Saturday, August 31, 2019

Book: Into His Presence

And…I’m back in the book review business. I have let the blog basically go to see for the past year or so, and as a result have actually slipped up on some reviews that I owed—which I hope to fulfill, even if I’m now no longer in those review programs—and left several review programs due to lack of time and interest. Fortunately, my collapse coincided with a hiatus on the part of Kregel Academic and Ministry’s blog review program, so I didn’t lose my opportunity to write for them. I have yet to encounter a bad Kregel Academic work, so I am quite happy about this.

Today, we’ll take a look at my review copy of Into His Presence: A Theology of Intimacy with God by Tim Anderson. (The link will take you to Kregel’s page where you can read an excerpt, order the book, or see other reviews on Goodreads.) Anderson is a professor at Corban University, where he teaches theology and biblical studies. He also, as many theology professors do in the evangelical traditions, serves in various ministry programs including international ministry training programs.
Into His Presence is presented as a “Theology of Intimacy with God.” That is a tall order to meet, and Anderson begins rightly by working to define what “intimacy with God” actually is. His basic working definition is “the movement of God and Christians toward a good place of true knowledge and close contact.”  This works as a starting point, and then the rest of the work builds out this description.

Each chapter ends with a section labeled “Now What?” that provides questions to contemplate what the reader has seen and consider where the next step in exploring intimacy with God lies. These are open-ended questions, there are no right/wrong answers. (Well, I’m sure you could go far, far wrong on some of the questions. But it’s not a multiple-choice type of question.)

I found that Anderson hit a great balance between the academic examination of theology and the practical, spiritual engagement of personal intimacy with God. I found his examination of personification helpful, looking at how God uses comparisons with things we understand. That helped clarify some questions about areas of Scripture.

The final chapter, looking at our “songs of intimacy,” provides some good questions for worship planning in churches. It is focused on the specific type of song referring to intimacy, and it is not critical of modern music but rather challenges us to think through the adequacies of the music we choose to sing, no matter the age.

I can gladly recommend Tim Anderson’s Into His Presence for those desiring to understand intimacy with God better.
Book provided by Kregel Academic.

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