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January 1983 · Vol. 12 No. 1 · pp. 35–36 

Book Review

The Forgotten Father

Thomas A. Smail. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1981. 190 pages.

Reviewed by David Ewert

Several years ago (1975) Thomas Smail wrote a penetrating analysis of the charismatic movement in which he himself is a participant. Now he has enriched us with a volume on God the Father. It was largely out of his experiences in the charismatic movement that Smail came to the conclusion that the “obsession with personal experience,” and the desire of Christians “to have their felt spiritual, emotional or physical needs satisfied,” has eclipsed the Biblical doctrine of God the Father. {36}

Whereas in the charismatic movement the Spirit holds center-stage, and whereas Evangelicals generally have been concerned chiefly with Christ the Son, neither have made much of God, Smail wants to restore the neglected doctrine of God to its rightful place, and that explains the title of the book, The Forgotten Father.

In ten chapters the author pulls together what the NT writers have to say about God. Only when Christians know that they are God’s children, believes Smail, will they be able to enter into God’s rich inheritance. Smail discusses down-to-earth issues that affect Christian discipleship. The book is enlightening; parts of it are deeply moving; altogether it is a spiritual tonic.

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