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Sinners in the Hands of a Good God: Reconciling Divine Judgment and Mercy Paperback – October 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Moody Publishers; New Edition edition (October 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802481604
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802481603
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The story of God's gracious pursuit of the sinner leads us into many deep questions about the relation of His purposes to human inability.  His love to His holiness, and His mercy to His justice.  This book explores these matters biblically, theologically, and pastorally in a way that is both brave and helpful.
-David F. Wells, Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor, Historical and Systematic Theology, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

One of the most winsome, discerning and compelling presentations of the seriousness of sin and the grace of God.  It is among the few potentially life-changing books -- to believe it and live a careless Christian life should be an impossibility.
-Iain H.Murray, Author and Conference Speaker

About the Author

DAVID CLOTFELTER (M.A., Yale University; M.Div., Fuller Theological Seminary; Ph.D., Claremont Graduate University) is Senior Pastor of the Chinese Christian Alliance Church in Northridge, California, and has been involved exclusively in pastoral ministry to Chinese congregations for over 20 years. David is the author of Sinners in the Hands of a Good God: Reconciling Divine Judgment and Mercy. He and his wife, Lisa, have two children and reside in Northridge, California.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
I was thoroughly impressed with Mr. Clotfelter's treatment of this controversial subject.
D. Joel
Every church library in the country would profit from the possession of this book, and hopefully every church librarian will be able to recommend it to every member.
Professor of Theology
It will engage your heart as much as your mind as you read and inevitably will jump-start you forward in your spiritual journey.
a sojourner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By a sojourner on October 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Highly recommended as an essential guide to understanding God's judgment and mercy. Clotfelter presents the differing views of serious Christian theologians, past and present and holds them up to the light of Scriptural evidence. This is a well-referenced work which offers a fair-minded, compassionate analysis of the concepts of heaven and hell from different schools of thought, always bringing the authority of the Bible to bear in the end.

This is a scholarly, yet engaging and very readible treatise on the doctrine of heaven and hell, reconciling God's justice with his mercy.

Can a discussion on this knotty theological issue be anything but tedious? In fact, this is one of the most encouraging books you will read in your spiritual journey. It will engage your heart as much as your mind as you read and inevitably will jump-start you forward in your spiritual journey.

In the end, Clotfelter wisely notes that "to be a good theologian, you have to want even more to be a good Christian" How true.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Professor of Theology on May 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
How can God be good, yet send people to hell, and leave them there eternally? If he is omnipotent, why doesn't he save everyone? These are questions every thinking Christian has to face. The author, with graduate degrees from Yale, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D.), writes out of a personal struggle with such questions and traces his own journey from atheism to the view of George MacDonald, mentor of C. S. Lewis, who argued that a loving Father would never condemn his children to endless punishment, to what he insists is the more biblical view of Jonathan Edwards. This is not a book for professional theologians but for the ordinary reader who wants to see how the Bible's teaching on divine justice and divine mercy may be brought together and harmonized. Each of the three parts of this book consists of three chapters. The first, "Under Judgment," argues that God regards all human beings as guilty sinners and defends eternal punishment against universal salvation and annihilation of the lost. The second, "At His Mercy," argues for the Calvinistic view of predestination and election as the view most consistent with the Bible. The third, "Within His Embrace," argues that by his life and death Jesus fully satisfied the justice of God for his chosen people who are not only forgiven but given a title to eternal joy. In a final chapter the author attempts to draw all the threads of the discussion together. Each chapter ends with a prayer that reflects the author's personal struggle with the subject and the reasons for his conclusions. Every church library in the country would profit from the possession of this book, and hopefully every church librarian will be able to recommend it to every member. And all readers who want to think about this issue with an expert should consider buying this book.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. Joel on June 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was thoroughly impressed with Mr. Clotfelter's treatment of this controversial subject. I believe he handled himself with true humility and with a strong conviction to adhere to the Scriptures as the final authority on any given question related to the subject. His style was likeable and he wrote with clarity, avoiding deep intellectual arguments that seem to characterize many other works that deal with the "Calvinism versus Arminianism" debate. And finally, it was refreshing to see one with the keen desire to bring out the true nature of God and to glorify Him in the process.

I must confess that I have been a strong believer in God's sovereign grace in election for many years, so I was biased from the start. But I had never read a work that was so convincing in clarifying this truth. His handling of various teachings ("Universalism," "Annihilationism," and "Open Theism") was masterful, and should serve to silence any advocates of these erroneous doctrines.

It was also impressive to see him tackle some of the real hard questions, such as "Why will God confine some of His creatures to eternal punishment?" and "If God had the power to elect all to salvation, why didn't He?" I believe he did so with a compassion for man, yet also, as intimated above, with a strong desire to glorify God. I believe you will find his answers to these questions compelling, even though they might not completely satisfy your logic and human reasoning.

In closing, I have recommended this book to many of my brothers and sisters in Christ, and I would highly recommend it to you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Shephard on March 11, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think everyone who has ever thought through the issues of God being good and yet there being an eternal hell will benefit from this book. I found the author arguing from the Bible, not from philosophy. He also traces his own spiritual journey from not believing in hell, to believing in it because the Bible teaches it.

Chapter 1 defends God's justice and our sinfulness. Hell makes no sense until we understand these things. Chapters 2 and 3 defend hell and eternal punishment. I was happy to see Clotfelter come to many of the same conclusions I have as I have thought this through.

Chapter 3 goes through the various views of choice in regard to salvation. Chapters 5 and 6 defend the "TULIP" acronym: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints. The author attempts (with much success) to prove each of these doctrines from Scripture.

Chapters 7, 8, and 9 talk about the "good news": that Christ died for sinners and by believing in Him we are saved from eternal hell. It talks about God's glory being the purpose that God created. It's not about US; it's about HIM!

I recommend this book if you want to understand why hell must exist and why so many people go there. Being the only Christian in my family I wrestled with the doctrine when my dad died. But I came out the other side with a deeper appreciation for both God's justice and His mercy, and an unshakable knowledge that God is good and will do what is right, even if we don't always understand why He does what He does.

Each chapter ends with a prayer, and I often found myself making it my prayer. Read the book, and pray the prayers as you go along. Make them YOUR prayer to God, not just the author's prayer.
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