Foundations: No.78 Spring 2020

Book Reviews

The Identity and Attributes of God

Terry L. Johnson, Banner of Truth, 2019, 352pp, £21.21 h/b (Amazon)

“We need to study about God because thoughts about God are inescapable, and errant thoughts about God are inevitable” asserts Terry Johnson (5). Knowing God is the primary vocation of God’s people; and we must of course distinguish between knowing about God and knowing God, to which our garnered knowledge must lead.

In fifteen chapters Johnson takes us through the doctrines of the Trinity, God’s attributes, his work as Creator and Preserver, as righteous judge and justifier. He discusses God’s goodness, the “captain attribute” according to Stephen Charnock (242) and concludes with three heart-warming chapters on the love of God, its transforming power and our responsibility not only to reciprocate God’s love but to replicate it in our lives.

This is more than a book about the doctrine of God. It is deliberately a representation of the classical doctrine as treated especially by the Puritans and is therefore enriched with quotations from them, their predecessors and successors. It is an introduction to the doctrine of God but pastorally and indeed, in places, evangelistically applied. The seasoned reader may wish for a little more detail at times – for example on topics of some contemporary debate such as subordinationism (38) or God’s impassibility (81), but Johnson is not setting out to deal with contemporary controversies. This is an edifying introduction for any Christian and an uplifting refresher for the more experienced.

Read it. You will find it a delight. Give it as a gift. It will help any conscientious reader to know God better.

Mostyn Roberts
Pastor, Welwyn Evangelical Church


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