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May 2015 Vol. 52 No. 9

Baker Academic

The following review appeared in the May 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email


2014-32343 CIP
Johnston, Robert K. God's wider presence: reconsidering general revelation. Baker Academic, 2014. 231p bibl index ISBN 9780801049453 pbk, $25.99; ISBN 9781441246288 ebook, $25.99.

How should one understand situations in which God reveals himself powerfully to a believer or an unbeliever through a beautiful sunset?  How should one understand God’s revelations that occur in such contexts as listening to Mozart or watching the movie Raging Bull?  These are the kinds of questions Johnson (Fuller Theological Seminary) discusses in this book.  In addressing the proper understanding of general revelation, the author writes that for him, understanding involves not God’s universal characteristics or reality universally available to all people but God’s presence as creator revealed through his Holy Spirit to people.  General revelation thus addresses specific encounters through the Spirit in a natural setting, and these encounters can occur among both theists and nontheists.  To support his argument, Johnson cites many passages of Scripture in which God reveals himself to non-Israelites and even pagan rulers.  The author goes on to discuss the implications of his ideas in terms of the wider relationship between Christianity and other religions, given the breadth of God’s general revelation.  This book offers creative and insightful ideas, though readers with traditional theological backgrounds might not find them acceptable.

--J. Jaeger, Dallas Baptist University

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers; professionals.