Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Review of "Where the Hell is God?" by Richard Leonard

The book is plugged as an unique blend of the personal and theological, but the personal aspect of it is not especially powerful.
Leonard does have some good things to say about the importance of free will and God's presence through suffering.

But chapter five in the book, an argument against the supplementary atonement of Christ's death and its purposeful nature is borderline heretical. To quote Matthew 16:21 - "21 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life." Peter objected to what Jesus had to say, and I believe Jesus might have had a "Get thee behind me, Satan" for Leonard here as well.

Leonard's less than wholehearted affirmation of miracles is disappointing as well. He seems to lean toward the idea that "modern science" has ruled out the miraculous, but God can still do miracles "through us". He seems to believe that since a miracle didn't happen for his quadriplegic sister, it won't happen for anyone. Scripture teaches that God does indeed intervene in the world, even if rarely and not by human weems. Much better treatment of the miraculous can be found in C. S. Lewis' "Miracles" and Tim Stafford's recent book of the same name. (And while one is looking at Lewis, see also "The Problem of Pain" and "A Grief Observed" for the classics in dealing with these issues from first a theological and then a personal perspective.)

But Leonard does have some worthy arguments and is worth a look for people struggling with the problem of evil and pain.

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