Nearer To God: Closing The Distance Between You And Your Creator, by Wayman Ming Jr.
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
In theory, this is the sort of book that is easy enough to understand. There are a great number of people who desire intimacy with God and find the gap the exists between God and professed believers to be intense and well worth bridging. In light of the culture that we live in, it is entirely easy to understand the desire for personal revival and peace in light of the problems that our contemporary age faces. People have a longing to go deeper and shake up the comfortable nature of their habits and patterns of worship, and again, in theory there is nothing wrong with that. Where this book sometimes stumbles is in the gap between the author’s desire to go deeper and the fact that he is not really a deep person himself, nor does he really appear to understand the Bible very deeply. What results is a fair amount of sloganeering as well as attempts to make the Bible and God relevant by using contemporary language and analogies with technology as a way to stay hip but without maintaining the solid scriptural knowledge that one needs.
That is not to say that this book is not without value. The subject matter of the book is very worthwhile. It is certainly a good thing that people would desire to progress in their spiritual lives and shake up their comfortable habits, although I am by no means hostile to comfortable habits, it must be admitted. It would be worthwhile for us to ponder, as is insufficiently pondered, that in the Bible a great many of those who were offered greater intimacy to God rejected the offer because God’s holiness, and God’s demands for obedience, were too much to take. And the uniform response of believers to the presence of God and the intimacy of God was a concern for their own well-being in light of their flawed nature. One of the reasons the author demonstrates his lack of depth as a writer is failing to understand that it is our sins that separate us from God, and that God has always longed to be nearer to us, it is just we that are terrified to be close to Him in light of our own awareness of our fallen and imperfect state, if we have any self-knowledge at all.
Isn’t it interesting that this author tried to use technology to develop the concept of intimacy? Scripture describes the latter days as a time when knowledge increases but wisdom declines. It’s as though people use technology to do their thinking for them. It is technology that has created a virtual reality; a fake intimacy that imitates closeness without touching. A person can be whoever or whatever he or she wants behind the screen and live a vicarious life–and no one is the wiser on the other side. They bond with what they know about the other, but is it real? Or is it just another sad phishing story?
Yes, that is definitely an issue. I found it puzzling that the author made such a use of technology, as one could easily argue about the falseness of much intimacy on social media when one strips away the hype.
We can play those games with each other, but no one gets away with it when it comes to God.
That’s certainly true.