As Christians, we might think our contemporary situation is unique. Lennox reminds us that is not the case. Of Daniel and his friends, he writes, “...they maintained a high-profile public witness in a pluralistic society that became increasingly antagonist to their faith.” (1) There is a powerful message in the book of Daniel for us today.
Lennox helps us understand what gave those men the strength and conviction to be prepared to swim against the flow in their society and give courageous public expression to their faith. Daniel had the conviction that he must honor God irrespective of the consequences. Lennox helps us understand what that means for us today. “It is … increasingly difficult to avoid the marginalization that results from stepping out of the politically correct line.” (81)
We are given a wide view of the historical background on the culture, religion, etc. We find out how Daniel's worldview differed from the Babylonians'. I was amazed at how close the Babylonian worldview is to that of our contemporary society. Lennox also covers the dating of the book, the relation of reason and revelation, prophecy and its interpretation, blasphemy, tolerance, the reality that God will not always delivers saints, Daniel and Revelation, possibilities of the “seventieth week,” attempts to fulfill prophecy, and much more.
There are many important insights I gleaned from this book. The most penetrating might have been his recounting an experience from his student days at Cambridge. He noticed that many of his Christian friends paid lip service to the doctrine of inspiration but did not spend a great deal of time reading and thinking about the book they claimed was the Word of God. That really encouraged me to evaluate whether my actions toward the Bible reflected what I claimed to believe about it.
Another insight was regarding the gifts God gives us. Lennox makes sure we understand that just because God gave Daniel and his friends great ability and protection, that does not mean the same is guaranteed to happen to us. God equipped them for their roles, as He will us. Those roles may be very different, however.
There is a wealth of information, insight and encouragement in this book taken from Daniel. I highly recommend it for anyone desiring to understand how Daniel is a model for us today. Lennox reminds us near the end of the book that, just as Daniel did not understand all that was given to him, we are not able to understand all that is in Daniel either. Questions for Reflection or Discussion are at the back of the book so it would be a good choice for individual or group use.
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
John C. Lennox is Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow in Mathematics and Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College. He is the author of a number of books on the relations of science, religion, and ethics. He and his wife live near Oxford. Find out more at http://www.johnlennox.org/.
Lion Hudson (distributed in the U. S. by Kregel), 434 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.