Book Review: God Is the Issue

January 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Posted in Books and Movies, It's All About God | Leave a comment

            This book was sent to my office, and the title was intriguing to me.  If you are a regular reader or listener, you know my theme is “It’s all about God,” so a book with this title caught my attention.  The author, Brad Bright, son of Campus Crusade founder Bill Bright, summarizes that idea in his Introduction:  “The answer is God.  . . .  He is the answer to every dysfunction I face as an individual, and he is the answer to every dysfunction we face as a society.” (p.13)  To that I say a hearty, “Amen!”

            After the intro, Bright begins by stating that we must distinguish between cause and effect.  The moral failures of our society are only symptoms of deeper troubles.  “It’s now time to recognize . . . that moral collapse is not the critical issue.  It is no more than a symptom of a much deeper problem.”  In a nutshell, “we have pushed God aside and focused on self.” (p.25)  The solution is to get a correct view of God back into society.  “God is the central issue of all life, and therefore our view of God is the central issue for each of our lives as individuals and for our culture.” (p.33)  “Attempting to correct wrong behavior while ignoring a person’s underlying view of God is short-sighted and ultimate destined to fail.” (p.49)  Amen!  The church needs to see this matter more clearly to really minister to the non-believer.

            I thought this might be a book about not getting involved in the political arena because political change isn’t real lasting change, only God’s work in a life is.  But Bright takes his theme another direction.  Again in the Introduction: “This book is written to the person who ardently desires to bring about wholesale change within the American cultural mindset.  It is written to the person who wishes to help frame the message that could ultimately allow us to win the war.” (p. 15)  I should have known, since the subtitle is “Recapturing the Cultural Initiative.”  So Bright goes into an lengthy explanation of what he believes is necessary for that to happen.  The next three chapters are about reframing cultural issues and rhetoric, so that Christians can control the context and ultimately make God the central issue.  I’ll admit here that I was terribly disappointed in this line of thought.  However, after it had time to set a few days, I find what Bright says fascinating; I think he’s onto what is necessary for change on the media and political fronts.

            In the final chapter, Bright goes into some areas I expected earlier, saying we can’t pass on a correct understanding of God if we don’t have that ourselves.  So he encourages his readers to know God better.  “Only after I have begun growing in my intellectual and personal understanding of who God really is and why it matters would I shift my focus to engaging with the culture.” (p.144)  One aspect of this last chapter that convicted me was the author’s question about loving non-believers; if you really know God’s love for people, you will love them like he does.  “Do you really love sinners as Jesus did or do you deep down inside resent them?” (p.148)  In a story that pays a great tribute to his father, Bright adds, not from personal experience but from dad’s example, “If you have ‘problems,’ your view of God is flawed.  Ouch!  Either you don’t believe He is totally sovereign or that He really is all-powerful or that He is perfectly loving.  Somewhere your intellectual or heart view of God is off base.” (p. 150)  Again I say “Amen to that!”

              I don’t believe that God calls everyone to work for change in the public arena, or in the cultural battles of our day, but for those he does, this book is a must read.


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