One of the most reassuring truths for a Christian is that in God’s world, God is sovereign. He is in active control of the world he made. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in God’s plan of salvation. Were it not for God’s intervention in our lives, we would be lost both now and for all eternity. These moments of God’s gracious intervention are often marked in Scripture by the two words ‘but God’.
Here in this second volume, Tony Bennett takes a further thirty-one Scripture texts that contain the phrase ‘but God’—or, more often in the New Testament, ‘but Jesus’—and demonstrates, as Martyn Lloyd-Jones once put it, how ‘these two words, in and of themselves, in a sense contain the whole gospel.’
The two-word title is, of course, straight from Scripture, which is the key to this good book. It speaks of God’s sovereignty and so gives us confidence in what he says, comfort in our suffering, correction in our behaviour and causes us to worship. These and other consequences of these two words form a thread through this book. Also implied in these two words is a healthy warning about human logic and encouragement to find God’s perspective. When we grasp this, we will get a thrill from reading this book. The author communicates well: biblically and with an easy but thorough writing and reading skill. The messages are very much gospel centred and the author is faithful to the context. The book frequently brought a smile to my face and a song to my heart. There are 31 chapters, which gives an important clue as to how to use the book. They can be read in a normal continuous manner, but each chapter demands a time for thought and cogitation. The author helps in this by giving further reading references and points for reflection. Probably the best way to get fed is by reading a chapter a day. The reader will be blessed and will want to come back to the book again. Thank you, Mr Bennett.
This book is a collection of 31 short chapters (every one limited to six pages) each expounding a text containing the words “But God . . .” or a near equivalent. The idea is not a new one, and Tony Bennett acknowledges a debt to preachers who have used it in the past. But he has certainly taken it further than anyone else. He also isolates two or three thoughts from each chapter, along with verses from a familiar hymn, for further reflection. Bennett is an earnest evangelist as well as a skilled communicator, and these mini–sermons make good reading. His theology is Reformed, although his quotes and illustrations are drawn from a wide variety of sources. It is a weakness that the chapters follow a strictly consecutive Biblical order, giving the whole book a slightly disjointed feel. If the author had grouped the chapters under a few subject headings (for example God’s attributes, the person and work of Christ, providence, faith/unbelief, right conduct and the Christian hope) the book would, in the reviewer’s opinion, have had more coherence.
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