Running From Mercy

Anthony J. Carter: Jonah and the Surprising Story of God’s Unstoppable Will

Running From Mercy
Jonah and the Surprising Story of God’s Unstoppable Will (B&H, 2018)

WHO: Anthony J. Carter, lead pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Georgia.

HE SAYS: “Jonah is an old, old story. And yet it still offers to us insight, encouragement and faith for living faithfully in our new world.”

THE BIG IDEA: By studying the story of Jonah we can see how God pursues us today.

In seven chapters, the author takes the book of Jonah chapter by chapter to examine this Bible story as a microcosm of the human story.

“Many of us run as fast as we can away from God, but God’s grace is faster.”

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What prompted you to write on Jonah and write this book? Who did you write it for?

Jonah has long been a favorite of mine. Since the days of my youth, the story of Jonah was exciting and fun. In my latter days it is still exciting but also sobering. I see myself in Jonah and so many ways see God’s hand in my life as it was in Jonah’s. I like to think of Jonah as the everyman’s prophet. That is, each of us can relate to Jonah’s rejection of God’s will, as well as God’s relentless pursuit of us until we realize that God’s mercy is for our good.

I wrote the book for anyone who desires to understand how God works in our lives to use us for His glory and the good of others. Anyone, whether a believer or not, could read this book and find something of God’s message of mercy and love for them.

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You mention that the story of Jonah points toward the gospel of Jesus. How so?

The book of Jonah paints for us a picture of what God is willing to do to forgive sinners, even those who rebel against Him. He is relentless in His pursuit of those who have sinned against Him. The coming of Jesus Christ is the ultimate expression of God’s relentless mercy toward sinners. The gospel is the message of God saving sinners. The book of Jonah is the message of God saving sinners. Whether it was Jonah or the people of Ninevah, or you and I today, God’s gospel message has always been the same: There is mercy and grace for sinners through the coming of Jesus Christ.

How do you hope readers use this book?

I pray the book is used as a tool for furthering the reader’s understanding and hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ. I pray people use it for personal enrichment and encouragement. Also, I pray it would be a tool for discipleship, whether in a group setting or one-on-one study.