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Review

Simply God

By Peter Sanlon
February 2015 | Review by Jonathan Bayes
  • Publisher: IVP
  • ISBN: 978-1-78359-104-6
  • Pages: 240
  • Price: 11.99

Book Review

Simply God
Peter Sanlon
IVP
240, £11.99
ISBN: 978-1-78359-104-6
Star Rating: 3

Peter Sanlon wrote this book concerned that the contemporary church has lost touch with its theological roots that are manifested in the profound thinking of earlier generations of Christians.

We have become shallow and sentimental in our view of God. The God we believe in is a miniaturised replica of the true God. To rectify this, our starting point must be the recognition that God is fundamentally different from us, not just a larger version. He is incomparably perfect and infinite.

Sanlon finds the key in the ancient doctrine of divine simplicity. The trinitarian God is simply God in the eternal, perfect, infinity of personal love.

The book focuses on three particular issues. God’s eternity does not merely concern endless time; it displays a totally different order of being. God’s power and goodness are not like human ability and kindness vastly enlarged; they are altogether unique.

This makes God utterly trustworthy amidst life’s perplexities. God’s love, which gave his Son to die for our sins, is in a league of its own. It is his absolute transcendence that makes the incarnation and death of his Son so remarkable.

The second half of the book acknowledges the modern tendency to dismiss such a vast view of a God. An understanding of God as altogether other than us is often disregarded as cold and remote.

Sanlon subsequently traces the way in which the three-ness of this one, majestic God is portrayed in Scripture and has been understood in church history. This understanding forms the basis for God’s nature, as one that includes relational love.

The final chapter suggests how an exalted vision of God — one which totally humbles us — has practical implications for Christian life in the world and the church.

This is not an easy book to read, but it is well worth the effort involved. Every chapter finishes with a prayerful meditation on the truths considered. This, in itself, reveals the author’s heart as one which adores the mystery of God.

Jonathan Bayes
Thirsk

 

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