In Adoring God by Keith Knell we get a look at the true attributes of God. We all have a concept of who God is, whether it’s an old man in a white robe on a cloud, or a loving father, or the judge of sinners. Keith Knell, however, asks us to reassess who we think God is. Relying heavily on Scripture — the most reliable source for information about God — he walks readers through God’s many attributes, separating the myths and misconceptions from what the Bible says. He reminds us not to make the error of seeing God as having human attributes because we are made in His image and not the other way around.
As Keith states early in the book, “Ultimately, my goal in this book is not to teach you how to read and understand the Bible better, but for you to get to know God better, to understand Him more fully and love Him more deeply.” Keith wants us to reread the Bible, asking ourselves in the process, “What does this passage reveal about God?” After all, Keith points out, “The Bible is primarily about God unveiling and revealing parts of who He is!”
Keith then walks us through the attributes of God, devoting chapters to such topics as God’s holiness, His truth, how He is unchanging, and how He is merciful. But Keith also makes us realize that the Bible is not always presenting us with a loving God who will forgive us and only let people like Hitler burn in Hell. For me, the most rewarding and challenging parts of Adoring God were these chapters where Keith looks at some of the seemingly harsher aspects of God’s character, including His jealousy and His wrath. Relying heavily upon Scripture, Keith shows how these aspects of God’s character are not contradictory but righteous and part of God’s overall perfection.
The result is a very eye-opening portrait of God that can result not only in increased love and devotion toward God but also facing some hard truths for the reader—truths that even Keith has struggled with, as clear from the Contemplations sections that end each chapter. In these sections, the reader can pray to God and ask for insight and better understanding. One such Contemplation reads:
Wow. It boggles my mind to think that You don’t consider what we would think of as ‘the right thing to do.’ You considered what You wanted, and did it. And that made it right. Now that’s supremacy. You are what is ‘right.’ I don’t have to spend time arguing with myself over whether something You chose to do was right or not. It is a given. It was right because You decreed it. How unsearchable are Your judgments and unfathomable Your ways!
Another point Keith makes that many Christians today may try to ignore is that God is wrathful:
Many people don’t believe God is wrathful at all…. And some who agree with the truth that God is wrathful, nevertheless make excuses for Him or feel the need to apologize for this part of who He is. Some think that if He was wrathful, then that was the ‘Old God,’ long ago from the Old Testament past, and that He has changed, matured.
Keith goes on to explain that God is wrathful, but He is just and righteous in being so. Furthermore, Keith denies the modern notion that God can mature or evolve. He quotes the Puritan writer Stephen Charnock to support this point. Charnock says, “What comfort would it be to pray to a god that, like the chameleon, changed color every moment? Who would put up a petition to an earthly prince that was so mutable as to grant a petition one day, and deny it another?”
In other words, God is not like you and me. Once we move past that faulty view, we can discover who He truly is, as reflected in Scripture, and as highlighted in this book.
In addition to the main text, Keith quotes many theological giants to support his points. Those writers include A.W. Pink, Thomas Watson, John Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards, to name just a few.
Perhaps most impressively, the book is a superior example of Bible scholarship. There are over 500 footnotes, most listing multiple Bible verses, not only to back up Keith’s statements, but more importantly, to be further reading for the person who truly wants to explore and understand the various attributes of God. Keith asks that people not just read the book, but that they spend a week on each chapter, praying over its message and meditating on the many verses cited. I believe this process would be very beneficial and turn a reading experience into a deeply spiritual one.
In the end, Keith hopes that the result of reading this book will verify the Scripture statement, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). Whether you are currently a nonbeliever, an active Christian, or somewhere in the middle, Adoring God will give you much food for thought and, ultimately, I believe it will deepen your understanding and relationship with God in surprising and gratifying ways.
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