Joshua Ryan Butler is a friend and one of my favorite newer authors. I got to know him after I reviewed his last book The Skeletons in God’s Closet for the Gospel Coalition and ended up loving it.
Well, now he’s back with a follow-up book The Pursuing God: A Reckless, Irrational, Obsessed Love That’s Dying to Bring Us Home. In this book, he tackles the difficult issues like incarnation, atonement, wrath, and the Trinity in order to show that the God of the Gospel really is good, and the gospel really is good news.
Now, I’d typically give you a full review, but I sort of already blurbed it, so I’m just going to share my endorsement and urge you to pick the thing up:
Joshua Ryan Butler is enthralled by the vision of a beautiful God whose goodness goes down deep into his bones and he wants us to share it. Unlike so many today, though, his way of inviting us into that vision is not to paper over the dark stains that mar our popular pictures of God, but to face them head-on. In The Pursuing God, Butler sets out to restore a portrait of the biblical gospel of God’s incarnate, crucified, and risen Son, correcting our worst caricatures of sacrifice and atonement, and revealing the glory of the triune God who has been relentlessly seeking to restore us to himself.
Honestly, this is one of those books I’m sort of bummed I didn’t get to write myself. That said, I’m also glad Josh did. He’s got a way with images and metaphors that flip things on their head and show you that all the stuff in Christianity that we’re tempted to do away with are actually what we need most.
Also, I have to say, I was extremely impressed with the way he was able to take some of the best, recent scholarship on the issue of wrath, judgement, and penal substitution, and present it in a non-academic, life-giving way, without selling you short theologically. This is probably now my favorite, popular-level book on the subject to date, and I think it’s the place to start if you’re either having trouble with these issues, or are looking to preach to those who do.
Buy it. Read it. Get copies for your friends and family and you’ll have birthdays and Christmas covered for the next 6 months.
But in case none of this has sold you, yet, Alastair and I had Josh on the podcast to chat about the book. I hope this whets your appetite to pick it up.
Soli Deo Gloria