Had I paid more attention to the author bio, I would not have chosen to review this book. David Bowden is a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary writing his first book. In When God Isn’t There: Why God is Farther Than You Think, but Closer Than You Dare Imagine, Bowden relies heavily on contemporary neo-Calvinist megastars for its inconsistent theological perspective and explanation. After fifty pages in I wanted to put it down, but I finished it and found all the same pat answers given by neo-Calvinists for the problems at hand. Bowden simply tries to makes his life experience apply to these teachings or vice versa. If you’re not already a thoroughly indoctrinated Calvinist, then you will find little helpful in this text; on the contrary, you might discover more problems and be sent into a worse place if asking questions related to the title. Basically, Bowden says God is always present, and if you’re in pain it’s because he caused it—either to cause repentance or to teach you something. If God feels absent, it’s because he wants you to miss him or because you’re in sin, which he caused because he causes everything to happen (so the theology goes). It’s horrendously harmful and unhelpful theology, and I cannot recommend it.
*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”