Book Review: “Living in the Companionship of God: A Personal Retreat Guide” by Jan Johnson (2009)

Personal retreats are essential for uncluttering one’s brain and refocusing on the preeminence of God in all. Jan Johnson’s Living in the Companionship of God provides an excellent format for such retreats through seven lessons that focus on living life both with and for God. All of this, as well as Johnson’s obvious repetition of numerous Scripture passages, makes for a very neat, very usable personal retreat guide.

Beyond this, however, I do find some dangers in the basic premise of “companionship with God.” Throughout her guide, Johnson uses such language as having a “conversation with God,”  a dialogue with God, journaling to “see what comes to you,” “experiencing God,” and hearing God “speak.” Because such language suggests an audible voice of God that either booms or whispers to the one on retreat, I strongly disagree with this foundational premise. While I fully acknowledge the supernaturality of the Holy Spirit’s dwelling in my heart, I do not believe that I can hear His voice beyond His recalling to my mind the words of God from the very Word of God that I had read or memorized previously. A danger lurks in discussions on “hearing God’s voice” and journaling to let God direct my pen. God does not ouija, and He does not “speak.” He has already spoken, and His Word is sufficient above all else (both Matthew 24:35 and Hebrews 1:1-2 attest to this fact).

I enjoyed the format and concept behind this book, as well as Johnson’s focus on meditating on these selected passages from God’s Word. Were she able to alter slightly her discussions on hearing God speak, she could provide an even more powerful guide for a getaway with God.

[Note: I received this book free for review from the blog-for-books program from NavPress]

©2011 E.T.

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