The Undomesticated Attributes of God
"Matthew Barrett leads us to marvel at both how much and how little we know of God."--Tim Challies, blogger at challies.com; author of Visual Theology
For too long, Christians have domesticated God, bringing him down to our level as if he is a God who can be tamed. But he is a God who is high and lifted up, the Creator rather than the creature, someone than whom none greater can be conceived. If God is the most perfect, supreme being, infinite and incomprehensible, then certain perfect-making attributes must be true of him. Perfections like aseity, simplicity, immutability, impassibility, and eternity shield God from being crippled by creaturely limitations. At the same time, this all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-wise God accommodates himself, exhibiting perfect holiness, mercy, and love as he makes known who he is and how he will save us.
The attributes of God show us exactly why God is worthy of worship: there is none like him. Join Matthew Barrett as he rediscovers these divine perfections and finds himself surprised by the God he thought he knew.
"Matthew Barrett's excellent book lays out in clear, accessible terms what the biblical, historic, ecumenical doctrine of God is, why it matters, and why its abandonment by great swathes of the Protestant world is something that needs correction."--Carl R. Trueman, professor, Grove City College; author of Grace Alone
"Perhaps not since R. C. Sproul has there been a treatment of such deep theology with such careful devotion and accessibility. Read this book. And stagger."--Jared Wilson, director of content strategy, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; managing editor, For the Church; author of The Gospel-Driven Church
"The knowledge of God is the soil in which Christian piety flourishes. I am grateful for the publication of None Greater and pray it will be a source of growth in godliness among those captivated by its vision of God's supremacy."--Scott Swain, president and James Woodrow Hassell Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando; author of Reformed Catholicity
Matthew Barrett is associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of God's Word Alone and Reformation Theology. He is also the executive editor of Credo magazine and the host of the Credo podcast.
Table of Contents
1. Can We Know the Essence of God? Incomprehensibility
2. Can We Think God's Thoughts after Him? How the Creature Should (and Should Not) Talk about the Creator
3. Is God the Perfect Being? Why an Infinite God Has No Limitations
4. Does God Depend on You? Aseity
5. Is God Made Up of Parts? Simplicity
6. Does God Change? Immutability
7. Does God Have Emotions? Impassibility
8. Is God in Time? Timeless Eternity
9. Is God Bound by Space? Omnipresence
10. Is God All-Powerful, All-Knowing, and All-Wise? Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnisapience
11. Can God Be Both Holy and Loving? Righteousness, Goodness, and Love
12. Should God Be Jealous for His Own Glory? Jealousy and Glory
"The mark of a good book on the attributes of God is that it doesn't solve God and doesn't neatly package him and box him up. Rather, it grapples with his immensity, his transcendence, and his incomprehensibility. It leads us to marvel at both how much and how little we know of him. It goes as far as Scripture goes, but no farther. This is just that kind of book, and on that basis I'm glad to recommend it."
Tim Challies, blogger at challies.com; author of Visual Theology
"Perhaps not since R. C. Sproul has there been a treatment of such deep theology with such careful devotion and accessibility. None Greater explores the 'adorable mystery' of God with clarity and wisdom. Read this book. And stagger."
Jared Wilson, director of content strategy, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; managing editor, For the Church; author of Gospel-Driven Church
"Recent years have revealed that while evangelical Protestantism has done good work in defending a sound doctrine of Scripture, it has badly neglected the doctrine of God and at many points wandered away from classical Nicene orthodoxy, under the influence of a blunt, historically ill-informed biblicism. There is thankfully a renewed interest in classical theism among Protestant theologians, but the discussion often seems rarefied to the point where many Christians are confused as to why it is important and what is at stake for the church. Matthew Barrett's excellent book bridges the gap between the professional theologian and the pew, laying out in clear, accessible terms what the biblical, historic, ecumenical doctrine of God is, why it matters, and why its abandonment by great swathes of the Protestant world is something that needs correction."
Carl R. Trueman, professor, Grove City College; author of Grace Alone
"Way back in 1973, J. I. Packer reminded us in his book Knowing God that the greatest need of the evangelical church was to think big thoughts about our Triune God and to know him in all of his perfection, glory, and majesty. Sadly, many in the evangelical church have not heeded Packer's cry to know God, as evangelicals seemingly have become consumed with everything but the glory of God, to the detriment of our spiritual life and health. However, Matthew Barrett has not forgotten Packer's cry to know God. In None Greater, Barrett has given us what the church in our day desperately needs more than anything else--to behold the beauty, glory, self-sufficiency, and sheer otherness of our Triune God, who alone is worthy of our worship, faith, obedience, and service. This book is must reading if the church is going to regain her way and put God first once again. It is a wonderful antidote to shallow theological thinking in our day, and it returns us to ponder anew our undomesticated Creator and Redeemer. In one of the most readable books on the attributes of God I have ever read, Barrett calls us to return to Scripture and to stand on the shoulders of previous theologians who thought deeply about the God of the gospel. If you want to stand firm for the gospel today and to avoid all the fads and errors of our age, take up this book and by it be led to what is life eternal: the knowledge of God in the face of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Stephen Wellum, professor of Christian theology, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author of God the Son Incarnate
"This lively and interesting treatment of the attributes of God will lead readers into a deeper appreciation of the God who alone is worthy of our worship. In a day and age when great confusion reigns as to the nature of God, Barrett brings responsible exegesis together with informed historical awareness of the Great Tradition and wraps the package in a writing style that engages the reader and explains complex matters with a deft touch. This is a fine introduction to the attributes of God that will strengthen faith and help us think more clearly."
Craig Carter, professor of theology, Tyndale University College and Seminary; author of Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition
"Consistent with the classics of Augustine, Aquinas, and Anselm, this book gets to the heart of the question, 'What is God?' With a simple but never simplistic approach, Matthew Barrett unpacks what the Bible says about the character or even the perfections of God. God is beautifully holy, and Barrett reminds us that there is none greater and no one better to know than God. If knowing God is your desire, take up this book and read."
Anthony Carter, lead pastor, East Point Church; author of Black and Reformed and Blood Work
"The knowledge of God is the soil in which Christian piety flourishes. I am grateful for the publication of Matthew Barrett's book None Greater: The Undomesticated Attributes of God and pray it will be a source of growth in godliness among those captivated by its vision of God's supremacy."
Scott Swain, president and James Woodrow Hassell Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary-Orlando; author of Reformed Catholicity
"In an age of frivolities and distractions, we need more books like this! Here is the greatest of all subjects, theology proper, addressed with clarity and precision. Matthew Barrett writes in a way that is accessible and engaging as he explores the attributes of our God. No reader will walk away from this book disappointed. I pray many will devour this book, because it will not only inform their theology but lead to doxology. And the God detailed in these pages is worth worshiping!"
Jason Helopoulos, senior pastor, University Reformed Church; author of The New Pastor's Handbook
"Matthew Barrett is publishing important and edifying material at an astonishing rate. In his latest book he makes accessible a classical treatment of the attributes of God. It is clearly and engagingly written and yet shows the fruit of a great deal of careful theological research and reasoning. Barrett's commitment to the supreme authority of Scripture as God's written Word is apparent on every page. In an age when Christian people have far too often been satisfied with an anemic portrait of the living God, here is a tonic that is sorely needed. Enlarge your view of God by reading this book."
Mark D. Thompson, principal, Moore Theological College
"Deep and powerful currents flow through Barrett's exploration of the doctrine of God. He writes with exegetical rigor, theological precision, and practical insight, all in conversation with some of the church's greatest minds. This book is well worth the time to study who God is and learn that there truly is none greater."
J. V. Fesko, academic dean and professor of systematic and historical theology, Westminster Seminary California; author of Justification
"God created us to know, love, and worship him according to his revelation of himself. One of the greatest challenges to this has always been our idolatrous instinct to reimagine God's character as one we are most comfortable with or that fits best with contemporary sensibilities. This happens when we distort or neglect any attributes of God, and this leads us away from the true, life-giving relationship with our Creator that he intends for us. In None Greater, Matthew Barrett has given us a tremendously helpful and biblical presentation of aspects of God's character that often get left out in our thinking, preaching, and worship. I'm confident that this book will help God's people to know, enjoy, and worship our great and loving King in a more fulfilling and honoring way."
Erik Thoennes, professor of theology and chair of the Department of Undergraduate Theological Studies, Talbot School of Theology / Biola University; author of Godly Jealousy
"This is an important book. The long-standing classic vision of God is being eroded in the contemporary church. Barrett is not a lone voice of protest (he intentionally points us to the best of Christian theology across the ages), but he presents the issues in an accessible form. His writing is engaging and clear throughout. Still, this book will stretch your conception of God. But then any worthwhile book on the doctrine of God should do that, because as Barrett keeps reminding us, God is he whom none greater can be conceived. Yes, Barrett teaches us about God's attributes as well as how they interrelate. But reading this book is not like taking a class; it is much more like a spiritual exercise, even an encounter with the living God. It is like reading an extended hymn of praise. Few will read it without a growing sense of awe. This is a book to read and reread."
Tim Chester, pastor, Grace Church Boroughbridge, UK; faculty member, Crosslands Training; author of Enjoying God
"My sins and fears can all ultimately be traced to an impoverished vision of God. This book is a welcome tonic to me. All the weaknesses and fears of the modern church can be traced to an impoverished vision of God. This book is a necessary tonic. I urge you to read it prayerfully and be confronted with the perfect, infinite, overflowing, trinitarian God, who is love, wisdom, power and grace beyond what we can imagine."
Peter Sanlon, author of Simply God; director of training, The Free Church of England
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