"Paying attention to the findings of neuroscience is tantamount to paying attention to God's creation. And doing that leads us--with the proper guide--to God's story and his intentions for us. Tim Jennings is that proper guide. An experienced healer with a palpable spirit of humility, he takes the reader past the trite, superficial motifs of easy spirituality that clutter our emotional landscapes and grounds you first in the nature of the God of Scripture. He then further explores that in which God grounded the first humans--the body, and namely, the brain. With compelling stories of challenge and transformation, Dr. Jennings deftly weaves together a deeply thoughtful theology of the living Word with the complex nature of the organ that our heart calls home. Read this book to know God more fully. Read this book to know your brain more fully. And see how knowing God will change your brain--and your life--in ways you never thought possible." (Curt Thompson, M.D., psychiatrist and author of Anatomy of the Soul)
"With amazing clarity, Dr. Jennings cuts through the many divergent God constructs to expose the powerful impact these differing views have upon our brains and bodies. Not everything taught about God is healthy--read this book and learn how your belief about God is changing you." (Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., C.E.D.S., founder, The Center, Inc.)
"What makes this book truly remarkable is the artful way Dr. Jennings combines the latest understanding in brain physiology with practical and compelling real-life stories. Although this book is easy to understand for the layperson, the implications Dr. Jennings makes about the design of the human brain, how it can be damaged and how it can be healed are profound. I don't know of another book that so beautifully describes how our mind can be restored back to the way God originally designed it to be." (Brad Cole, M.D., director of neuroscience education, Loma Linda University School of Medicine)
"Dr. Tim Jennings has asked the troublesome questions about God's character and answered them in a simple and compelling way that clears away the lies about him so that you find yourself falling deeper in love with him. It's a must-read for every inquiring mind. Once you understand the physiology of the brain and how it responds to love versus selfishness, as explained by Dr. Jennings, you will realize that the choice for love is the only one that will renew the mind and result in good mental health." (Kay Kuzma, Ed.D., president of Family Matters Ministry)
"It has been said that our thoughts reflect who we are (Proverbs 23:7). Dr. Jennings challenges us with a synthesis of neurobiology and theology that elaborates on this concept." (Michael Lyles, M.D., Lyles and Crawford Clinical Consulting)
"If you are ready to take your relationship with God to the next level, if you are ready to move closer to the source of all truth, if you are ready for an evidence-based approach to knowing God, this book is for you. Dr. Jennings's patient cases and illustrations make complex ideas simple and easy to understand as he powerfully documents, through brain science, how our beliefs about God change us." (Tim Clinton, president, American Association of Christian Counselors)
- Some helpful points but some very unhelpful ones too
This book is read well and is easy to follow. It has some really good points as well. I was hoping it would talk more about the human brain (it does do a reasonable amount, especially in the early chapters) but it's really a book of practical theology. My biggest criticism is that he throws out traditional understandings of God as Judge and Jesus dying to pay for sin (penal substitution). He argues from the Bible, but I believe he's misunderstood some important Biblical doctrines.
- God Influenced Thinking
The God-Shaped Brain by Timothy R. Jennings M.D. is a detailed insight into how thinking in general and incorrect thinking in particular can serious affect other parts of the person's life. Backing up the neuroscience and psychology are actual examples of people's experiences with these concepts and how it has changed their life.
Most of the book was very informative and interesting regarding how our thoughts influence every other area of our life. However there were some aspects and ideas of the book that I don't believe at all, which took away from the early chapters which were quite good.
The narrator was good as he presented the neurological information in a very clear and concise manner. It was very easy following along and understanding all the concepts.
This book would be great for anyone interested in Christian psychology and the reasons behind Christian's beliefs.
This audio book was gifted as a part of the christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. More information can be found about this and other Christian audio books at christianaudio.com.
- Interesting mix of science and theology
The God-Shaped Brain by Timothy R. Jennings, M.D. is an interesting concoction of biology, psychiatry, and theology. It is both a warning and an encouragement about the way our beliefs, misguided or not, can literally re-shape our physiology. The thesis is that spiritual warfare is a battle for the mind, in both a literal and figurative sense. The world, Jennings argues, was designed by God to operate according to what he calls the “Law of Love.” The further we depart from the design, the sicker our brains become.
Jennings is a psychiatrist, and much of the book is made up of stories about his patients and their struggles. His treatment tactics include a healthy dose of biblical truth, and quite a bit of un-learning some bad theology.
I agree with Jennings that many people are haunted by a faulty view of God, given to them by another. Our theology, what we believe about God, can affect us so deeply. The God-Shaped Brain was a humbling read for me, as I often “speak for God” in my role as a pastor. What if I misrepresent Him? What kind of damage could be done?
Not since Love Wins by Rob Bell have I read a book that was so challenging to me theologically. In Love Wins, Rob Bell questions the existence of hell. In The God-Shaped Brain, Jennings takes on the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, and argues for an annihilationist view of hell. I’ll admit, while Bell prefers to argue with style over substantive, biblical exegesis, Jennings offers some compelling support for his views. Yes, he conveniently fails to mention some of the more troubling scriptures on the wrath and justice of God. Nevertheless, his ideas about the justice of God and the “consuming fire” of God’s love are glorious to read. Although I’m still not sure I agree with him on everything (actually, I’m pretty certain I don’t), this book still got me searching my heart AND the scriptures.
Given Jennings’ insistence that asking questions is good for the brain, I’m sure he would be pleased to know his book sent me looking for answers. I recommend this book for both for its unique science/faith viewpoint, and its emotional resonance. As a bonus, you get excellent narration of the audiobook version by Sean Runnette, and a hearty dose of theological disequilibrium to boot. Well worth the price of admission!
Please Note: This audiobook was gifted as a part of the Christianaudio Reviewers Program in exchange for my unbiased review of this work. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review of this work.
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- Life Changing
I really enjoyed this audio by Timothy R Jenkins, MD, whose work I've never come across before. I must admit that I did find the first part complicated with all the neurological information to take in and remember. I think this part of the audio would be better in print so that I could've referred to it later on. (Maybe a PDF could be available for listeners?) However, the personal stories of his patients and his own studies and experiences about his view of God's character was really interesting and liberating. Sean Runnette's narration was perfect throughout, making this a pleasure to listen to. This is an amazing book that has the potential to change your whole perspective of God's love for you. It could also change your life for the better if you are open to the ideas in it. I highly recommend it to all believers, but especially to those who aren't easily offended but are looking for more to their faith journey. Thanks to christianaudio.com Reviewer's Program for this free copy.