Where is God by Dr. John Townsend is not all that I expected it to be. Quite frankly there are better books on the topic available in the market. The author does an excellent job of taking the reader through a series of questions and shares great clinical insight from years of practice. However the real insights don’t begin until near the end of the book. It seems as though I was sitting down with a friend to hear his latest thoughts on why God allowed suffering.
I enjoyed the wisdom I gained from Dr. Townsend’s years of clinical experience, the few references to scripture, and the stories of practical expression of the question, “Where is God?” A book like this aimed to be, needed to be grounded in scripture, up to date on relevant study and written by a man with years of clinical experience. In the end I felt as though only the last requirement was satisfactorily answered. Though Dr. Townsend has a well respected name in his field of work, I fear that is all that was driving this book. Though I agree with him in many areas he left too much unfounded and unsaid. I have a hard time recommending this book to anyone. For a topic this large a more complete treatment was necessary.
Where is God? is a book to read for anyone very unfamiliar with the scriptures and searching for a starting point. The retail price is $22.99 (Hardcover), and is available at places like Amazon.com for $15.63. I gave it two stars.
Disclaimer: As a blogger I received a free review copy from the Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program (http://brb.thomasnelson.com/ ). There was no requirement to give it a positive review, just for the reviewer to call it like they see it.
2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Where is God,” By Dr. John Townsend”
Hi Pastor Jonathan,
This is a response to your review on Townsend’s book, Where is God?
Are you open to feedback?
Regarding the topic, Townsend addressed the mystery of God, His relational and redeeming nature, and how he uses free will and circumstances as oportunties to know Him and grow in Him. All of these relate to how we encounter God, noting also how we defend against encounter.
Your review was critical of the manner of coverage the author provided for the topic. Townsend would be either foolish or arrogant (or both) to attempt a broad, comprehensive treatment of a topic that is, by nature, to some degree incomprehensible. I appreciate how he respectfully did not attempt a sweeping approach nor an overly academic, clinical approach. This risks over-simplification at best and dimishment or distortion at worst. This is a common problem of ego.
Scripture was aptly used, yet not excessively to assert every minute point. Scripture was preeminent, nonetheless. The mysterious and powerful nature of God’s love for His people was addressed reverently and with an effort at candor.
Perhaps a critique of a Christian book should address whether the truth of God and His Word is exalted and expressed in a meaningful way to reach people. Any book atempting to speak to the reality of God in our lives would need to reflect this, to be edifying for the body of Christ.
Likewise, any Christian critique should also be edifying, even when observations are not favorable of the author. In this, we strive to keep the bond of unity in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 4).
All individuals will fail to some degree, as we all fail to reflect perfectly given that we are imperfect ourselves. I am challenged by this today, in communicating to you.
Thanks for your comments. I always welcome constructive criticism. It’s been a long time since I reviewed this book. I don’t remember thinking anything bad about the author at the time, just that compared to some of the other stuff on the market and other stuff I’ve read from Dr. Townsend that this book was not on his usual level. My fear was that it was rushed to production at the cost of quality. I really don’t think I was critical of Dr. Townsend, though I was critical of his writing. I’ll spend the next few days thinking about it and praying through it. Perhaps there was something hidden there, but nothing that I see on the surface.