Against the Flow – John Lennox

Against the Flow John Lennox

QUICK HIT: Against the Flow is a testament to the fact that Dr. John Lennox does nothing half-way. The writing is meaty and substantive, the research thorough and wide-ranging, the applicative points poignant and heartfelt. This is not an easy read. It’s one of those books that requires a brain break every few chapters, but it’s certainly worth reading. Weighty, but worth it.

I’ve long been a fan of Dr. John Lennox. Science. Religion. Ethics. Mathematics. Philosophy. I really don’t know of a subject that Dr. Lennox cannot speak on with authority. One of the things I’ve really appreciated about Dr. Lennox’s work is his defense against the attacks of relativism and, in this comprehensive yet highly readable tome, Lennox uses the springboard of Daniel and his friends toward launch himself into a highly relevant discussion of living in spiritual Babylon.

One of the first things you’ll notice about this book is that it is thick. At 400 pages plus, Against the Flow is a book that takes time to read and digest. I was initially afraid that there’d be a lot of fluff and digressions, and, while technically true, I found that the digressions (fluff there was not) informative and fun.

However, that does open me to my main criticism of the book. Written for the modern application—standing against the flow of relativism—Lennox spends a fair portion of the book writing to the historical context. I know context is key, but Lennox has the tendency to overdo it to the point I thought I was back in seminary OT history class. Against the Flow reads like an application commentary on Daniel, which wouldn’t be a criticism if that’s how it was marketed, but instead Lennox gets lost in historical detail when making his modern application.

Don’t get me wrong, Lennox is informative (perhaps even more so here than in his modern application), but it is a rather significant digression from the book’s intended purpose. There will be those who simply don’t pick up this book because of the size or put it down because it doesn’t focus enough on the reason it claims to have been written.

Now the good: Lennox is superb. With the history, with the theology, with the ethics. I really need to reread this and take better notes. This is one of the best histories of Daniel I’ve read and one of the best modern applications of Daniel that I’ve read. He deftly takes Daniel chapter by chapter (difficult already because of its esoteric prophecies) and successfully works out a modern equivalent to live by today.

I feel like Against the Flow is a testament to the fact that Lennox does nothing half-way. The writing is meaty and substantive, the research thorough and wide-ranging, the applicative points poignant and heartfelt. This is not an easy read. It’s one of those books that requires a brain break every few chapters, but it’s certainly worth reading. Weighty, but worth it.