Timothy Johnson is a physician, minister and journalist. He perhaps is best known as the medical editor for ABC News. Finding God in the Questions recounts his attempt to come to grips with his faith and its implications for his life.
Johnson frames the book around three great questions: Does God exist; what is God like; what difference does it make? As he works through the questions, he outlines current scientific thought in regard to cosmology, quantum physics, evolution and the nature of humanity. In addition, Johnson tackles the relevance of religion and the Bible, the overall thrust of Jesus’ teachings and the identity of Jesus. He argues for the possibility of design in creation, the importance of the Bible when carefully interpreted and the critical role of Jesus in shaping one’s priorities. Finally, Johnson sketches how he believes faith should shape our lives and confesses his decision to “bet on God.”
Many Christian readers will applaud some of Johnson’s conclusions such as his belief in the resurrection of Jesus, the unique revelation of God through Jesus and the benefits of following Jesus. Others will appreciate his grasp of science and acceptance of diversity.
While acknowledging that some may well find their way to God by means of an intellectual acceptance of Jesus, Johnson argues that most of us would do better to start by following Jesus as best we see to do. His deep conviction is that those who attempt to follow Jesus in even the smallest ways will be led over time into a genuine relationship with God.
To his credit, Johnson is not content to end the book without declaring the difference his conclusions make in his personal life. He declares his belief that following Jesus requires that one invest in personal ministry among “the least of these.”
As he puts it, “I have decided…to rearrange my life so that I have much more time than I do now to give in direct service to those in need.” Making such a declaration in print requires courage from a public figure, both with reference to the immediate reaction of friends and colleagues and the ongoing scrutiny of society. Johnson’s willingness to take such a risk is praiseworthy, and most readers will come away from the book with respect for his integrity.
Johnson’s humility is refreshing in an era when many religious and public figures act as if all matters can be settled in a brief sound bite. While he thinks his selected questions are the most important ones, he accepts that not all persons of good will agree with him. He is able to empathize with and understood those who arrive at conclusions that differ from his own.
The book should appeal to a wide audience. Persons inclined to accept truth wherever it may be found will be helped by Johnson’s treatment of science, Scripture, Jesus and the meaning of faithful living. Pastors, campus ministers and lay leaders will find the book useful for sparking small-group discussions or as a source of general information.
The book’s most enduring contribution may be to serve as an example of how to think clearly and honestly about faith in a complicated world.
Order Finding God in the Questions from Amazon.com.