One of the newest additions in the Refraction series, Andrew Greer and Ginny Owens’ book Transcending Mysteries: Who Is God, and What Does He Want from Us? (Refraction) proposes to reconcile the Jesus that all Christians fall in love with with the God of the Old Testament. After all, everyone loves Jesus as the redeemer, but who really wants to spend time thinking about God as the judge of the Old Testament?
In order to accomplish their task, they take some of the more popular (and a few of the lesser known) stories from the Old Testament, and apply them to themes that are running through their lives. They see what lessons about calling, grief, wise counsel, God’s mercy, obedience and belief that they can find running through the Old Testament. They use stories such as Hannah’s Prayer for a baby, Sennacherib’s message to Hezekiah, the call of Moses, and Josiah’s finding of the books of the law as well as stories from their own lives that relate to the stories that they’ve picked from the Old Testament.
The Old Testament stories are beautiful and beautifully told. The life experience applications are poignant and reflective. They’ve truly put some great stories and applications together. Yet, as I read through this book, I never felt like they proved their thesis. They never tackled any stories about God’s judgment or holiness and about our own brokenness and Jesus taking on the punishment that we deserve. They may have found pictures of God’s love and grace from the Old Testament and made them visible to those who had seen the Old Testament as inaccessible, but they never actually reconciled God’s judgment to his grace. In that case, this book falls a little flat and disappointing for me.
If you’re looking for a collection of familiar and unfamiliar stories of God’s grace from the Old Testament to apply to your life, this is a great book. If you’re looking for a picture of God’s holiness and judgement as a part of his love, then you might want to keep looking.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review, and my opinions are my own.