book reads, "The providence of God is the bedrock belief that enables us to confidently encounter life's tragedies, triumphs, and perplexities." I agree wholeheartedly, and the author's focus on God's word enabled me to do just that. In December 1998, my family was shocked to learn that my youngest brother Michael, who was three years old at the time, had cancer--Stage IV Neuroblastoma. The doctors warned us that Michael only had a ten percent chance to live. Over the next three and a half years, Michael endured chemotherapy, radiation, a bone marrow transplant, two major surgeries, monoclonal antibody treatments, and countless tests. After a tenacious battle with cancer, Michael went home to be with the Lord in heaven on March 30, 2002. Now he is safe in the arms of Jesus and will never experience pain or tears again. Dr. Talbert's book was a timely arrival for my family. After BJU Press released it just before Thanksgiving in 2001, I devoured it cover to cover over two full days. God also used the book to minister greatly to my grieving Mom. It was one of the means that taught my family to trust a sovereign God through the most difficult, heart-wrenching trial we have ever experienced.

Of all the branches of systematic theology, God's providence is arguably the most challenging to articulate. One contemporary theologian noted, "Probably the most difficult intellectual challenge to the Christian faith is the problem of how there can be evil in the world" (Millard Erickson, Christian Theology [Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998], 436). Dr. Talbert uniquely presents substantive orthodox theology in a warmly devotional manner that meets human needs with God's words. He writes based on an unswerving commitment to the grammatical-historical meaning of the text and makes direct applications that are unarguable because they are so solidly based on Scripture.

One particular portion of Dr. Talbert's book that God used to align my impatience with His word was his discussion of God's governing providence in the life of Joseph. He writes, "God weaves delays into the pattern of life for my ultimate good. Think of delays from His perspective. We are so frantically time bound. God is not. . . . The point is, time is a worry only to us. It never has been to God. Learn to rest in Him, walk with Him, obey Him, and cultivate contentment wherever His Hand has put you now. He has a strategy, a purpose, a method--and all the power and persuasive tools necessary to do whatever he pleases" (78).

This is the type of book that one can read repeatedly with deeper benefit each time. God becomes so much bigger in our sight when we meditate on his preserving and governing providence: "God continuously preserves and maintains the existence of every part of His creation, from the smallest to the greatest, according to His sovereign pleasure. God graciously guides and governs all events, including the free acts of men and their external circumstances, and directs all things to their appointed ends for His glory" (34).

A Feast for the Soul  Jun 4, 2002
Dr. Layton Talbert has given us a treasure. Not By Chance feeds the soul with a deep and penetrating look at how God relates to this universe -- and to each of us. This book should be read slowly and thoughtfully. Every chapter is stocked with delicious, soul-nourishing morsels. Dr. Talbert shows great respect for the text of Holy Scripture. His scholarship is solid, not arrogant. (It's refreshing to find an author who doesn't force anti-supernatural presuppositions down our throats.) I picture the author sitting at his desk with an open Bible. I see him prayerfully reflecting on hundreds of biblical texts -- trying to understand what God intended rather than reading his own ideas into the text. As a result, an aroma of honesty, humility, and delight fills Dr. Talbert's work. Not By Chance is theology at its best -- Scriptural, practical, and life-changing.

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