Through the Booksneeze.com bloggers review program I received a copy of “A Conversation with God” by Alton Gansky. In this book Gansky asks 55 questions that people might ask of God and then proceeds to answer them on the Father’s behalf. Actually, he uses several biblical characters to answer these questions. In the pages of the book you will hear from such notables as Abraham, David, Job, Peter, John, Paul, and Jesus among others.
Overall, I thought the concept of the book was interesting. It’s a clever way to learn biblical theology but I think the effort falls short on several fronts.
First, the subtitle is” “If You Could Ask God Any Question, What Would It Be?” Out of the 55 questions posed by the author there were more than a few that I doubt very many people are really asking. Questions like #8: “God, why were you different in the Old Testament?” or #31: “God, do we have to die to be citizens of Your kingdom?” or #10: “Is nature the sixty-seventh book of the Bible?” I mean, how many people (even Christians) really know that there are 66 books of the Bible? Question #43 seems like a softball question: “Why are there two sexes?” Really? Who asks that?
Second, I was disappointed with the bible translations used. The list of translations includes the CEV, NIV, HCSB, NKJV, NASB, and the NLT. Nothing wrong with any of these fine translations but I think if you’re targeting a group of people that may be asking basic questions of the faith that you might want to avoid using words like ‘beseech’ (p. 81, Matt 9.37-38 NASB).
Third, while I didn’t find any of the theology to be questionable, I cringe when I see trite explanations and cliche’s. Statements like “Atonement means “at-one-ment” (p. 131) or the word justified means “just-as-if-I’d-never-sinned” (p.125). I think we can do better.
Finally, I found the literary technique of writing in the first person for each character a little tiresome. Personally, I don’t need to read a description as if it is Jesus or the Holy Spirit or Abraham actually speaking. I thought it detracted from the book and was quite distracting as well. Alton Gansky is an award-winning author of Christian fiction. Perhaps he prefers to let characters speak directly to the reader.
So while the concept of asking questions of God is a good one, and the answers that Gansky gives are accurate, I did not enjoy reading “A Conversation With God” and would not recommend it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”