Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Review: "Why, O God?: Suffering and Disability in the Bible and the Church"

Edited by Larry J. Waters and Roy B. Zuck
"Why, O God?" addresses issues on the challenge and need in Suffering and Disability considering the issue from  Biblical foundations, Theology, Pastoral ministry, Missions, Counselling, Professional Services.

The book is a result of a course that Daniel Thomson and Dr. Larry Waters  developed over 2 years ago on “The Theology of Suffering and Disability and the Church.” Dr. Waters describes that the main thesis of the book revolves around what we believe are weaknesses in many churches, and the Christian community as a whole, concerning a proper application and biblical response to suffering and disability. For the most part the Church today is failing to properly present the biblical view of suffering, and is not involved in developing a ministry for the disabled and then involving them in their ministry. “There is no disability or suffering ministry until the disabled and suffering are ministering.”

 Dr. Waters notes that a number of people in the Christian community can benefit from the book: Pastors, missionaries, counsellors, healthcare workers, parents who have children with disabilities, spouses who have a wife or husband suffering from a physical or mental disability, teachers in all areas of ministry. The book even deals with the issues of why Christians suffer and why does evil exist. The diversity of the topics in the 22 chapters allows for a varied appeal to readers.

This book is unique in many ways including the fact that it aims at much more than appealing to certain people, but strives for specific responses. Dr. Waters envisions five specific responses: 1). Make the church aware of its need to minister to and involve the disabled in their ministries. 2). Give a biblical foundation for understanding the existence of suffering, how suffering is used by the Lord, and how we can respond biblically both individually and collectively to the problem of pain and suffering. 3). Comfort for those who are suffering. 4). Encouragement to those who have struggle so long and so hard to start a disability and suffering ministry in their church. 5). Encourage other institutions of learning to use this book as a text or suggested text for a similar course on “A Theology of Suffering and Disability.”

The list of qualified contributors is impressive: Larry J. Waters (Editor), Roy B. Zuck (Editor), Randy Alcorn (Foreword), Joni Eareckson Tada (Contributor), Ronald B. Allen (Contributor), James E. Allman (Contributor), Victor D. Anderson (Contributor), Mark L. Bailey (Contributor), Jessica James Baldridge (Contributor), Douglas K. Blount (Contributor), Stephen J. Bramer (Contributor), Thomas L. Constable (Contributor), Patricia Evans (Contributor), Greg A. Hatteberg (Contributor), Michael A. Justice (Contributor), Linda M. Marten (Contributor), James A. Neathery (Contributor), Daniel R. Thomson (Contributor), Stanley D. Toussaint (Contributor), Richard L. Voet (Contributor), Amy J. Wilson (Contributor). They are qualified in the fact that they have dealt with their own disability (Joni Erickson Tada) or are the care giver for someone who is disabled (Gregory Hatteberg for his wife Lisa). Wisdom is truly reflected in their writings as some who has experienced what they are writing about and care deeply about those dealing with these situations. They are no strangers to suffering and not content to just share experience. Their writings are rich in Biblical reflections showing both accuracy and breadth of Biblical subject matter from the person of God Himself to His sovereign care.

This excellent tome is no mere formula to "cure or care" for people, but treats the issue of disability and suffering in the full orbed Kingdom perspective. "Why, O God?" does not merely deal with suffering and disability in the Bible and Church, but shows how God redeems suffering (Eph. 1:11) and how the Church is called on to show this fact in both word and deed.

Product Details

  • Retail Price: $22.00 US
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway Books (July 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433525801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433525803
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.9 inches

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