Another review for your reading pleasure
Here is stolen blurb from anywhere that sells the book :
Too often the Christian version of popular culture’s sentimental view of love is that, of all things, Christians should be nice. After all, people ask, isn’t the Church about forgiveness? Aren’t Christians supposed to love others without condition?
This book not only focuses on the aspects of Christian love that are not easy–such as when it comes to loving our enemies, and even forgiving those loved ones who have hurt us–but also helps readers understand, then, what biblical love really is. As author D. A. Carson points out, thinking seriously about Christian love soon embroils us in reflection on justice, revenge, war, the authority of the state, forgiveness, hate, and much more. This book shows some of the important ways in which the love of Christians is a reflection of the love of God, and enables believers to develop an appropriate understanding of how to love in the hard places of life.
My thoughts :
This book is an amalgamation of 3 lectures, so it reads like that rather than a book and keeps referring to the other lectures. Carson starts by exploring the various aspects of Gods love and presents some truths that are hard to swallow, such as, while God has love for all of his creation evidenced in common grace, for example, he also shows conditional love in forgiveness (if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive yours) He then goes on to talk about 2 large issues, namely racism and terrorism. The lectures were given post-9/11, but many years before Osama Bin Laden was killed, and he references that in the book. He talks about the God-given authority of the state to wield the sword in judgement, about revenge, forgiveness, just war and wrongly using rasicm to personal advantage, and he finishes with the purity of the gospel, which is highlighted in Galatians 2:11-14
It was a bit heavy going and not so laden with one-liners, but many points sub-divided into further points until you lose track of which number you’re on.
I found it challenging, informative, at times inspirational and at other times really difficult to read. Most of what you need in a book about the love of God really.
The book is centred around the 2 greatest commandments “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37-40
If you can nail these, everything else will fall into place, and you will be able to love in the hardest of places. Easier said than done, yes, but still possible.
It is one I’d read again, if only because it’ll be easier the second time around, but also because I’d be able to glean more from it. You too should go and read it.
First sentence | Last sentence :
“Three years agoI gave some lectures that were eventually published uder the title The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God” | “But the love will remain, unalloyed, immensely rich, reflecting in small but glorious ways the immeasurable love we have received”
In a nutshell :
Love is a distinguishing feature of Christianity and should motivate everything we do, being fuelled by an undivided and complete love for the Godhead. This will allow us to love even the most cruel and evil of people.
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To find out more follow on Don twitter (@DACarson_) or find him on facebook. He is also a member of The Gospel Coalition, which you can find out about here, on facebook and on twitter @TGC