Living for the Glory of God ~ Vivir para la Gloria de Dios

God Over Good ~ A Book Review

Frequently, our view of the world around us is one in which we are seemingly encircled by trials and tribulations that seek to disrupt any faith we have. Trapped in the middle of the disarray that makes up this world, for many believers it is very difficult to see God at work. However, a faith rightly oriented towards God is able to carry us through such events in joy and ultimately cause refinement to who we are. What do we do then, when our faith is burdened by more than we can carry and threatens to destroy what we cling to?
In one sense, the easy answer to this disturbing question is stop carrying the burden yourself. We learn both from the charges of Scripture and the characters of Scripture, that we are not to carry our own burden, but to cast them upon the Lord. The intensity of some of the situations we face though often cater to sensitivity towards entrapment in which it becomes harder and harder to trust our Lord and we become confined by disappointment, disillusionment, and depression.
For many, the beginning of that cycle begins not with who God expects us to be, but who we expect God to be. Pondering his faith and battling doubts, Luke Norsworthy understood some of the ways in which many wrestle with their faith in this way and endeavors to help others through that it in his recent book God Over Good – Saving Your Faith By Losing Your Expectations of God. Hoping to help people ‘find their faith after disappointment’ (Location 2296) Norsworthy writes in a light-hearted manner over the course of eight chapters, examining how people’s expectations of God causes them to reject Him.  Each chapter focuses on various aspects of the relationship with God examining how personal expectations misinform a person’s view of the character of God.
One of the greatest strengths of this book is the author’s ongoing reminder about too much reliance upon knowledge. As one who has the propensity to rely upon head knowledge and ignore a connection to the heart, I appreciate that aspect and am more reminded of the necessity to incline my total being towards our Lord. However, the author takes this point too far, often denying the need for understanding and logic at all, and the result is detrimental to the ongoing development of this book.

The ongoing issues in this book are blaring, but perhaps I can sum them up in the following three points:

Lacks Conviction:
As previously shared, the author relies heavily on emotionalism, often denying that truth and logic have any role in faith. The result is a book that denies any knowledge at all and thus there is no conviction. That emotionalism leads Norsworthy to conclusions such as needing to grieve the fact that God would not be who he wanted God to be (location 783) or that Jesus was speaking to him asking for forgiveness (location 1167). The very thought that Jesus needs our forgiveness destroys the character of God according to the Bible.

Lacks Faith: 
Despite trying to be a book motivated to the development of a personal faith, the author lacks faith. Throughout the book, he constantly indicates that the Bible contradicts itself (although each supposed contradiction would have an answer if the author would rationally consider the texts). He concludes later that all good theology teaches us to love others even with a different view. He is correct in pointing this out, and the current state of our nation reveals that Christians have even forgotten this point. However, he stipulates further that love those with different convictions because we are all in this together (location 1715). Perhaps I am wrong in my interpretation, but in my reading, it appeared that he was saying that all people are working together with some sort of faith that leads towards the same goal. Salvation though is defined as by grace through faith in Christ. Not every person has that ‘faith’ and therefore to say that we are in this together is an outright denial of what faith is and how it unifies the body of Christ, not the bodies of the world. Finally, even his premise throughout the book that readers have to choose between what is good and what is God is counter to what faith is because it denies that God uses even the most difficult of circumstances for the good of His people and His own glory.

Lack of Authority:
Finally, the author repeatedly questions the truthfulness of Scripture. I understand doubts can arise, but he never defends Scripture only casts doubt upon it. In his examples to those he counsels, he never cites Scripture but appeals to his own logic which is guided by emotionalism, not the truth. For example, when a friend asked him if God would reject him if he chose cremation, Norsworthy’s response was no. He goes on further to explain, he can’t defend that response (location 1401). If Scripture is sufficient (2 Timothy 3:16) then certainly it would have something to say about such a discussion (here’s a hint: it is sufficient and there are theological aspects discussed in the Bible that help shed light on the topic). Perhaps the biggest giveaway about the author’s stance on Scripture is defined at the very beginning though when he suggests that many people simply believe without question because the biblical authors say it happened (location 359). NO! We believe Scripture not because of the human authors, but because of the divine author. This is not man’s word, but God’s.

After reading this book, I am left with the question “Why is this guy a pastor?” He has denied Scripture, he has denied Christ, and he has denied God. Based on the author’s arguments in the book, his response would be that I am simply upset because he is disrupting my expectations of who God is. That’s not the case at all. He is disrupting what God has said about himself, and that is disturbing. By denying each of these, he has taken away his own authority to be a pastor, because he no longer has a topic to preach about (God & Christ), he no longer has any truth to preach (which comes from the Bible), and he has no authority to preach (which comes both from God and His Word).

Reviewing books is a serious task because people will read or reject a book based upon that review. I want to be cautious not only that I am leading people towards solid books, but also that I am not denying them access to other books because I misunderstood, didn’t read fully, or didn’t catch something. Furthermore, even with books in which I disagree, I try to be gentle in my reviews but the level of carelessness in this book is infuriating to me.

This could have been a good book. The premise is an important aspect of the Christian life that needs to be addressed because the world in which we live and disrupt the depths of our faith. But you can develop faith by destroying the foundations of that faith. There is no way in which I can genuinely recommend God Over Good to readers.

If you find yourself struggling in your faith and desire to love God, there are three books recommendations I would make in place of this particular book:

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no cost to me for the purposes of review. However, my review was not influenced in any way by the author, publisher, or any other person associated with this book and it is the direct result of my reading of it.
%d bloggers like this: