Like N.T. Wright’s Simply Christian, Chris Blake’s Searching for a God to Love is one writer’s attempt to explain what Christianity means to him and to try to make it attractive to doubters and seekers — or to “unbelieving believers,” as Blake calls them. Also like Wright, Blake deviates from the trail blazed by C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity and approaches the Christian story not so much as a series of logical propositions to be proved, as a possible answer to some of humanity’s deepest needs. Blake focuses particularly on the need to be loved and to belong which we all feel, and argues that God as revealed in Jesus can fully meet that need.
Unlike Wright, Blake is not presenting the same kind of thoughtful-but-slightly-dry analysis. Reading Searching for a God to Love is less like listening to a sermon and more like reading someone’s scrapbook. The book is full of random quotes and anecdotes that have obviously made an impact on the author, all of which he weaves together as part of the tapestry he’s creating. The book’s not disorganized, but it does have an informal, conversational style that invites the reader in to browse.
The version of Jesus that Blake presents is very much that of traditional evangelical Christianity, but with a few unique Seventh-day Adventist twists — I particularly appreciated his chapters on hell and on the Sabbath, which made me feel strongly how much the unique SDA doctrines enhance the portrait of Jesus as presented in the Gospels.
While this might be considered in a general way to be a work of Christian apologetics (a subject much on my mind since I am reading another book about apologetics), Blake is not so much building an argument here as attempting to introduce the reader to the God he loves. I found the book both heartwarming and inspiring, and also challenging in a few places. I would definitely give it to an “unbelieving believer” who wanted a fresh perspective on Christian faith.