30/12/2006

Experiencing God (by Henry T Blackaby & Claude V King)

'Experiencing God' is a book is by Henry T Blackaby and Claude V King, two American authors who were perhaps reacting against the 'driving' nature of much of the Christian world as they wrote both a 'workbook' and this, a semi-devotional book with subtitle, 'How to live the full adventure of knowing and doing the will of God.'

I read it some years ago, and recently re-read it over a couple of weeks. The overall message is: God wants us primarily to develop a relationship of love with him. When he wants us to do something, he'll let us know one way or another. If we see him working, then chances are that's where he wants us to join him. What we shouldn't do is rush around wearing ourselves out in work - even Christian ministry - unless we're sure God has asked us to do so. When he does ask us to do something, we need to make adjustments and be obedient.

Which, of course, is fine - up to a point. My problems with it are (a) God is doing far more work in the world than any individual can possibly be involved in - we can't simply try to join in anywhere we see God working (b) most of the examples given in the book are of people called to leadership - Moses, Joshua, Paul, Peter, and some famous ministers of more recent years. They were given specific instructions from God - but it seems to me that they were called to ministries beyond that of most of us, so it was important that they did hear very clearly, as they had to abandon preconceived ideas or careers to do what God wanted of them. But most of us aren't called to dramatic ministries, and don't need to do a whole lot of adjusting, although of course the Christian life calls for some changes in our lives at times.

Unlike some of the critics at Amazon I don't think this book is occultic; God certainly speaks other than through Scripture. On the other hand, I didn't find it the greatly thrilling adventure and inspiration that others saw it as. I thought it started reasonably well, but became rather prescriptive and distinctly repetitive.

Worth reading, perhaps, for any Christian who's feeling a bit stale or too caught up in rules and regulations. But don't expect too much of it.

The original book does not seem to be in print any more, although widely available second-hand. There are various versions of the members' guide in print in both the UK and USA, and also a leaders' guide. I personally found the actual book (without questions and discussion points) far more useful than the members' guide, and the two Amazon links should lead to second-hand versions of it. But please check which one you're getting. The front cover looks much the same on them all.

1 comment:

Rick Meigs said...

Hey Sue, thanks for this review and allowing me to comment.

So, one of your issues is that "God is doing far more work in the world than any individual can possibly be involved in." How true and from the context of your statement if would appear that you think that Blackaby thinks we should be involved in every thing we see God doing. Yet, you had just finished saying that what Blackaby contends is that "When [God] does ask us to do something, we need to make adjustments and be obedient."

The point is, you only become involved when invited by God, not when you see him at work someplace. Certain God will not invite you to more than any individual can be involved in.

Experiencing God is a profound work of God calling us all to a missional life -- a life where "the way of Jesus" informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others.

Thanks again Sue!