10 (October 2014)

Big God

Big God
John Palmer
John Palmer John Palmer lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
30 September, 2014 2 min read

Big God

Orlando Saer
Christian Focus Publications
144 pages, £7.99
ISBN: 978-1-78191-294-2
Star Rating: 3

The subtitle of the book is, ‘How to approach suffering, spread the gospel, make decisions and pray in the light of a God who really is in the driving seat of the world’.

The author’s contention is that the Christian’s view of God is getting smaller, that although he is all-powerful, he intervenes only occasionally. When he does not, it is then that bad things happen. Moreover, some believe he is not sovereign in salvation, or, indeed, that he does not know the future.

The reason that God has become smaller in our thinking is that we think we have become bigger. This book’s aim is to correct this by showing that God is sovereign, despite seeming evidence to the contrary. Moreover, God as truly God makes a difference to our spiritual walk; we must get our minds right before we can get our life right.

The author begins by explaining the difference between God’s perceptive and decretive wills (although not using those terms). We make free choices as Christians, either to sin or to obey, to do one thing or another; yet God fulfils his own plans through all of these. This chapter is helpful and clear.

Saer then applies this in the four areas in the subtitle. The strongest of these treatments are the chapters on suffering and guidance. God brings suffering; he does not just permit it. Christians suffer for spiritual discipline and to conform us more closely to Christ. He gives sound teaching on how to respond to this.

Addressing decision-making, Saer destroys mystical views of guidance through inadequate clues, misapplied Scripture, deceptive inner peace, etc. We are free in Christ to make decisions in the light of the Bible, with God-given wisdom. This is a good short treatment of the subject.

The treatment of prayer seems the weakest, but can anyone fully resolve the tension between God’s sovereignty and his answering of prayer, especially in just 20 pages?

The book is easy to read and, it must be said, only an introduction, but a link to a website with suggestions for further reading is included.

John Palmer
Tredegar

John Palmer
John Palmer lives in Ormskirk, Lancashire.
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