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The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God [Kindle Edition]

D. A. Carson
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

At first thought, understanding the doctrine of the love of God seems simple compared to trying to fathom other doctrines like that of the Trinity or predestination. Especially since the overwhelming majority of those who believe in God view Him as a loving being.

That is precisely what makes this doctrine so difficult. The only aspect of God's character the world still believes in is His love. His holiness, His sovereignty, His wrath are often rejected as being incompatible with a "loving" God. Because pop culture has so distorted and secularized God's love, many Christians have lost a biblical understanding of it and, in turn, lost a vital means to knowing who God is.

The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God seeks to restore what we have lost. In this treatment of many of the Bible's passages regarding divine love, noted evangelical scholar D. A. Carson not only critiques sentimental ideas such as "God hates the sin but loves the sinner," but provides a compelling perspective on the nature of God and why He loves as He does. Carson blends his discourse with discussion of how God's sovereignty and holiness complete the biblical picture of who He is and how He loves.

In doing away with trivialities and cliches, this work gets to the heart of this all-important doctrine from an unflinching evangelical perspective. Yet it does so without losing its personal emphasis: for in understanding more of the comprehensive nature of God's love as declared in His Word, you will come to understand God and His unending love for you more completely.

Product Description


Prof.Carson has done the church therefore a great service in this brief (but ... exceedingly succinct) exposition of God's love. -- Ian Hamilton; Banner of Truth; April 2003

This is a fine little book that should be in the hands of every pastor and Bible student. -- Themelios; September 2001

From the Inside Flap

The theme of the love of god is inexhaustible. But in today’s world it is a theme that has been taken too much for granted. What about the wrath of the Loving God, or about the loving God who is also sovereign Lord? Renowned Bible teacher D A Carson turns to these vital questions and helps us reach a richer picture of the wonderful love of God.

This important subject both demands and repays study. The book will contribute significantly to our understanding and appreciation of God's unique love.
David Taylor, Baptist Times, November 2000

"A brilliant little read."
Evangelicals Now, April 2000

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 990 KB
  • Print Length: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (10 Dec. 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #226,113 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, succinct treatment of God's love 11 May 2002
This book has only 78 pages of text, but it is worth reading and re-reading. In it, Carson carefully categorises the Bible's message about God's love. He shows how the different strands fit together. He affirms God's love for all the world and his particular love for those he has chosen. He shows how John can tell us in his gospel that God loved the world, but tells us not to in his first letter!
He discusses the popular, but recent interpretation of the meaning of two Greek words used in John 21 in more detail than he did in his excellent, earlier book "Exegetical Fallacies." Since reading his argument, I have become convinced of his view that the two words do not have great differences in meaning in the New Testament (or in the Greek translation of the Old Testament).
At times, Carson's writing is not easy to read, but this book is one of his most lucid.
Highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Balancing Grace and Law 18 Mar. 2000
By A Customer
A thin book examining the different ways that the bible describes the love of God, Carson discusses some difficult but worthwhile material. Don't be fooled by the brevity of this book which is theologically dense and probably worth reading more than once.
Do you believe in God's grace and salvation by faith and sometimes find yourself in conflict with those who would emphasise the Christian obligation to obey God's laws? Do you believe in the justice of God, his righteousness and wrath and sometimes find yourself in conflict with those who emphasise salvation by faith, not of works? Carson describes six different ways that the bible describes God's love and shows how these seemingly different concepts can be held in productive "tension" within the Christian life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Show how deep it goes 29 Oct. 2014
By Penguin
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We often talk about love, but how many of us really know what love is? I for one had trouble understanding what love was or meant when I was little. I had most trouble with the fickleness of human love, i.e. love was not consistent. It really confused me.

As I did not know what it was, I felt I had no love in me or I was incapable to love. Then God found me and I opened the Bible and read about His love.

As recent as six months ago, I felt I found a solid ground in understanding agape - which was defined for me as the highest order of love which was not dependent on emotions, but of will, and God loved us in this way. I thought all kinds of love did need agape to underpin them in order to see us through good days and bad days, to maintain consistency in our love for others. If love depended only on emotions and our feelings, it would become whimsical and we saw people falling in love and out of love as natural as the tides coming in and out. If this was so, love then lacked wisdom, and other qualities that associated with love, such as faithfulness and fidelity. I thought it made sense.

Then I read this book by D Carson, who does not like compartmentalizing love by the Greek words which describe different kinds of love. In particular, he does not think that we should read too much into the distinction of agape against other forms of love or that we should understand God's love just by the distinction drawn from the words used. It seems to ask me to unlearn what I have learnt and restart again!!

If I understand correctly, I think Carson's main reservation about seeing God's love as agape is the implication of impassibility - the lack of emotions in God's love. He tries to tell us, God's love is not void of affection. I agree with him on this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 22 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There are five ways in which God's love is described in the Bible.
I used this book as the basis of some teaching in church recently, and found that even mature Christians were taught and challenged.
From providing deep reassurance to the Christian, to encouraging and motivating concern for those who don't yet know Jesus - this book is well worth the read.
Yet another excellent contribution to any Christian's library from Dr Carson.
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