A Book Review of: The Theology of George MacDonald
By Michael Phillips
A long time ago someone told me that I should read George MacDonald for his wonderful, Godly stories... but that I should avoid his theology. Certainly this book confirms this advise.
However one thread runs through both his stories and his theology, and this book certainly brings that to the fore. And that is the thread of the primacy of obedience.
I could point out that 'doctrine' means 'teaching'... and so that teaching that 'doctrine isn't important but love and obedience is’… is rather contradictory. Or I could just point out that George MacDonald is a masterful exponent of love and obedience. His stories resound in both.
One could argue that it is impossible to obey a God whose teachings you do not know, but it is also perfectly true that it is possible, indeed common, to study the teachings of God all of one's life and fail to apply them. And George MacDonald’s stories urge the primacy of obedience.
It is difficult... when an expert on a subject, when the subject is a person.... to know to what extent the expert perfectly represents the person that is their subject. So I am unable to tell how much of this book (except for the rather limited quotations) represents what George MacDonald actually believed... or even when he believed it. I would love to have the experience that CS Lewis represents in his fiction: that of meetGeorge MacDonald did a masterful job of pointing us to the obedience that we owe our creator, LORD, and savior.
One thing that I would definitely recommend, based on the information in this book, is that you read the sets of sermons it is based on. I haven't, and I was left rather bereft, as the author assumes certain knowledge that I didn't posses.
And I would recommend reading this book with a Berean approach. Read George MacDonald, and read the Scriptures as the Bereans did to see if these things are so.