7 Big Questions Your Life Depends On, by William J. Edgar. Pittsburgh: Crown & Covenant, 2020, 68 pages, $9.00, paper.

Only a rare book fits well in the hands of both the unbeliever (exploring what Christianity is all about) and the mature believer who wants to think deeply about the demands of God’s Word upon his life. William Edgar’s 7 Big Questions Your Life Depends On is one of those books.

The author identifies four fundamental questions from Genesis:

  • Did God really say?
  • Where are you?
  • Where is the lamb?
  • Am I in the place of God?

To these he adds three from the gospels:

  • Where is the baby born to be King of the Jews?
  • Do you want to be healed?
  • Why are you looking among the dead for one who is alive?

The author has a gift for pinpointing core issues of concern: attitudes toward authority, yearnings to fix a broken world and our own broken lives, the delusion of the autonomous self, just how much we truly desire salvation, and where we look for it.

As Edgar explains and reflects upon these questions, the reader is forced to consider his responses—both to the voices of unbelief in our culture, as well as the rebellious thoughts that tempt us to doubt what God has said. Have we taken into account the reality of our offenses against God and his holy wrath, contrasted with the offenses of others against us and our unholy wrath? No matter how long one has walked with Christ, these remain pressing concerns.

Chapter 3 gives a flavor of Edgar’s approach as it surveys Genesis 22 and Isaac’s question, “Where is the lamb?” Our world is twisted, broken, and impervious to rehabilitation and fixing. The real problem is sin and the suppression of truth that brings God’s righteous wrath upon man. What is the solution that makes man right with God? That solution is sacrifice—and hence Isaac’s question: “Where is the Lamb?”

Confronted by the world’s brokenness and his own guilt, man has two choices: Do I try to fix the broken world myself—perhaps by supporting one of the grand utopian schemes that, if unchecked, inevitably lead to totalitarian oppression—or do I trust the sacrifice that God has provided in Jesus Christ? Yes, our life depends on how we answer.

Between the Genesis and Gospel questions is a six-page chapter, “The Story of Israel from Joseph to Jesus’s Birth,” that supplies readers with a history of Israel. No words are wasted; scripture’s plot line is summarized well. Preachers will find here a model for concisely communicating a large swath of biblical history to their congregations.

This short volume is proof that a book need not be long to be theologically rich.

I write this review on New Year’s Eve. Another year of my life concludes, and I prepare to enter the next—a perfect time to contemplate seven big questions upon which my life depends.    

Charles Malcolm Wingard is senior pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Yazoo City, Mississippi (PCA), and associate professor of pastoral theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi. Ordained Servant Online, March 2021.

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