Professor’s Corner – Dr. Gord Oeste: Recommended Reading
Dr. Gord Oeste, Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew
Recommended Reading: Christopher J.H. Wright’s book, The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith, (Zondervan, 2008).
This book contains Wright’s personal reflections on four difficult topics: the problem of evil, the command to kill all of the Canaanites, the “scandal” of the cross, and issues surrounding the end of the world. Wright’s approach is personal, theological, and canonical, pointing towards a way forward without overstepping the bounds of mystery. Wright makes some very helpful observations, such as when discussing the command to completely destroy all of the Canaanites. Wright points out that this command needs to be understood within the context of God’s justice and paradoxically, his larger goal of the salvation of the nations. This can be seen in the example of the Jebusites (the inhabitants of Jerusalem before David’s conquest – 2 Sam 5:6-10), a Canaanite group originally targeted for destruction (Deut 7:1), but ultimately enfolded into the family of Israel. Wright’s approach is both helpful and frustrating, for he often adds valuable perspectives, but falls short of arriving at definitive conclusions, perhaps a hazard of the difficult questions he grapples with. In the end, Wright’s book is insightful, humble, and a helpful aid for both pastors and lay people in wrestling through these difficult questions.