Nigerian author Lawrence-Dokpesi’s nonfiction debut work of scriptural exegesis revolves around the concept of God’s word, both as it’s made flesh in Jesus Christ and as it’s entwined in each human heart. “The WORD is put in man to renew him,” she writes, “protect him, illuminate him, redeem him, and salvage him when he is lost.” In nine chapters, Lawrence-Dokpesi examines dozens of ramifications of the “WORD,” laying out five spiritual steps by which her readers might closer attune the word of God inside their own beings with God himself. “The nature of God is written in our hearts and minds,” she assures her readers, and while we “live in two worlds simultaneously,” the physical and the spiritual, we can, by trusting completely in God, navigate our ways through “the wilderness experience in our lives.” Lawrence-Dokpesi steadfastly champions the inner element of Christian spirituality, repeating frequently that surrendering to God and trusting in Jesus Christ will allow each of the faithful to achieve the fulfillment of faith: “The good news is that God makes promises for those who are willing to trust Him. In Proverbs 11:18 God says, ‘Seeds sown in righteousness will have a sure reward.’ ” Lawrence-Dokpesi’s pet-owning readers won’t like her flat declaration that “animals do not have individual souls,” and meat-eaters will wince when she writes that the “perfect will of God is that man should eat plants and fruits as meat and not eat animals.” But even so, religious readers and especially Bible study groups will find a great deal to consider in her vigorous reading of Scripture and her extensive, detailed quotations. Her readings hew fairly closely to traditional Christian interpretation—for instance, the “concept of God is a mystery and cannot be approached empirically”—but are always guided by a gentle note of compassion, particularly in the five steps she outlines for bringing the faithful closer to God. Her rather forgiving work is bound by faith in humanity’s good qualities: “[W]e reap satisfaction and blessings when we send out thoughts and actions of goodness and general well-being to others. All that we sow returns to us again.”
A hopeful, restorative presentation of basic Christian tenets.