UK Christian Bookshops Directory: Christian Book Reviews: How Does God Guide?
How Does God Guide? How Does God Guide?
Help to discern God's will for your life

Derek Tidball
ISBN 9781857926880 (1857926889)
Christian Focus, 2001

Category: Christian Life & Discipleship

Reviewing a book written by your employer is a risky business, perhaps doubly so when your job is to sell that book: say only good things and the reader's response is likely to be "He has to say that" - but say the wrong thing and - well, let's not go down that road. For me, as one whose sense of God's guidance has been turned upsidedown several times, this was a fascinating read.

My wife, Sue, and I went to LBC in the early 1990's, exploring my sense of vocation to Christian ministry: we left with Sue recommended for ordination to the Anglican priesthood and me in limbo. Had I misread the map, misunderstood God's plan for my life?

Derek, not surprisingly, takes us back to the Bible for a close look at this very issue. He argues that the common assumption amongst Evangelicals that "God has a wonderful plan for your life" is not biblically based. Neither is the other common notion that you'll know you're "in the will of the Lord" when you feel at peace about your decisions.

Nor should we be dealing out decontextualised verses to ourselves that tell us what we want to hear. If scripture is the Word of God then we have the mind of Christ and should be reading it intelligently.

A number of case studies make Derek's point: biblical characters and contemporary Christian attitudes are examined. The idea of "laying out a fleece" is taken apart and reassembled. Issues of employment, marriage and vocation each merit a chapter to themselves, as does the question of guidance to the local church as a Christian community rather than individuals.

So to the question: how does God guide? No magical formulae here - the key, Derek asserts, is in our relationship with God. "We must learn to walk with him."

Phil Groom, February 2002

Phil Groom is this site's Webmaster and Reviews Editor. He's a freelance blogger, writer and web developer who spent ten years managing the bookshop at London School of Theology alongside eight years writing web reviews for Christian Marketplace magazine before he came to his senses and went independent. You can find him on facebook or follow him on twitter @notbovvered.

Previously published by London School of Theology. Reused here by kind permission.

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