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Review: A Conversation with God

March 24, 2011

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If you could ask God any question, what would it be?

That’s the subtitle to the book, but still an interesting question. In A Conversation with God, author Alton Gansky uses a question-and-answer format to discuss basic Christian theology. It’s a different approach to familiar topics.

A Conversation “asks” 55 questions about God, humanity, the Bible, pain, the future, etc.

“The material for the fifty-five questions is set in contemporary times and is meant to speak to the lives of twenty-first century people” (page 11).

Questions such as, “How do we know the Bible is accurate?” and, “Why is there so much suffering?” and “Can I lose my salvation?” are answered by a panel of experts. God (as the Father) and Jesus do most of the talking, but we also hear from Abraham, Job, Peter, Moses, and Urbanus, among many others.

Gansky acknowledges the inherent gravity in speaking for God, but explains that the answers are rooted in scripture. The Q&A format is meant to be more engaging than “dry philosophy and theology” (page 11).

So, is it?

Not really. Most of the answers are good, but every attempt I’ve seen at creating a compelling “conversation” through printed dialogue misses the mark. I just don’t think it’s possible. It’s still simple theology; it just uses different pronouns.

However, the book seems designed for a specific target audience, and it speaks well to it. It looks like something a church with a budget would make available to new believers, or maybe a baptism gift. The questions are basic ones. The chapters are short. The content is well organized. A reader could quickly and easily jump around in the book as he wished, and return to it for convenient reference as needed.

Not to mention it’s pretty, and is printed on a heavier-than-normal paper stock. The first thing I noticed when I got it was how heavy it is for its size. The second was that the pages are semi-glossy. (Which is nice, but also kind of a pain in that it catches a glare at almost any angle.)  It’s definitely designed with gift giving in mind.

If you’ve been a Christian, attending church for six months to a year, you might be bored with this one. I certainly was. It took me forever to get through just because I could never read more than a few chapters at a time, and once I’d put it down I didn’t pick it up again for days at a time.

But if you’re leadership in a ministry, and if you agree with all of the theology, it would make a great new believer/baptism/etc. gift. I don’t agree with the pre-tribulation-rapture chapter (or the comment elsewhere that believers these days can’t perform miracles in Jesus’ name like believers in the Bible), but if you’re into that kind of thing you should check it out, the rest is pretty basic.

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