3 Stars Out Of 5
One man's understanding of God's love
February 23, 2014
Oak Harbor, WA
Having read Prone to Love, it is my understanding that Jason Clark has come to an awareness of God's love that is available to every one of us. He came to this revelation of God's love over many years and wants to share it with his readers.
Our relationship with God is not to be based on need, Clark says. "Our Father does not need us nor is it His greatest desire that we need Him _ Need is not a reality in the Kingdom of heaven. We are called to live heaven here, now. The Christian life is about knowing and becoming love, and then meeting the needs of those around us with the love we have received from God. _ If need is the foundation of our relationship with God, we relegate ourselves to a poverty existence." (66) This book, he says, is an invitation to step away from the dysfunction of need, into the freedom, authority, and power of love.
I appreciate Clark's coming into a revelation God's love but I do have some questions.
Clark does not want our relationship with God to be based on need. Then what do we do with Paul writing that God told him God's power is made perfect in weakness? (2 Cor. 12:9) How do we explain Paul boasting about his weaknesses? What are we to think of Paul expressing his continued "need" for grace in his relationship to the Lord?
"God is love and His love is always good - always. That's my theology." (111) What do we mean by "good"? Does that mean, as Clark seems to say, that God would never do anything to hurt me? "God never instigates nor manipulates a tragedy to grow faith..." (146) What are we to think of Joseph's being sold slavery? How do we explain Joseph's statement that his brothers had meant the experience for harm, "but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives"? (Gen. 50:20) How do we understand that story where it seems God "used" or "manipulated" the evil of man (which caused Joseph some discomfort), for God's own greater good? How do we explain God "using" foreign nations to conquer Judah and Israel? What of Jeremiah 32:23 where Jeremiah says, "...they did not do what you commanded them to do. So you brought all this disaster on them"? How do we understand the prophecies of judgment upon Israel? How could those prophecies come to pass unless God, in some manner, instigated the act or at least manipulated the people causing the tragedy?
"God is always about freedom," Clark writes. (107) "[God] is never about control; He can't stand it." (109) What do we do with Proverbs 21:1 where it says, "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD, he turns it wherever he will"? (ESV) Or Proverbs 16:33, where it says we can cast the lots but the LORD determines how they fall? How do we explain Daniel 4:25 where it says God is sovereign over all the kingdoms of the earth and gives them to anyone he wishes? How do we explain the whole concept of fulfilled prophecy if God does not, in some sense, control people? "I absolutely believe God is sovereign," Clark writes, "but I won't use the word control to describe it." (148) How do we explain Paul writing about the clay and the potter in Romans 9:19-21?
Clark writes, "God is always about freedom." (107) How do we then live our Peter's instruction to, "Live as free people ... live as God's slaves"? (1 Peter 2:16) How do we live Paul's instruction in Ephesians 6:6 for us to live as slaves of Christ? And how do we explain Paul so frequently describing himself as a bond-servant (or slave) of the Lord?
"Did you know that both you and I are prone to love Him," Clark writes, "we are righteous, we are inherently good; when we said yes to God our actual DNA became holy?" (161) "Dear church, I would like to suggest that we are holy by nature. Our DNA changed the moment we said yes to Jesus..." (164) "We are no longer sinners." (166) How do we explain Paul writing that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; "of whom I am chief"? (1 Tim. 1:15) Why did Paul use the present tense? What do we do with John saying if we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves? (1 John 1:8) How am I to understand Paul writing about disciplining his body, training it to do what it should? (1 Cor. 9:27) What do I do with Romans 7:15 where Paul shares his own struggles with sin, hating what he sometimes did?
Clark quotes Ephesians 2:4-5 and concludes, "This verse says it all. We were sinners is past tense." (192) How am I to understand that, when I've looked up several translations and they all say we "were dead in our transgressions"? It says we were dead and now we are no longer dead. How do I extrapolate that to conclude that I am no longer a sinner?
What do I do with the passage in Hebrews 4 where the writer says it is sometimes for our "good" that we experience pain? How do I understand his statements about God disciplining those He loves? Is it true that God treating us as children means enduring hardship? (Heb. 4:7) Is this hardship for our "good," in order that we might share in His holiness? (Heb. 4:10) And what about the writer of Hebrews saying the discipline is painful but produces a harvest of righteousness for those trained by it? (Heb. 4:11) How can that be if a Christian's DNA is holy? Why would one need to be trained in righteousness?
Clark says that he believes the point of his life is "to know His love and become transformed." (188) What do we do with Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 10:31 that we are to do all to the glory of God? Is Paul saying that glorifying God is the most important point of our life? Should my focus be on me knowing God's love or on my giving glory to God?
Jason Clark has received a revelation of God's love toward him. He may have received a revelation Christians have missed for two thousand years. But there are also many questions from passages of Scripture that are left unanswered.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through the Book Group Network for the purpose of this review.