A debut book explores God’s process of choosing people to participate in his plan.
Van Rensburg examines a subject that is not often covered in depth either by scholars or popular religion writers—the concept of being chosen. Men and women are chosen throughout Christian Scriptures for various roles and tasks, and few believers would dispute that God continues to select people for particular purposes today; nevertheless, the idea is not often discussed from a wide-ranging perspective. In taking on the notion of chosenness, Van Rensburg opens an important conversation. The author uses the story of Mary, mother of Jesus, as a framework for his approach. This is appropriate since no one personifies the idea of chosenness by God more than she. Van Rensburg labors to assist the reader in understanding what it means to be selected by God—to be the recipient of his favor—and how to react and follow through on that honor. The author’s concept is not limited in scope (such as “chosen for ordained ministry,” for example); instead, he makes it clear that God can and does use a wide variety of believers in impressively diverse ways. The author admirably assists believers in understanding the paradox between receiving God’s favor and nevertheless living an unsettled, if not turbulent, life. He helpfully notes throughout that being chosen does not automatically mean that a person will be liked, followed, or believed; nor will that individual necessarily obtain prosperity or evade troubles (a good reminder in this age of the Prosperity Gospel). The author’s greatest flaw remains his often forced use of language. Two early examples suffice: “A gaping fragility was unlocked in the antagonist’s demeanour,” and the idea that Mary might have actually thought to herself: “What if being highly favoured does not fit my presupposed framework of favour?...What if my expectations are misaligned?” Such vocabulary snowballs show up repeatedly in the book.
A promising work that focuses on an understudied spiritual topic.