Website of Dr. John K. LaShell
One of the primary purposes of a Foreword is to suggest briefly why the book should be read. With John LaShell’s The Beauty of God for a Broken World, that is a very easy task. You should speed-read this Foreword in order to get quickly to the book itself.
John perceptively, graciously and accurately describes questions we all—whether Christian or not—have about the world in which we live.
If God is so good and loving, why did He command the ethnic cleansing of Canaan?
Was God asleep when the December 2004 tsunami wiped out over 100,000 people, or when an earthquake in Haiti killed or injured hundreds of thousands more?
Is He on vacation every time a frustrated mother drowns her children?
These are uncomfortable questions but they are also real, and John superbly crafts his book to show responsible, Christ-honoring answers. He has written a remarkably practical book.
John utilizes the biblical and theological insights of America’s (and perhaps the world’s) greatest theologian—Jonathan Edwards—in building toward those answers. Edwards’s discussions of the beauty and the love of God, while profound and biblical and directly relevant to the questions mentioned above, can seem dauntingly theoretical to many readers. But John has made Edwards plain, and he has done so without distorting what Edwards taught (and lived).
One of the best aspects of this book is the way in which John offers multiple examples to help us understand the complex matters involved. Algebra, romantic love, human blood, a toddler banging on a piano, monarch butterflies, September 11, twins named Bart and Brent, John’s telephone number when he was a child in California and many other such examples bring “giraffe food” down to the place where rabbits can feast. And what a feast it is!
Beginning with the hard questions of everyday life, John moves smoothly through the complex theology of Edwards and brings us to see the beautiful and loving God whom both Jonathan and John would want us to worship. At the very end, after quoting a magnificent passage in Habakkuk 3: 17-19, John concludes with these words:
God granted Habakkuk such a vision of His greatness, goodness and glory that his aching heart was satisfied—no, more than satisfied. To skip like a deer on the mountains when all you hold dear on this earth has been taken away is incomprehensible to the heart that has not seen the Lord. Pray earnestly then, Lord, show me your beauty.
This book shows the beauty of the Lord.
Dr.Samuel T. Logan, Jr.
Former Professor of Church History, President and Chancellor of Westminster Theological Seminary