Item description for The Lonely God by L. Dart Ronald...
The Bible doesn't contradict itself, but it often runs counter to what we expect. Part of the problem lies in the limitations of the human mind. The very idea of God exceeds our grasp. Traditional views hold that God himself is the only uncreated being. Everything and everyone else was created by him. But then that means that before God created the things that are, he was alone - for eternity. But that seems impossible. It is possible to understand God, but only on his own terms, and only by his own revelation. When we try to go beyond what he shows himself to be, we risk creating God in our own image. God has not left us in the dark. He has given us clouds of witnesses, some of whom survived a close encounter with God. From their testimony and from the actions of God in history, a picture begins to emerge. So what in the world is God doing? What is God's purpose for mankind? This book is about understanding and knowing God as he wishes to be known, not necessarily as we wish to know him. The picture that emerges is disturbing. God is not only kind, merciful, forgiving, and longsuffering. He is dangerous. This is why the Bible speaks of the fear of God. This insightful, instructive, and provocative book will change the way you think about God.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.8" Width: 5.7" Height: 0.7" Weight: 0.7 lbs.
Release Date Dec 21, 2005
Publisher Wasteland Press
ISBN 1933265809 ISBN13 9781933265803
Reviews - What do customers think about The Lonely God?
God as Man Apr 26, 2006
Armstrongites believe that God is created in the image of man. For them, God lives in time and space and has a body. He is capable of being lonely, like man. If you are interested in this smaller, heterodox god, I am sure the author gives a good presentation. No doubt this book was intended for that audience.
The Lonely God - Very good Feb 8, 2006
This book is not like others I have read, and I highly recommend it. After 50 years of ministry with the Church God, the author is not threatened by orthodoxy, and in an armchair approach shares his thoughts about a broad range of important subjects relating to worship, such as the nature of God and man, thought and prayer, the purpose of life, predestination, why some people hate God, the Spirit of God, the importance of Godly conduct... It also includes some interesting thoughts on the events of the Garden of Eden. Some fascinating ideas about "Liberty" will certainly stay with you.
I particularly liked the chapter "Rich Toward God" and thought it one of the best defences of Christian tithing I have read in a long while.
Ronald Dart tries to put the dogmas of religious doctrine on the shelf in order to take an open-minded look at the underlying message and sense of Scripture without pre-conditioned conclusions. While he doesn't attempt to answer every question he raises, he does point in certain directions. His challenge is to draw your own conclusions about God based on what the Bible says, not on religious traditions that are often of dubious origins.
I have heard Ronald Dart speak live several times, and heard his radio program `Born to Win', and he is always interesting and insightful, and his first book doesn't disappoint. The chapters are mostly brief and to the point, and while I would have liked more development in some areas, it is stimulating throughout.
Due to the importance of the topics discussed, the respect the writer has for the Bible, and many reasoned and helpful lines of thought, The Lonely God is a must read for all Christians who like to think about God.
In summary, PROS - a stimulating read, thought-provoking, warm, fresh, and with a unique perspective. CONS - chapters are brief (concise), and some questions that are raised need more discussion. A little guesswork here and there to fill in some gaps about God, but handled honestly and respectfully, and excusable for a book that ponders the majesty of our Creator.
The Lonely God-- A Review Feb 8, 2006
The Lonely God delves into many areas of God's realm about which we may not have given much thought, for example, why did he create mankind and why did he allow Adam and Eve to screw up in the Garden of Eden. Does God read our minds and is he continually spying on us? Does he know what we're going to do before we even do it? Can God travel through time? If he answers some little prayers, why doesn't he answer our big prayers and what is our responsibility in the process? Why does really bad stuff happen to innocent people? If he is eternal, then what has he been doing for trillions of years and was he alone all that time? Does God have a plan for mankind and how can we possibly know what it is?
The author doesn't attempt to answer every mystery of the universe or the God who created it nor should we be flummoxed by unanswerable conundrums which may arise with the very thought of eternity. But we can know all we need to know about God by having an understanding of the Bible and by learning what he has in store for mankind.
In 26 chapters of The Lonely God the author deals with very real problems and misconceptions people have with God, truth and dogma. One essential concept to understanding God as he is, is found in the third chapter, titled Open to God. The author begins the chapter by writing:
"There is no explanation of God offered by man that can do anything but diminish God. And the further we go in trying to explain God, the further we go down a cul-de-sac. The creation of dogma is a major barrier. If we don't stay open to him, to his revelation of himself, we can never hope to understand. Dogma closes that door.
God is. God is what he is regardless of what we think or say. And God presents us with questions we cannot hope to resolve with dogma. We have to take him as he reveals himself to us over time, or we can never know him at all."
In other words (and these are mine, not the author's), when religions and churches mold God into whatever image they have of him and worship him as such, they may have a distorted or false concept of God because dogma gets in the way of what he really is.
There's an important chapter in the book on Liberty. We all want it, but we don't want to deal with its consequences and all too often we will forsake liberty for safety or security. Freedom comes with an awesome responsibility. The Law of God ( the ten commandments), was called the Law of Liberty by James and Paul. No one will ever coerce you to keep the laws of God; we are free to obey them or disobey them, just as Adam and Eve had the choice to obey or disobey them. Nor do God's laws take away our freedom. Rather, it is the law of man that entangles us and takes away our liberty.
Throughout the book, the author posits ideas which may force you to think outside the box of preconceived ideas. One such idea is dubbed the Great Misunderstanding in chapter 12, in which he tackles the idea that the law wasn't done away in the New Testament. He doesn't shy away from controversy, but he's never in your face about it. Some so-called Biblical controversies boil down to a matter of semantics, and more often than not, dogma gets smack dab in the way of rational conjecture on any given subject.
The Lonely God doesn't attempt to "sell" any particular brand of beliefs or religions. It's a thoughtful look at God, his plan, and how he deals with man by a lifelong student and teacher of the Bible. The book shows opposing sides of God...that he is eminently good, the personification of love, kind and benevolent, merciful and generous, and, above all things, Almighty. Though loving and merciful, he's not a God to be taken lightly. To quote the author, God is "dangerous."
I recommend the book very highly. It's well thought out and well written. It's not opinionated and is never argumentative. The book inspires, but I don't think that's the purpose of the book. More than anything, the book evokes thought about lofty concepts and ideas deserving of our time.
The Lonely God Feb 4, 2006
The writer's objective is to "share the journey toward understanding" (p.3). But there are problems. One problem is that the book's brief and vague paragraphs do not allow for very much understanding. His shallow treatments leave you wanting to know more about whatever theology the writer is trying to present. But the careful reader will find some opinions. He writes about "The God who was one of us." In the beginning of Chapter 13, it is suggested that Jesus is God, or a God, by the name of "Word." He gives the "simplest explanation" (p.99) which "leads naturally to the conclusion that "God" is a kind of being of which there are at least two" -two individual Gods. This is not a Trinitarian view.
Page 100: "But then, if he was truly God, was he truly man?" He never answers his question. Page 103: "He [Jesus] was not superman... Jesus could have failed. He was flesh." If Jesus were a God, even one who was one of us, it would seem that he could not have failed.
Dart: "What men call `the Trinity,' is a family, composed for now of Father, Son, and Family Counsel" (p.29). He never explains "Family Counsel." For now there are two Gods in the family of Gods. (Later, more humans will be changed into Gods at the return of Christ.) Dart: "God is a family composed, for now, of a Father, a Son, and a Family Spirit" (p.22). He does not explain "Family Spirit." Dart: "in a [human] family, the father is first among equals" (p.22). He writes that "nothing here suggests that the Father [God] is anything other than first among equals" (p.23). To suggest that a human father is merely "first among equals" is to denigrate the role of the father. Suggesting that God the Father is equal to the Son appears to be an attempt to mollify Trinitarians.
Mr. Dart is not an orthodox Trinitarian. As a long-time minister from the old Sabbatarian Worldwide Church of God under the late Herbert W. Armstrong, and then later as a leading minister in the Church of God, International under Garner Ted Armstrong, Mr. Dart would have fully supported the "Binitarian" "family of Gods" view. This theology depicts God as two separate individuals now (Father and Son). The Holy Spirit not a God. It posits that members following the view (as espoused here) may themselves become individual Gods in a family of Gods with essentially all the power to create humans and more, but as lesser Gods. It has been called "becoming God as God is God."
The Lonely God Jan 30, 2006
Anyone who has heard and enjoyed Ronald Dart's "Born to Win" radio program will certainly welcome his first and newly-published book, "The Lonely God." It condenses a subject of vast scope--ranging from God before the creation of the universe to the final judgment--into a slim volume. The book consists of 26 chapters, each addressing some aspect of God, His creation, or His plan of salvation. Its organization and chapter length make it easy to read as well as to move directly to subjects of particular interest. Mr. Dart plainly states his thesis in Chapter 1, "The Paradox," which also serves as the introduction to the book:
"This book is not an attempt at a unified theory of God nor an attempt to argue for this or that dogma....My objective is to share the journey toward understanding, to walk alongside you and talk about God. And perhaps, dare we think it, to find friendship with God."
He then proceeds to talk with us in his easy, familiar style, about a number of subjects of great interest and concern to anyone who is seriously considering his walk with God. You might be drawn to a chapter dealing with an issue of personal interest--for example, "How Many Gods?" (Chapter 4) dealing with Trinitarianism, or "Talking with God" (Chapter 17) about prayer. For me, the price of the book was repaid by Chapter 8, "Liberty." Mr. Dart succinctly resolves the problem of how a righteous and loving God could allow evil in His creation:
"God is good, man is free. And if you're not free to do evil, you're not free at all. ...We have the freedom to do good. We have the freedom to do harm, and if we have it so do others. If others have that freedom, we have the freedom to suffer from what they do."
What grabbed my attention about the chapter on "Liberty" in particular was that it was so...well, sensible. After reading it, I came to see that it was so obvious in its simplicity that I really should have understood it that way before. Much of the book is like that--Mr. Dart has applied his talent for making the difficult become readily understandable and in the process helped me to clarify my muddled thinking about many subjects.
"The Lonely God" is filled with insightful, thought-provoking presentations of subjects that could be contentious, but are presented with a non-confrontational approach. That makes "The Lonely God" an excellent vehicle for introducing Christians of any church affiliation to a new appreciation of our awesome God. The book captures the tone of the "Born to Win" broadcasts--a friendly, conversational approach to the great questions that puzzle many modern Christians. After reading this book, I felt like I had in fact had a long, probing talk with a friend as we walked toward a better understanding of God.