Book Review: The One True God, by Paul David Washer
In the Christian life, progress is ultimately made through learning. We do not become better Christians by pursuing good works which are divorced from an increasing understanding of God; but rather, our good works increase, by the power of the Spirit, as we grow in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why, as we seek to grow in grace and to disciple other believers, especially those who are new to the faith, it is of first concern that we strive to do so by pursuing a biblical understanding of who God is, and how he relates to man. The One True God, by Paul Washer, puts feet to that concept. It is perhaps the best basic disciple-making tool on the doctrine of God that I have come across, and will be one of my first recommendations to new believers. Because of the following three characteristics, in particular, I find this workbook highly commendable:
1. It is thorough in its scope, well-structured in its progression, and penetrating in its discussion and analysis. As Washer wonders from the beginning, â€œHow can any man or angel write a workbook about God? It would be an easier task to count every star in heaven.â€ And yet, the amazing fact is that God has both provided an inexhaustible supply of self-revelation for us in the bible, and he allows, in fact demands of us that we search it out, proclaim it abroad, rejoice in it as great treasure. Washer's treatment is characterized by just such a broad and careful use of scriptures as the sobering enormity of the task demands â€“ he searches out and compares the great truths about God from every part of scripture, and he takes pains not to misunderstand or distort any of those truths.
2. It requires thoughtful interaction. This is not just a series of lectures or a compendium of scriptural truths. It consistently asks pointed questions to the student, and directs him to the right scripture passages for answering those questions. It provides many helpful exegetical and applicational notes, but it also expects the reader to do his own study and meditation, and to record his growing knowledge in the spaces provided. This book cannot be gone through profitably by a half-hearted student. But neither can the Christian race be run successfully by a half-hearted runner.
3. It is worshipful, reverent, and applicational. This study is anything but a dry theological treatise. And that is fitting, because theology â€“ the truth we may learn by God's gracious condescension about the one true God of heaven â€“ is anything but dry and boring. Frightening? Yes. Thrilling? Yes. But boring? Absolutely not. Throughout the entire bible, whenever God reveals his glorious nature to men, it is with the expectation that they will be affected by that revelation, and will use their precious knowledge for joyful worship, fearful reverence, wondering awe. Washer has indeed been so affected by the knowledge of God, and the result, in his workbook, is an atmosphere of worship, submission, and humility, such as is fitting for man the creature when he encounters his glorious God.
On another note, I was thrilled that the study started with the triunity of God. The non-triune god of the other monotheistic religions is not the God of the bible, who is essentially and eternally triune. Too many introductory studies on theology proper have neglected this vital truth.
If you are a new believer looking for some solid biblical grounding, or else a disciple maker looking for excellent teaching material, I cannot commend this book too highly.
Available at Monergism Books.