Fear God and Love God: The God Who Smokes

Scandalous Meditations on Faith
The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith

I am continually grateful for  The Discerning Reader, which “is a site dedicated to promoting good books — books that bring honor to God” and “to help Christians avoid being unduly influenced by books and teachers that are not honoring to God.” Thanks to Tim Challies for the site and all who review books there.

A book that I have been interested in since I first heard the title was Timothy Stoner’s “The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith.” Reviewed recently by Trevin Wax, who blogs at Kingdom People, Discerning Reader gives “The God Who Smokes” its recommendation. From the review:

Timothy J. Stoner acknowledges the validity of many of the concerns raised by those in the Emerging Church. But unlike some in the Emerging movement, Stoner is able to address these concerns without abandoning historic Christian convictions.

His book, The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith, is thoroughly enjoyable on a number of levels. First, it is very well-written. Secondly, it uses humor as a way to communicate serious truths. And best of all, Stoner uses personal stories to help him make his case.

Wax continues in his review, stressing that it is not an attack on the emerging movement but rather a clarification:

Stoner’s negative view of Emergent does not lead him to bash those who advocate Emerging theology. In fact, he appreciates many aspects of the Emerging conversation.

But Stoner believes the Emerging movement ultimately delivers reductionistic picture of God. He worries that the Emerging Church downplays the wrath of God and leads to a lopsided vision of God that ignores essential aspects of his character.

“We are not only invited guests but the blushing Bride. And our Groom is a heroic King, a mighty warrior who is good and just and stunning in his beauty. He is so full of passion and blazing emotion that he burns – and yes, smokes in the ferocity of his infinite, holy love that compelled him to give it all away for his Bride. And he who gave it all for us is worth giving ourselves completely to.”

So we worship a God who smokes – a God whose passionate jealousy for the glory of his own name is an integral aspect of his glorious love for creation.

This sounds like it will be a good book perhaps more along the lines of Mark Driscoll than, say, Donald Miller or Rob Bell.