I Am That I Am: Tracing the Footprints of God by Judy Azar LeBlanc
This new book by Judy LeBlanc is written to outline and trace the eight covenants of the Bible, Jesus’ parables and the way in which the divine names of God reflect unique aspects of God’s character. The chapters in this book are short enough to follow while giving you a small dose of the biblical material and commentary by theologians and scholars.
One, this book was an overambitious project to begin with. The goal of outlining God’s covenantal dealings with his people and presenting Jesus’ parables with any detail in just over 450 pages is hard to do by any stretch of imagination. For instance, at the beginning of the book LeBlanc gives one page to describing what a covenant is and how it functions. She goes onto focus here efforts by quoting from Lewis Sperry Chafer, a Dispensational theologian, who outlines eight covenants found in the Bible. Rather than giving a rationale for why she decided to take the Dispensational route for understanding these covenants, she plows on ahead by quoting Dispensational authors throughout the rest of the book. A better way might have been to explain why a Dispensational view is better than a Covenantal or Reformed view.
Secondly, the format was not at all appealing to reading. By quoting large sections of the works of others without any footnotes, I got the feeling that the book was more about what experts had to say than the author. Footnotes or endnotes would have been much better for understanding the flow of argument in the book and the rationale for understanding her view of biblical passages.
LeBlanc points to a very important fact in the Gospel accounts on p. 342 when she writes, “All of those who were ill and did touch Jesus’ outer garment were also immediately healed.” People were literally dying to meet Jesus because they knew he had the power to cure their illness. LeBlanc is right to point out that Jesus’ healing power was evident for all of those who touched him, regardless of their stations, status, or economic state in life. At another point, LeBlanc makes mention of the feeding of the 4,000 by bearing witness to Jesus’ holistic ministry by writing, “Characteristic of Jesus’ nature of compassion, mercy, and love in caring not only about people’s spiritual well-being, but of their physical well-being as well,…” (413). The kind of ministry Jesus exhibits to the people here is an example of his wonderful compassion to provide life for the whole body, not just a spiritual truth but a physical nourishment as well. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to listen to even a masterful teacher and prophet as Jesus while being awaken by an empty stomach.
Although I can see how this book might be a decent reference book for some, I can’t recommend it for those wishing to understand God’s covenants and Jesus’ parables.
Thanks to Book Crash and Cross Link Publishing for the review copy of this book.