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Love in Hard Places Paperback – June 27, 2002

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books including Scandalous, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, and The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (June 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581344252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581344257
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. F Foster on January 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
It's hard to go wrong when a reader picks up a book written by D.A. Carson. His mastery of Biblical exposition and exegesis, coupled with a very keen awareness of contemporary culture, make him one of the most informed evangelical voices on matters of Christianity and the culture. This particular book does not disappoint.
This book's origin was a series of lectures that Carson gave just prior to the attacks of 9/11/01. Initially, the lectures were designed to address the very real and difficult situations that Christians find themselves in relative to exercising Christian love. This book takes much of the core lecture material and expounds upon it, particularly in regards to Christian love towards Bin Laden. It is a book that raises many difficult questions and seeks to find answers in Scripture that are defendable.
Carson begins by demonstrating the falsity of glib definitions of Christian love, and in doing so, demonstrates to the reader that Christian love is not a concept of bumper sticker simplicity, but is in fact a very involved and complex doctrine that a person could spend a lifetime studying and not totally get their arms around it. He then proceeds to take this doctrine of love as laid out most clearly by the two great commandments of Christ, and apply it to difficult real life issues where the church is arguably deficient.
There were many highlights in this book. Carson's examination of the doctrine of love itself is worth the price of the book. It was very refreshing to watch an elite Bible scholar meticulously analyze the doctrine of Christian love and showing what it is, and what it isn't. Carson has long been known for achieving the all too rare balance of taking the whole counsel of Scripture into account, while not stretching Scripture beyond what it says.
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Format: Paperback
Donald A. Carson, PhD is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. He has written or edited more than 45 books, covering commentaries, exposition, and philosophical analysis of postmodernism and devotional books. "Love in Hard Places" is an expansion from a series of his lectures at Oak Hill Theological College; birth forth from two or three sermons prepared for the annual meeting of the Overseas Missionary Fellowship in the United Kingdom. Its central theme, "love in hard places" focuses on situations where Christians find it most difficult to love (hence the title), rather than general Christian love.

"Love in Hard Places" follows from Dr. Carson's earlier work entitled "The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God". This earlier volume focuses on the five different ways the Bible speaks of the love of God, which Dr. Carson briefly summarized in chapter 1: intra-Trinitarian, providential, invitational, elective and conditional. In this book, the opening chapter takes a further look at the double commandment to love God and to love one's neighbor (Mark 12:28-34). Dr. Carson provides us with helpful insights on addressing the issue of "love in hard places", beginning with the first hard place - our own hearts and lives.

In the second chapter, Dr. Carson discusses Matthew 5:43-48 on loving the enemies. Distinction is being made between "little enemies" (Christian enemies) and "big enemies" (persecutors of Christians). In many instances in dealing with enemies within the church, forbearance driven by love is called for, instead of confrontation as per procedures set out in Matthew 18. Dr. Carson also addresses the issue on whether the love of Christians for Christians is an inferior love.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In preparing a Sunday school series on defining love, this book had a number of helpful discussions. It is important that the modern day church develop, articulate and live out a life of love modeled after our Savior.
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I read this book when it first came out, and a second reading shows that it hasn't dated in any way. Carson carefully works his way through the issues surrounding what Christian love is - and isn't - and shows how there are times when love requires more than something soft. There's a long section on just war theology, which, even though it talks about Osama bin Laden, is as relevant as when it was written.
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