Calvinism and the Love of God

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Hamalas

whippersnapper
I'm looking for resources that I can recommend to a young person I'm talking with who is wrestling with the doctrines of grace. This individual is not typically very emotional, but they have been talking about this subject with their partner (who is Reformed) for many months now and is finding the issue to be very challenging to come to grips with both emotionally and theologically. (I think the fact that their theological differences have a bearing on the future of their relationship is adding an extra layer of weight to these conversations!)

The core of the problem seems to be with working through how to reconcile the love of God (and the universal language of Scripture) with the doctrines of election and definite atonement. They're asking questions like:
  • Does God love everyone?
  • Does God ask us to love everyone self-sacrificially when He doesn't Himself?
  • How do you witness to people/proclaim God's love to children without assurance that God loves them in a saving way?
I know these are not new questions! But I'd like to point this person to a thoughtful, biblical resource that might serve as a guide through these issues. We've tried speaking in person, but the subject is so raw that all of the energy is spent fighting back tears etc... I think giving the person a good resource might allow for the emotional distance to really work through the Scripture carefully so they can see how the puzzle pieces fit together.

Any recommendations? I think either books or video series could be useful.
 

hammondjones

Puritan Board Junior
There is a short book called The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God by D.A. Carson. Its probably been 10 years since I read it, though, but I recall it being helpful at the time.
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
In the place where God commands us to love our enemies He justifies it by mentioning how God gives common grace to both the wicked and righteous alike. God is merciful and kind and loving in some measure to those who do not know God. However this is not the same love God has for the elect. God's wrath and condemnation abides on those who do not know Jesus, yet he merciful enough to not send them to hell the minute they commit sin or to give them hell on earth here.

I am no theologan and could be wrong but this is my view.
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm looking for resources that I can recommend to a young person I'm talking with who is wrestling with the doctrines of grace. This individual is not typically very emotional, but they have been talking about this subject with their partner (who is Reformed) for many months now and is finding the issue to be very challenging to come to grips with both emotionally and theologically. (I think the fact that their theological differences have a bearing on the future of their relationship is adding an extra layer of weight to these conversations!)

The core of the problem seems to be with working through how to reconcile the love of God (and the universal language of Scripture) with the doctrines of election and definite atonement. They're asking questions like:
  • Does God love everyone?
  • Does God ask us to love everyone self-sacrificially when He doesn't Himself?
  • How do you witness to people/proclaim God's love to children without assurance that God loves them in a saving way?
I know these are not new questions! But I'd like to point this person to a thoughtful, biblical resource that might serve as a guide through these issues. We've tried speaking in person, but the subject is so raw that all of the energy is spent fighting back tears etc... I think giving the person a good resource might allow for the emotional distance to really work through the Scripture carefully so they can see how the puzzle pieces fit together.

Any recommendations? I think either books or video series could be useful.
I also see passages like Titus 2:11 with not explicitly literal passages but to demonstrate the global scale salvation is happening on. In rev God says he is purchasing for Himself a people of ever tongue and nation. One of the major focuses of New Testament is recognizing that this salvation is now bringing in both the jews and gentiles now (places like eph 2 or romans 9).
 

Thomas_Goodwin

Puritan Board Freshman
Also I wanted to add. I think verses like Titus 2:11 are there to show whosoever will have the Lord shall have Him. He shall in no wise reject any who come onto Him. Though our sins be scarlet they shall be white as wool when cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. Though our sins abound, the grace of Christ shall abound the more. Though our wickedness weighs us down to hell, Christ's righteousness exalts us to heaven. God's work of redemption is finished and accpeted at the Resurrection and whosoever will have the already accepted work shall have it. Christ is risen and the punishment that brings us peace is complete.
 
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