Redeeming Our Thinking About History: A God-Centered Approach

Vern S. Poythress, Redeeming Our Thinking About History: A God-Centered Approach (Wheaton: Crossway Books, 2020), 247 pp.

Every person is a historian of sorts. Each person is not only a product of history but is also constantly interpreting it. “History,” according to Vern Poythress, “is indispensable in the Bible and in the Christian faith.” Such is the theme of the author’s most recent book, Redeeming Our Thinking About History: A God-Centered Approach.

The book is arranged in five parts:

  1. What We Need in Order to Analyze History
  2. History in the Bible
  3. Understanding God’s Purposes in History
  4. What Does History Writing Look Like?
  5. Alternative Versions of How to Think About History

Part three is worth the price of the book as Dr. Poythress shows readers how God orchestrates historical events for his glory: “We believe from the Bible that God controls all of history. His purposes are present in everything that occurs. No events – even the smallest (Prov. 16:33; Matt. 10:29) – take place without his control over the causes.” The author also makes it clear that God operates via primary causation and secondary causation. Such a scheme enables God to ordain everything that comes to pass and also grants creatures the opportunity to exercise choices, which are always according to their strongest inclination.

The author reveals different ways to think about history. The model he commends is called Providentialism, which places God in a position of authority and divine purpose. He argues that Providentialism is supported in Scripture and gives us the responsibility for praising the work of his hands. It also reveals a God who is intimately involved in historical events – from the smallest to the greatest.

In the end, Redeeming Our Thinking About History accomplishes what it sets out to do. It helps establish the Christian mind and secure a God-centered approach to history. Such a theme is repeated in other works by Poythress that exalt the Lord Jesus Christ and proclaim his lordship over all things.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

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