Book Review: Small Faith—Great God
By: N. T. Wright
Publisher: InterVarsity Press ISBN: 9780830838332
I’ve read quite a few works from N. T. Wright; I have no less than nine of his books in my personal library. I’ve been so caught up in some of the grand works he has published in the last dozen years I wasn’t even aware of this (by comparison) smaller book, Small Faith—Great God. This copy is actually a second edition reprint published in 2010 from a first edition originally published in 1978. I think I can say without reservation, this has been among my favorite books by Wright. This seems odd to me, that I would like it as much or more than some of the more recent works and even more odd that I was unaware of its existence until the reprint. I suppose that means I might not be as big a fan of Bishop Wright as I thought I was…
I think what I enjoyed so much about Small Faith—Great God was the “bite-sized” morsels of big thoughts about our faith in its relationship to a very Great God. Much of my experience with N. T. Wright has been deep theology that I’ve had to really think on. In some cases, with some of his works, I’ve had to read a few extra books in order to understand background context. This was not the case with Small Faith—Great God. I found this refreshing; especially since the deep theology of the book was not compromised. The conversation of the book was approachable and invited prolonged meditation on the ideas presented without being weighted down or having to go back to reread portions several times for understanding. I think what I’m trying to say here is that the book was as intriguing and engaging for the person who is not steeped in theological academics as it may be for the academic.
Another element of the work that I enjoyed was its boldness. There was no ambiguity of position for what Dr. Wright portends. The gloves were off from the first chapter of the book with statements like the one that follows:
“Christian faith—biblical faith—is not a matter of putting a brave face on things and trying our best. It is a matter of looking away from ourself and seeing the world as God sees it, as it really is…Creation is saying ‘Amen.’ The church bows down and worships. These are the facts. The question of faith is whether we stop eaves dropping and join in the song.” (p. 22-23)
That same bold spirit pervades the entire book; from part one, Faith in a Great God, to part two, Faith to Live and Love, and to completion with part three, Faith to Walk in the Dark. This is how the book is divided; three parts, describing faith as a much bigger view of God than we are used to and then our active role and mission within the context of that faith view… and ultimately a faith that perseveres on the hope of promises that will be fulfilled by our Great God.
It is a great and easily digested little book. It has made me hungry to go back to some of the more recent books and read them again. If you’re an N. T. Wright fan… or not, you won’t be disappointed with this read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Intervarsity Press to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”