Sep 23, 2009

A Review of If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn

My latest book to read and review was If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn. I was really looking forward to this book because I have always admired Alcorn's work. He's always biblically and theologically sound while at the same time dealing with real questions that real people ask. This book was no exception.

This is a summary of the book from the publisher:
"Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God--Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?
These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers like Bart Ehrman answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

As he did in his best-selling book, Heaven, Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all."
This book is a huge volume - 494 pages. However, the chapters are short enough to be read and digested in one sitting. They are also comprehensive, covering just about any topic or question someone might raise about the questions of evil and suffering. Alcorn has done his homework on this topic. The reader can tell that these are questions that are important to the author. He wants to present a biblically sound answer to the questions that rock the faith of believers and present real challenges to the faith of unbelievers. Alcorn is also honest enough in his presentation to show that the lack of real faith in unbelievers actually helps to increase their frustration with God on this topic. His purpose in this book is not only to show what Scripture has to say about evil and suffering, but to show that the Christian faith presents the best defense of these issues and the only real basis for hope in the midst of the pain. He does not try to be a public defender for God. He allows God's word to speak for itself.

Alcorn's book is the best I have ever seen on this sticky subject. Most of the books I have seen either present a mushy defense that is heavily weighted on a loving God or read like theological defense with about as much readability as a the congressional tax code with little compassion for the deep questions and pain that people experience. Alcorn uses a lot of relevant stories of suffering and how those who experienced them found real hope in the Christian faith. This book should be on every pastor's shelf and should be the basis for a relevant sermon series on this topic for his flock.

You can see the book here:


Steph said...

A few weeks back the father of one of our girls passed away suddenly. A lot of the girls in our group have been asking the "If God is good, why?" I'm really interested to read this book.

I never had a chance to congratulate you on your new church. They are very blessed to have you. Hope the family is adjusting well to their new home!