Monday, April 15, 2013

"Unconditional" love?

Justin Taylor summarizes David Powlison in "Why We Shouldn’t Settle for God’s “Unconditional Love." From that post:
...David Powlison suggests that people who use the term often have good intentions, wanting to affirm four interrelated truths:
  1. “Conditional love” is bad—unconditional is shorthand for the opposite of manipulation, demand, judgmentalism.
  2. God’s love is patient—unconditional is shorthand for hanging on for the long haul, rather than bailing out when the going gets rough.
  3. True love is God’s gift—unconditional is shorthand for unearned blessings, rather than legalism.
  4. God receives you just as you are: sinful, suffering, confused—unconditional is shorthand for God’s invitation to rough, dirty, broken people.
These are true—and precious. But...
.... God’s love is more than unconditional, for it is intended to change those who receive it. “Unconditional” often connotes “you’re okay.” But there is something wrong with you. The word “unconditional” may well express the welcome of God, but it does not well express the point of his welcome. ....
Powlison says, “We can do better”:
Saying “God’s love is unconditional love” is a bit like saying “The sun’s light at high noon is a flashlight in a blackout.”
Come again?
A dim bulb sustains certain analogies to the sun.
Unconditional love does sustain certain analogies to God’s love.
But why not start with the blazing sun rather than the flashlight? ....
God does not accept me just as I am;
He loves me despite how I am ....

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