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

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Item description for The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J. H. Wright...

If we are honest, we have to admit that there are many things we don't understand about God, especially in the face of terrible suffering and evil. Chris Wright offers reflections and encouragement from the Scriptures, so that those who are troubled by these tough questions can still sustain their faith. --from publisher description

Publishers Description

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 people, these problems raise so many questions and uncertainties that faith itself becomes a struggle, and the very person and character of God are called into question. Chris Wright encourages us to face up to the limitations of our understanding and to acknowledge the pain and grief they can often cause. But at the same time, he wants us to be able to say, like the psalmist in Psalm 73: But that s all right. God is ultimately in charge and I can trust him to put things right. Meanwhile, I will stay near to my God, make him my refuge, and go on telling of his deeds. "

From Publishers Weekly
Why do people suffer? Why is the God of the Hebrew Bible so capricious? How can we make sense of Jesus Christ's suffering on the cross and the meaning of a redemption won through such a violent act? Does the end of the world represent the end of time, space, and history? Wright, an internationally known theologian, author and educator, attempts to answer these questions as he honestly grapples with his lack of understanding of much of God's activity in this rather workmanlike book. He observes that the Bible is chock full of examples of individuals struggling to understand God's role in their lives, from Sarah's attempt to come to terms with her barrenness to the Psalmist's anguished cry of long-suffering, "How long, O Lord?" Regrettably, Wright's sometimes forceful questions lose their strength as he takes refuge in the simplistic conclusion that God is always big enough to absorb our doubts. In the end, Wright is not confident enough to step out of his comfort zone and to examine a broader range of perspectives on these questions. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

Awards and Recognitions
The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J. H. Wright has received the following awards and recognitions -

  • Christianity Today Book Award - 2010 Winner - Theology/Ethics category

Citations And Professional Reviews
The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith by Christopher J. H. Wright has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • CBA Retailers - 01/01/2009 page 39
  • Christian Retailing - 01/05/2009 page 23

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   222
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9.25"
Weight:   0.96 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2009
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
Age  18
ISBN  0310275466  
ISBN13  9780310275466  
UPC  025986275464  

Availability  0 units.

More About Christopher J. H. Wright

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dr. Christopher J. H. Wright is International Director of the Langham Partnership International. He also serves as chair of the Lausanne Movement's Theology Working Group and chair of the Theological Resource Panel of TEAR Fund, a leading Christian relief and development charity. He has written several books, including Living as the People of God (An Eye for an Eye in the US), God's People in God's Land, Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, Walking in the Ways of the Lord, Deuteronomy in the New International Biblical Commentary, The Message of Ezekiel in the Bible Speaks Today series, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, and The God I Don't Understand. Chris and his wife, Liz, have four adult children and six grandchildren.

Christopher J. H. Wright was born in 1947.

Spanish Language Biography: Christopher J. H. Wright es director internacional de Langham Partnership International, donde tomo el cargo que ocupo John R. W. Stott durante treinta anos. Tambien sirve como presidente de la junta directiva del Grupo de Trabajadores del Comite Teologico Lausana y del Panel de recursos teologicos del fondo TEAR, una fundacion lider en la ayuda para cristianos y desarrollo caritativo. Es autor de un sinnumero de libros, incluyendo Conociendo a Jesus a traves del Antiguo Testamento, etica del Antiguo Testamento para log hijos de Dios, y el galardonado La Mision de Dios. Chris y su esposa, Luz, tienen cuatro hijos y cinco nietos.

Christopher J. H. Wright has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Bible Speaks Today
  2. Biblical Theology for Life
  3. Christian Doctrine in Global Perspective
  4. International Study Guides

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > Apologetics
Books > Christian Living > Practical Life > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about God I Don't Understand?

Honest and humble exercise  Mar 24, 2010
"Love how gifted is Wright to address tough questions of faith in a humble and easy to understand way. Aimed at clearly believing in your belief and doubting your doubts, the book is rick in key issues we hardly comprehend. Highly recommended it"
It Is Generally Good But Has Some Problems  Mar 14, 2010
Overall I enjoyed reading "The God I Don't Understand." It was thoughtful and readable. Part One was especially helpful. Wright is not satisfied with just giving usual answers. I especially appreciate his extensive use of the Old Testament. I can imagine that next time I teach this subject, I would incorporate some of his arguments into my teaching. If I'm allowed to make a critical comment, however, his reasoning behind the following comment in page 40 seems to be weak: "Nevertheless, we may discern the fingerprints of Satan in what is described in these poems [Isaiah 14:4-21 and Ezekiel 28:1-17], since it is clear that these arrogant human beings were brought low because of their blasphemous pride and boasting against God." Now, I don't deny a possibility that Satan was behind these two kings, but he never explains the connection between them. It sounds like a circular reasoning. I'd like to see a clearer explanation here.

Parts Two and Three were generally helpful.

I had a problem with Part Four. Trevin Wax, in his this site review, says, "Yet, I did not find part 4 as relevant to the book's overall theme as the previous sections." I tend to agree. Wright seems to think that the dispensational interpretation of end times is as dangerous to Christianity as the other three issues he has dealt with in this book. But is it true? I agree that there are some people who are too obsessed with end times prophecies to remember why those prophecies are there in the Bible. [Those prophecies are to encourage holy living among believers, if I mention just one of the purposes.] But most dispensationalists do not belong to that category. Wright, in his eagerness to criticize the whole movement, does not distinguish serious dispensational scholarship from garbage. This is very unfortunate.

Wright also seems to think that the motivation behind all the publication on end times by dispensationalists is just to be scandalous [and sell books?]. He names the "Left Behind" series as "the most prominent example" [page 165]. But he fails to recognize that the main reason Tim LaHaye created that series was to draw people to Christ. [If you look for Tim LaHaye's comments on the series, you should easily be able to find a statement along that line.] Now, that wouldn't make his interpretation right [and I don't endorse all his interpretations and some parts of the series are not well-written], but at least his initial motivation was not to be scandalous.

As for his particular objections against dispensationalism, most of them are old ones. So I will briefly mention only one here. One of Wright's criticisms about dispensationalism is that it is "relatively recent" [page 165]. But how old must an interpretation be in order to be right? Does that mean that all the interpretations of the church fathers are correct? Or, should all the Christians in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries have rejected Calvinism because that interpretation was "relatively recent"? That would be absurd! One should judge the rightness of a particular interpretation not just based upon how old or new that interpretation is.

Wright seems to be unfamiliar even with typical dispensationalist responses to his objections. I wish a respected scholar like Wright would have done more careful research [he may have done it, but I cannot detect its evidence] and been more generous with fellow believers who happen to have a view different from his.
The God I Trust But Do Not Fully Understand  Feb 16, 2010
Well-read ruminating apologists have the sort of intellectual comprehension resting on God-given faith that non-scholars might covet. But beneath this enviable veneer lies a finite and mutable intellectual viewpoint fraught with moments of misapprehension and lack of perspicuity on matters which require omniscience. In "The God I Don't Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions," Christopher J. H. Wright offers rational and empathetic answers to some complex theological and philosophical questions. Wright confesses that not only does he not hold all the solutions, but that on this side of Heaven one may never have indubitable solutions to many of the most difficult theoretical paradoxes.

The author provides four key sections including:
- The problem of evil
- The obliteration of the Canaanites
- The purpose of the cross of Christ
- Eschatology.

This book doesn't provide any indisputable answers to difficult questions, nonetheless it furnishes supportive and useful viewpoints on how to trust God when one cannot discover all the answers.

This volume is helpful for most non-scholars and may assist the philosophically inclined in their desire to better explain their own biblical perspective on difficult theological issues.
The Necessary Existence of God: The Proof of Christianity Through Presuppositional Apologetics
Honest Approach to Tough Questions of Faith  Jan 24, 2010
Wright truly wrestles with some difficult questions, and readily admits (somewhat refreshingly) that not only does he not have the answers, but that we may not be meant to ever know the answers. The greater question becomes then, not why is there evil or why is there hell, but can we still have faith in the midst of unanswered questions? There are 4 main sections to the book, beginning with the problem of evil, continuing to the seemingly merciless destruction of the Canaanites, and thirdly an examination of the cross and its impact. The final portion of the book deals with the return of Christ, the resurrection of all humanity, and the redemption of Christ's followers, culminating in the renewal of heaven and earth. Wright challenges conventional teaching here by saying that while we will indeed go to heaven when we die, we will not remain there. He seems to look at heaven as a resting place until the day of judgment, where we will be for just awhile. On the day of judgment, those who are judged righteous through faith in Christ (and evidence of good works) will live in the new creation, the new heaven AND the new earth, with God for eternity. Wright states that we will not be going UP to heaven, but that God will be coming DOWN to earth to restore God's creation and establish a new Kingdom here with us.

The book concludes with a two-fold challenge. First, to realize that all our work now contributes to the content of the new creation. Wright believes that God will not destroy the earth, but will instead purify it, retaining the best of human innovation, art, and the highlights of human civilization. It will not be destroyed, but purified and incorporated into the future city of God. Second, to realize that all our behavior now must be governed by the standards of the new creation. If it will be possible in the new creation, we should do it now as then. If it will be forbidden in the new creation, it should be forbidden to us now as well. Overall, an insightful book with new perspectives, especially on the future. Like other books of this type, it doesn't answer any real questions, but it does give helpful perspective on how to live with the questions.
Engaging  Nov 17, 2009
Christopher Wright once again demonstrates his ability to address complicated topics while at the same time communicate on level where all may understand. It is refreshing to see a biblical scholar who is willing to admit he does not have all the answers to every subject in the bible and yet is willing to address them in a humble and informative manner. He does an especially great job addressing the problem of evil and the work of Christ on the cross. The only chapter I felt he may have bitten off more than he could chew was the one on eschatology, but at such a simple level who could adequately deal with it in a short chapter. The message of the book is quite clear: while we may not fully understand God and His ways, we can completely trust Him. I highly recommend this book, especially for small groups.

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