Lean in to religious paradox

Paradoxology: Why Christianity was Never Meant to be Simple
Krish Kandiah
IVP

What is the subject?

In Paradoxology, Kandiah explores paradoxes that trouble and baffle us as Christians. How can God be loving if he orders the Israelites to wipe out the Canaanites? How can the cross simultaneously be the darkest event in history and our greatest and only hope?

Instead of dismissing these quandaries, Kandiah leans into them, claiming “that the paradoxes that seem to undermine belief are actually the heart of our vibrant faith, and that it is only by continually wrestling with them – rather than trying to pin them down and push that away – that we can really worship God, individually and together.”

Who is the author?

Krish Kandiah is a professor (Regent College) and the founding director of Home for Good, a charity based in the United Kingdom that finds homes for foster and refugee children.

Why this book?

Oil and balsamic vinegar don’t mix very easily, just like the paradoxes of our faith. But when you do the hard work and combine them, the result is a delicious mixture that pairs great with foccacia bread! Perhaps the paradoxes of our faith have a similar, positive result.

Paradoxology takes the reader on a journey through the biblical narrative and one’s own heart.

Kandiah roots his paradoxes in biblical characters, including the Abraham Paradox of a generous God who asks for everything and the Hosea Paradox of a God who is faithful even to the most unfaithful.

Kandiah also drives these paradoxes into our own lives; just because we are not Abraham does not mean that we do not experience the God who seems to ask too much.

This book gives permission to wrestle with the paradoxes of faith while coming to know God better in the process.

Comment on the book’s theological perspective in light of the MB Confession of Faith.

Article 1 of the MB Confession of Faith states: “We believe in the one, true, living God, Creator of heaven and earth. God is almighty in power, perfect in wisdom, righteous in judgment, overflowing in steadfast love.”

As we seek to explore the difficult paradoxes of the Christian faith with Kandiah, we are reminded that God is powerful, wise, righteous and loving in ways we will never fully understand. This does not mean that we throw up our hands in defeat, but rather that we lean into the paradoxes and into the arms of the Father as we continue to seek and wrestle.

Key insight

“Christianity was never meant to be simple.”

If we attempt to put God in a neat, tidy box, forcing him to conform to our ways and expectations, we will miss out on the vibrant faith that comes from knowing and trusting the God who is infinitely greater than us, yet intimately beside us. Our job is to acknowledge the tension, wrestle with the paradoxes, and seek God.

Who should read it?

Anyone who has ever found themselves uncomfortable with the tensions of Christian faith and life should read this book. If God is loving, why this terminal diagnosis? If the Spirit lives in me, why do I continue to struggle with sin? Kandiah offers a listening ear, space for reflection, and a guided walk through Scripture to begin to come to terms with these paradoxes.

Favourite quotes

“If our faith is true – the truth – then our God must be big enough to face our questions. They don’t need to be a dirty secret.”

“The paradoxes of our faith will not be resolved by this book, or any other book. They can only be explained – indeed, they will be fulfilled – when Christ himself comes again and all things are resolved in him.”

[Stephanie Christianson and her husband Austin live in Saskatoon where they serve with Ranger Lake Bible Camp.

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