“Why would we publish a mostly negative review of a popular book that other discriminating reviewers have praised—a book that is likely to introduce new readers to the Puritans? Because at the end of the day, the book’s problems outweigh its benefits. The imbalanced view of Christ’s human character would be trouble enough. But Ortlund’s view of the divine character is the deal breaker—God as internally conflicted, moved by complex passions. Again, that idea is a dangerous and significant departure from classic theism.”
(Jeremiah Johnson – Grace to You) Where do you look for enduring comfort and security? The past twelve months [now almost three] have been a stark reminder that there is none to be found in this world. We’ve seen firsthand that nothing can guarantee our financial stability or physical health. In fact, the only constants seem to be chaos and corruption, as we languish under leaders that alternate between ineptitude and outright evil. It’s clear that we need a source of hope from outside this hopeless world.
In that same span of time, a book purportedly offering true comfort and security has taken the Christian world by storm. Dane Ortlund’s Gentle and Lowly has enjoyed immense popularity and near-universal praise. It was named The Gospel Coalition’s “Popular Theology” book of the year, the “Accessible Theology” book of the year by WORLD Magazine, and the ACBC Biblical Counseling book of the year. It was the consensus pick across most year-end lists. This runaway bestseller dominates study groups, Christian book clubs, and personal reading plans throughout the church. It’s possible—perhaps even likely—that you received a copy as a gift this past Christmas. A few people whose opinions we value highly (and generally agree with) have strongly recommended the book and given it five-star reviews. But we think it deserves a little more critical scrutiny.
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