10 January 2014

Book Review: Untamable God

I have been following the blog of Mark and Stephen Altrogge (how do you pronounce that last name), the Blazing Center, for a couple of years.  Recently, Stephen was looking for people to review his latest book, Untamable God, and I was eager for the chance.

In Untamable God, Altrogge offered some pushback to the view of the boring, weak God presented in many modern books. He opens with the sarcastic observation, "Jesus is a white male with long, lustrous hair, nicely tanned, unblemished skin, piercing blue eyes, and a constant wistful gaze." In other words, a God stripped of His God-ness.  The author wants to see a more full-orbed view of the God of the Bible. He wrote, "we serve a God who is not like us. A God with sharp edges and strong opinions. A hurricane of a God. A tsunami of a God. A God who is greater, more loving, more just, more furious, more frightening, more delightful, and more tender than we could possibly imagine. A God who can't be contained in neatly packaged phrases. A God who breaks our vocabulary."

By our own righteous behavior, we will never measure up to this God, who is more holy, more just, more God than anything we can even fathom. The only answer to our unrighteousness is a big cross. Once we recognize the awesomeness of God's love, His holiness, and His justice, it leads to humility and gratitude for His goodness to us.

I really enjoyed this book. It seemed to me that Altrogge and I read many of the same authors. It appeared to me that he has been influenced by John Piper's big view of God and his glory, Nate Wilson's ability to turn a phrase, and Michael Horton's gospel centrality. This book was also reminiscent of Jared Wilson's freshman offering Your Jesus is Too Safe.  Altrogge effectively combines these apparent influences with his own quirky, often humorous style.

Untamable God was a good book.  I think the author's message is is an important one for 21st century  Christians. You should read this book.

An electronic copy of this book was provided by the author, however, the opinions expressed here are my own. 

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