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Love in Hard Places [Paperback]

By D. A. Carson (Author)
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Item description for Love in Hard Places by D. A. Carson...

D.A. Carson focuses on the aspects of Christian love that are not easy, such as loving your enemies and forgiving those who have hurt you. Whether the wounds come at the hands of a stranger in a distant land, from the neigbor next door, or from someone inside your home, this book helps you understand what biblical love is... and is not. As the author sorts through the diverse ways in which Scripture speaks of Christian love, he shows how that love reflects God's own love. You'll see how to love wisely and well, faithfully and biblically in heartwarming situations - how to love even in the hardest places in life.

Publishers Description

Too often the Christian version of popular culture's sentimental view of love is that, of all things, Christians should be nice. After all, people ask, isn't the Church about forgiveness? Aren't Christians supposed to love others without condition?

This book not only focuses on the aspects of Christian love that are not easy-such as when it comes to loving our enemies, and even forgiving those loved ones who have hurt us-but also helps readers understand, then, what biblical love really is. As author D. A. Carson points out, thinking seriously about Christian love soon embroils us in reflection on justice, revenge, war, the authority of the state, forgiveness, hate, and much more. This book shows some of the important ways in which the love of Christians is a reflection of the love of God, and enables believers to develop an appropriate understanding of how to love in the hard places of life.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Crossway Books
Pages   207
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.4" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.55 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 27, 2002
Publisher   Crossway Books/Good News
ISBN  1581344252  
ISBN13  9781581344257  

Availability  0 units.

More About D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson

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 a cofounder of the Gospel Coalition and has written or edited nearly 120 books. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

TIMOTHY KELLER is founder and pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York. He is the best-selling author of The Prodigal God and The Reason for God.

Thabiti M. Anyabwile (MS, North Carolina State University) serves as a pastor at Anacostia River Church in Washington, DC, and is the author of numerous books. He serves as a council member of the Gospel Coalition, is a lead writer for 9Marks Ministries, and regularly blogs at The Front Porch and Pure Church. He and his wife, Kristie, have three children.

Mike Bullmore (PhD, Northwestern University) serves as the senior pastor of Crossway Community Church in Bristol, Wisconsin. He was formerly professor of homiletics/practical theology and department chair at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. Mike lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his wife, Beverly. They have three children.

Bryan Chapell is the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Peoria, Illinois. He is also the host of a daily half-hour radio Bible teaching program, Unlimited Grace, and the founder and chairman of Unlimited Grace Media ( Bryan previously served as the president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, and is the author of a number of books, including Holiness by Grace.

ANDREW M. DAVIS (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Durham, NC. In addition to his PhD, he also holds an MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He served as a church planter in Japan from 1994 to 1998.

Kevin DeYoung (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church (PCA) in East Lansing, Michigan. He serves as a council member at the Gospel Coalition and blogs at DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed. He serves as Chancellor's Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and is a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. He is the author of several books, including Just Do Something, Crazy Busy, and The Biggest Story. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children.

Ligon Duncan (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is the chancellor & CEO and the John E. Richards Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. He previously served as the senior minister of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, for seventeen years. He is a cofounder of Together for the Gospel, a senior fellow of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and was the president of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals from 2004-2012. Duncan has edited, written, or contributed to numerous books. Ligon and his wife, Anne, have two children and live in Jackson, Mississippi.

Richard D. Phillips (DD, Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is the senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He chairs the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology and coedits the Reformed Expository Commentary. He is also a chairman of the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, a council member of the Gospel Coalition, and a trustee of Westminster Theological Seminary.

Philip Graham Ryken (DPhil, University of Oxford) is the eighth president of Wheaton College. Formerly, he served as senior minister of Philadelphia's historic Tenth Presbyterian Church. He has written or edited more than 40 books, including the popular title Loving the Way Jesus Loves, and has lectured and preached at universities and seminaries worldwide.

Tim Savage (PhD, University of Cambridge; ThM, Dallas Theological Seminary) has been senior pastor of Camelback Bible Church in Paradise Valley, Arizona, since 1988. Tim and his wife have two adult sons.

COLIN S. SMITH is the senior pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, IL, where he has been since 1996. He is the author of The 10 Greatest Struggles of Your Life and can be heard on his Unlocking the Bible broadcast with Moody radio.

Sam Storms (PhD, University of Texas at Dallas) has spent more than four decades in ministry as a pastor, professor, and author. He is currently the senior pastor at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and was previously a visiting associate professor of theology at Wheaton College from 2000 to 2004. He is the founder of Enjoying God Ministries and blogs regularly at

Stephen Um (PhD, University of St. Andrews) serves as the senior minister of Citylife Church in Boston, Massachusetts. He also serves as a council member for the Gospel Coalition. Stephen lives in Boston, Massachusetts, with his wife, Kathleen, and their three daughters.

Sanders (Sandy) L. Willson (DD, Crichton College) has been the senior minister at Second Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee since 1995. Sandy is a cofounder of the Memphis Center for Urban Theological Studies as well as a cofounder and chair of the Nexus leadership mentoring program. He also serves on the boards of the Gospel Coalition, World Relief, Union University, and Reformed Theological Seminary. Sandy and his wife, Allison, have five children and ten grandchildren.

D. A. Carson currently resides in Deerfield, in the state of Illinois. D. A. Carson was born in 1959.

D. A. Carson has published or released items in the following series...
  1. 9Marks
  2. Bible Savvy
  3. Expositor's Bible Commentary (Paperback)
  4. Gospel Coalition
  5. Gospel Coalition Booklets
  6. Justification and Variegated Nomism
  7. Pillar New Testament Commentary
  8. Re: Lit Books
  9. Theology in Community

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Theology > Theology & Doctrine > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Love in Hard Places?

Great  Oct 20, 2008
D.A. Carson does a great job looking at the hard questions related to love and forgiveness. He ask questions I would not have thought about and looks at the Word to respond. I have learned a great deal from this book.
Serious contemplation of what love is  Apr 30, 2006
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. The attacks of "big enemies", apart from physical or of violent nature; often include mental, emotional and intellectual persecutions. Dr. Carson expresses that we should not only expect persecution but we should love our enemies, our persecutors, and pray for them. It is not easy until we extend our reflections from the diverse ways the Bible speaks of love to the diverse ways the Bible speaks of forgiveness.

Over the next two chapters, Dr. Carson devotes the book to the issue of forgiveness. The first part (chap. 3) deals with the basics of Christian love and forgiveness. It is important to recognize the distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation. Forgiveness is an obligation of love for all Christians but reconciliation, while it is the desired end, can only be realized by the repentance of the offending party. The second part (chap. 4) takes on two hard cases: racism and Osama Bin Laden. In the latter, the just war theory and what Christian love looks in these areas are being discussed.

The final two chapters deal with love and the denial of the gospel (chap. 5) and love and the intoxication of the diligent routine (chap 6). The fifth chapter looks at love and correction, as in the case of Paul's rebuke of Peter in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-21). The sixth chapter concludes with the lessons from the church in Ephesus on how not to forsake our first love for Christ and "succumb to numbing, resolute faithfulness" (p. 184).

"Love in Hard Places" is immensely practical and reflective. Though a little `heavy' for a layman, it is nevertheless, a highly recommended book for serious contemplation of God's love and our responsibility to love as Christians. Reflect on it and live it!
Possibly the best Christian book written in 2002  Jan 29, 2003
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. So many evangelicals, even evangelical scholars, tend to lose their balance either through practicing Biblical reductionism or Biblical expansionism. Carson does neither, and the reader therefore gains confidence that this is a scholar who is truly seeking the truth responsibly within the confines of Scripture.

Carson's discussion of racism and church discipline are very good. But I thought the most provocative section of the book was his discussion on Osama Bin Ladan and the whole area of just war theory and what Christian love looks like in these areas. Carson raises many good questions in this section that both hardened pacifists and hardened advocates for war will find difficult to deal with. But I agree with Carson that these questions need to be asked and thoughtfully explored. Given the current state of international affairs, this section of the book is about as timely and relevant as one could ask for. Christians in particular should read this very carefully.

So in short, this book is thoughtful, practical, insightful, caring, and deeply relevant for our times today. Given that so much of the modern American church is out of step with what Carson says in regards to Christian love, it's hard for me to recommend any other book written in the past year as highly as I recommend this one. It is hoped that this book will achieve a wide readership and that both liberal and conservative Christians will pay attention to Carson here. The church, and therefore the world, will be much better off.


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