THE DIFFICULT DOCTRINE OF THE LOVE OF GOD
The title is thought provoking and the contents profoundly instructive and necessary in these days when there is so much confusion as to God’s nature as love. One hundred years ago a British Theologian P.T.Forsyth wrote much on God’s HOLY love. Since then and even more so in the last twenty years the churches have been espousing a sentimentalised idea of love and a version sanitised of His holiness and wrath. A reading of this little volume first published around 1999 will help to point the honest reader seeking to know God in truth and away from the idolatrous notions currently in vogue both in the world at large. “Yes, if there is a God He is beneficent and loves me,” is a common idea, but is it the truth? It sounds strange to think of the doctrine of the love of God being difficult, but it is. To appropriately, in wisdom bring right understanding is far from easy. Witness the muddled ideas spreading like wild fire in the churches. Perhaps a down side of this book is that it is taken from a series of lectures the author delivered on several occasions in theological colleges. Although the author has adjusted and edited a little there are still some terms retained that will cause some readers a scratching of the head! Never mind, persevere, let the four chapters challenge and lead the wiling heart to a more sound appreciation of the Three Person-ed God and His being love. Do we want a Biblical exposition of God’s love or the notions of love spawned in a hedonistic society? Is God love or does He ‘fall in love’. Where does God’s love and plan for man originate, does it begin with man’s fall or is it fundamental to the nature of God as Father and Son and their love for One another? Is there conflict between God’s love and wrath? Do differences pertain in the way He loves His church, His chosen ones and the creation and mankind in general? What about His providential care of all, is this not evidence of His love for all and for the whole of HIs creation? By his own admission Don Carson only skates over the surface of some points and seeks to tease out the essentials in others and thus encourage the thoughtful reader to meditate more deeply on this vital theme. Going wrong on these things will distort everything and we are to be grateful for this little book continuing to be made available new and also second hand.