"Simply God" by Rick Richards

Rick Richards. Simply God. Westbow Press, 2011. 192 pgs. 

The description of this book promises to discuss the difference between convincing people and equipping people. It is supposed to be about seeing and knowing God, making these things our priorities. That is, what we need is simply God. These are, in themselves, excellent points. We do need God more than anything, and we ought to be equipped, not just convinced, to live well. You will not find that here. Unfortunately, Simply God is actually a long, unedited, unorganized, mostly unhelpful, self published book that needed, but clearly did not get, a lot of help. 

Something in the very preface of this book made me uncomfortable. As I finished reading it I had to stop and consider what it might be. I wasn't sure, so I reread it more carefully. There it was, clear as day, in the first lines. Richards claims that this book "was inspired by our Father so that all his children would know how much he loves them and wants to encourage them. My part was listening and collecting his thoughts. As for me, I am just a messenger." Don't misunderstand. I believe God does indeed reveal Himself, and it is certainly possible for us to receive a message from Him. But this claim, at the outset of any book, is huge. The last person who made such a claim was Jesus Christ. He was sent to reveal how much God loves us, and he didn't write a book to accomplish this, he died for our sins. As for the model of inspiration and revelation implied in these sentences... well, it gets worse. Phrases like: "while spending time with my Father, I can blot out my perceptions and let him roam and control my thoughts as I write" are not uncommon. In fact, after about chapter 10 they are all too frequent. 

In chapter 14, we have New King James scripture reorganized and quoted (yes, the entire chapter, the longest one in the book, is just this) and Richards claims God is the one who lined them up. Implicit in this idea is the fact that we understand scripture if we just read it open to the Holy Spirit, no matter the context, or original meaning and setting. This is ridiculous... If God had wanted us to have a book like that, I suppose he could have given it to us. Instead he gave us a bible which provides us with an entirely different horizon of understanding by virtue of it being from a different time, place, and culture than our own. It takes effort and the proper tools, still under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to read the bible well. Perhaps this is what was wrong with the whole book... Maybe Richards prayed and read and then, in all sincerity, wrote. If so, that would certainly explain his more egregious mistakes (such as claiming that Paul was a Roman soldier who killed Christians for the government, or that there are no differences in God's creation, or that reinterpreting Genesis for other than 24 hour days would be to strip the word of God of its power). Whether this is what Richards did or not, this is a terrible book. 

Conclusion: 0 Stars. Not Recommended. How can I say more? Terrible. 

Book provided through Booksneeze for review. 

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