Book Review: The Encounter by Stephen Arterburn

The Encounter is the fictional story of two individuals who desperately need restoration of a relationship. The wealthy entrepreneur, Jonathan Rush, has stuffed his anger for 31 years and is destined for destruction. Ada Guthrie, a poor, elderly, and independent woman, knows the depths of God’s forgiveness, yet refuses to forgive herself. This is the story of the paths that bring these two opposites together for an encounter that will change their hearts and lives.

This is a short book and reads quickly. Overall, I enjoyed the story, but I don’t highly recommend it. This is purely due to my personal preference that when I read a Christian novel, it would be one that is saturated with God. What I mean by that is that I want to use my time well, so if I’m going to invest my time in a novel, I want it to draw me to a deeper relationship with God by challenging my beliefs (or lack of belief) by using Scripture and through conversations, ramblings, or hearing the thoughts of God at work. This story hardly mentioned God. There were references to a pastor, some churches, and religion. Towards the end there was finally a voiced prayer and a hymn was quoted a couple of times. There was no Scripture at all that I recall and Jesus was never actually named. However, the story was well written. I was engaged and hoping for the happy-ever-after ending. The best part of the book was the last ten-fifteen pages when the author described where the story came from (two real-life encounters), how God taught him and is using him, and how he has seen God at work. If you’re going to check out this book, make sure you read that part!

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