Our first reaction often indicates our first love. Admittedly, I must share that my first reaction in most circumstances is not a remembrance of God, but a remembrance of self. There exists a constant struggle in the Christian life between the godly and the fleshly, therefore, we are not surprised when our natural inclination is away from God, not towards him. Yet, Scripture exhorts us to seek God first and remember His work in our lives, even in the most trying of times. In her own story, author Annie Downs seeks to model this behavior by sharing her own experiences and the necessity to look at him in Remember God.
Remember God reads like an autobiographical sketch in which the author shares her own testimony of struggles. Those struggles lead to questions about God’s goodness and kindness. Those question set up the premise of the book as the author examines the truth of who God is. Truthfully, there seems to be no order of the book, but instead each chapter is an isolated reflection about the author’s experiences.
To be truthful, the style of writing in this book is not of my preference. Yet, that is exactly the point: it is a matter of preference. The author writes as though she is journaling to a close friend. I recognize for some they may enjoy this style of writing and I will not fault them for that. The advantage of her chosen methodology is that Downs is open and vulnerable to her readers, so that they may relate to her and learn. However, with limited time available, readers look to books that will add value to their lives (literally, that will bless them) and her chosen style means that there is little substance. Do not get me wrong; I am not suggesting that her life has no substance (after all this is a work that expresses her own experiences) but instead that she does little to connect those experiences with the truth of Scripture in a practical way for readers. The result is that readers are better off stewarding their time with other books.
This flaw combines with a deficiency a Scripture to make it even more unbearable. The use of Scripture is only lightly exercised as evidenced by some concerning positions she holds including the following:
- Unbiblical View of Baptism: The author shares of her decision to be baptized and equates it to her childhood christening. While recognizing that it signifies new life, she fails to connect it to Christ and an open profession of his work.
- Unbiblical View of God: Further concerning is that the author relies more on her own words than on Scripture at one point suggesting that God speaks to her as a voice in her mind. She goes further to indicate that in one particular instance when he spoke, he spoke to her suggesting that when she changes, God and her change together. The author does explain that she does not think that God changes but says that her relationship with him changes. Such wording is confusing and contradictory leaving readers perplexed and having to ‘search’ for her true meaning.
- Unbiblical View of Prayer: I am not even sure what category to throw this into, yet she repeatedly uses her feelings to define truth. At one point she shares of staying in a couple’s home for a period noting that they prayed for her . . . according to her own words they never told her they prayed for her, she just felt prayed for by them. Such an assertion can lead to dangerous fallacies.
- Unbiblical View of Scripture: The limited use of Scripture is concerning by itself. However, concern is elevated when one recognizes that in the few times she cites Scripture, she does so by spiritualizing the text (most notably Genesis 32 and the story of Jacob wrestling with a heavenly being).
Perhaps some will say that I am simply picking on a few specific points. Yet, the times in which she reveals her theological positions, the pattern emphasized is concerning. She repeatedly defines her truth, her joy, and her well-being by the unstable circumstances and people in her life, not by an unchanging and stable God in her life.
At the end of the book I remembered little of God and remembered much of her story. As a result, the book is not one that glorifies God, but instead forces readers to fixate more on the author and her story. Therefore, it is not a book that can be recommended to readers.
If you are interested in knowing more about this book, click here. Some better books that can be recommended are the following (Click the titles to learn more):
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.