Thursday, September 9, 2010

The God who Smokes by Timothy J. Stoner

The God Who Smokes by Timothy J. Stoner reflects the irony of God's powerful traits which are often overlooked, dismissed and watered down by many of today's modern and emerging a.k.a "Emergent"/ "Emerging", Christian churches. Nevertheless just as God, is the God of peace and love, He is also the God of justice, as well as a warring God against injustice, lies and evil. Hence, the unique title chosen for the book.   Many modernists within so many Christian churches don't like to see this side of God, and thereby simply dismiss it as old fashioned, and intolerant.

Stoner fluently uses biblical passages to illustrate the many facets of God's personality and the message of salvation. Modern society and culture erroneously portrays God as a kind, sweet, dismissive, quaint, old grandmother who excuses away the misdoings and so-called mistakes of mankind.  There is no such thing as sin in today's society and many churches as well, for that matter.  The author points out the deadly error of relativism and ambiguity.  Essentially, man made ideas as well as half-truths are conisdered to be deadly lies that disregard or conceal the words of Jesus- the truth of salvation.

The modern push towards relatavisnm, prevelant in many churches can not be denied! Even essentials to faith and salvation are up for debate or second guessed.  The prevelant question in modern churches is whether one can reject Jesus, follow other paths and still be saved.  For many Emergent modern, relativisitc churches, that claim to be Christian,  the answer is a resounding- yes! This put countless sincere, yet misguided people in grave danger.   Timothy Stoner responds that the answer is "No", that there are not multiple paths to salvation! How is he so sure? It is because the bible- as well as the words of Jesus- tell us so.  The author makes the distinction between essential truths and the message of salvation from secondary issues of theology.  For example, the length of time it took for God to complete the creation of the world, charasmatic gifts of the Holy Spirit, or the specific timeline of events that will occur in the Tribulation or end-times are secondary issues.  But Jesus as being the truth and the way to salvation is not up for debate- it is an essential fact of Salvation.  Just as Jesus himself was blunt, not caring about political correctness when it came to matters of Salvation, the Church as well, needs to be firm and blunt just as Jesus and just as the bible message. Jesus never watered down the truth even when it offended or upset his listeners. "Not every religious disagreement is a matter of life or death.  But- and here is the big but- some are." P. 45

This book is written in a way to appeal to today's generation of post modern parishiners and readers.  It does not comprimise on truth of the bible to gain the acceptance or approval of the reader.   Nevertheless, it is written with humor and sensitivity as well- speaking out powerfully to today's generation. It brings to life the words of Jesus using modern day analogies. This book points out the dangerous error of many post modern as well as Emergent churches. As a blogger of Navpress I recieved a copy of this book for the purpose of writing a review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

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