Book Review – The God of Yes

I’m going to be straight with you: I did not finish this book. Generally I will not review a book until I have read it from cover-to-cover, but in this case I just couldn’t do it. I got about two thirds of the way through and had to call it quits. It wasn’t that the book was so heretical I just couldn’t take it anymore (though there were a few theological problems) and it wasn’t that it was poorly written. The foremost problem with this book, and the one that finally caused me just to put it down, is the author’s (David Edwards) sense of humor.

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The author has a very immature, sarcastic sense of humor and he seems to feel the need to put it on display on every page. You can open the book to almost any page and find some dumb comment that is supposed to be funny. I’ll give a few examples:

…the object of playing the game, of course, is winning (unless you’re the Dallas Cowboys).

What is born is something you’re still trying to make sense of (like those recurring monthly VISA charges and the Ab Doer in your closet that really doesn’t).

You may be saying to yourself (if you are, please don’t move your mouth – that really looks crazy).

Now for the flip side (Sorry for the reference to records – you know, those black vinyl disks that were once used to play back music?)

I dated a girl with so many personalities, she formed her own softball team. When I finally talked her into going to therapy, the doctor charged her group rates.

You get the idea. Incidentally, those last three were all taken from the same page! The entire book (or at least the first two thirds since that is all I could bear reading) is like that. He makes a point and then tries to make us laugh. It’s obnoxious and just wore me right out. And as you can see, the standard construct is: make a point, open bracket, add obnoxious statement, close bracket, continue.

Beyond the humor, there is still a book. The author, who labels himself an “itinerant, postmodern pastor” tries to convince the reader that he will help him discover a God of infinte hope, of unlimited possibilities, of eternal yes. Whatever that means. I think his thesis is that our perception of our world influences our perception of God, and then out perception of God influences the way we experience God. We must, then, have a right view of God in order to be able to experience Him properly. He then frames knowing God in the context of some of the covenants He made with various people or groups in the Bible.

The author seems to have been influenced by John Eldredge. “[God] willingly made Himself a prisoner of His own affections for us. His affections compel Him to do everything possible to pursue us and win us back to His heart.” That sounds like a direct quote from The Sacred Romance! Edwards also tells us that God doesn’t control every detail of the world – He doesn’t micromanage but “leads people with the power of choice.” We also find out that “If God’s plans are indelibly printed and incapable of being changed, we potentially could make one too many wrong choices and get to the point where it’s impossible for God to bring us back in like with His purpose. Here’s the truth: God’s purpose never changes, but His plans to accomplish His purpose are completely flexible.” He then tells us that when God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to “Let My people go,” He really was waiting for Pharaoh’s response. “There were ten plagues because of Pharaoh’s hard heart, not because God was following a script that would one day make a good movie.” Where I come from we call this open theism – God knew the possibilities, He just didn’t know which Pharaoh would choose. Of course the Bible tells us that God Himself hardened Pharaoh’s heart several times, which would seem to indicate He had a pretty good idea that Pharaoh would reject God’s command.

Now the book isn’t all bad. There is, for example, some good teaching about God confronting the sin in our lives. There is also value in learning that we are to live in agreement with God, not trying to conform God to what we want Him to be. The problem is, there is as much bad teaching as good.

The fact is, this book is a mess. It’s poorly written and contains some pretty awful theology. If the editor had just gone through and removed most of those sarcastic attempts at humor, the book would at least have been readable. But it just isn’t. If you are really looking for a book to guide you into a more accurate view of God, pick up something by John MacArthur or R.C. Sproul. At least they understand God and have a solid grasp of theology. Needless to say, I don’t recommend The God of Yes.