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The Love That Is God: An Invitation to Christian Faith

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 “God is love is the radical claim of Christianity,” writes Frederick Bauerschmidt at the beginning of this little meditation on the essentials of Christian faith. In a rich yet accessible style reminiscent of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton, Bauerschmidt breathes life back into that claim, drawing from Scripture, great Christian and non-Christian writers of the past, and  “God is love is the radical claim of Christianity,” writes Frederick Bauerschmidt at the beginning of this little meditation on the essentials of Christian faith. In a rich yet accessible style reminiscent of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton, Bauerschmidt breathes life back into that claim, drawing from Scripture, great Christian and non-Christian writers of the past, and his own lived experience to show just how countercultural and subversive Christianity is actually meant to be. Eschewing the abstract and dogmatic in favor of the relational and inviting, he offers something for everyone, from lifelong churchgoers and students of religion to the growing population of “nones” among younger generations who are increasingly seeking spiritual fulfillment outside of institutional Christianity.  With further reading suggestions (both scriptural and nonscriptural) at the end of each chapter, The Love That Is God is the perfect starting point of a spiritual journey into deeper relationship with God.


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 “God is love is the radical claim of Christianity,” writes Frederick Bauerschmidt at the beginning of this little meditation on the essentials of Christian faith. In a rich yet accessible style reminiscent of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton, Bauerschmidt breathes life back into that claim, drawing from Scripture, great Christian and non-Christian writers of the past, and  “God is love is the radical claim of Christianity,” writes Frederick Bauerschmidt at the beginning of this little meditation on the essentials of Christian faith. In a rich yet accessible style reminiscent of C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton, Bauerschmidt breathes life back into that claim, drawing from Scripture, great Christian and non-Christian writers of the past, and his own lived experience to show just how countercultural and subversive Christianity is actually meant to be. Eschewing the abstract and dogmatic in favor of the relational and inviting, he offers something for everyone, from lifelong churchgoers and students of religion to the growing population of “nones” among younger generations who are increasingly seeking spiritual fulfillment outside of institutional Christianity.  With further reading suggestions (both scriptural and nonscriptural) at the end of each chapter, The Love That Is God is the perfect starting point of a spiritual journey into deeper relationship with God.

30 review for The Love That Is God: An Invitation to Christian Faith

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt Moser

    This is perhaps one of the best introductions to Christianity that I’ve ever read. One of the endorsements for the book says “It made me want to become a Christian all over again.” We might think this sentiment is mere marketing, an over indulgent praise to sell more copies. But it isn’t. I had the same reaction as I read. This is a masterpiece and a future classic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Roy Howard

    It is not uncommon for someone to ask a pastor for a book that will describe the Christian faith in a compelling manner. The answer for such a request varies and many pastors stumble for the right one. The Love That is God grew out of such a request. The author offered a sermon that laid out the Christian faith in five beautifully written movements focused on John’s assertion that God is love. In response, a parishioner asked to share that sermon with one considering Christianity. (It’s included It is not uncommon for someone to ask a pastor for a book that will describe the Christian faith in a compelling manner. The answer for such a request varies and many pastors stumble for the right one. The Love That is God grew out of such a request. The author offered a sermon that laid out the Christian faith in five beautifully written movements focused on John’s assertion that God is love. In response, a parishioner asked to share that sermon with one considering Christianity. (It’s included as the epilogue.) Bauerschmidt acknowledges that being a Christian is difficult - always - because the heart of the faith proclaims what is astonishing: God is Love and this Love is crucified so that all humanity may experience the fullness of life. It’s a shocking proclamation, yet no one in recent times has written a more compelling case for its truth than the author. “This book,” he says, “attempts to make the case that the difficulties are worth it. ... Because the fundamental affirmations of Christianity can be a source of love and joy and meaning, even amid the difficulty.” Bauerschmidt has an eloquence that will remind some of C.S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” or Rowan Williams’ “Being Christian.” He is a good listener, refraining from judgment on those who question the audacious claims of Christianity. He admits the failures and flaws of its practitioners and of the church. Nevertheless, what shines forth brightly is his vision of the Love that is God. At the conclusion of the book, I was so encouraged that I wanted it to continue. I realized that the sum of the Christian faith from creation to mission to eschatology, including the communion of the Saints had been beautifully laid before me. Stanley Hauerwas said this book is bound to be a classic. I agree. When someone asks me for an introduction to the Christian faith, without hesitation I will give them this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Travis Lowe

    There’s much to appreciate about this book. The language is beautiful and often times Bauerschmidt’s insights are fresh and moving. It is certainly the sort of book that someone who has been a Christian for a long time will find rewarding. He seamlessly weaves together scripture and the writings of the saints giving the reader of the traditions deep reflection on the theme of God’s love. With all of that being said. I found his treatment of God’s crucified love to be lackluster, and probably the There’s much to appreciate about this book. The language is beautiful and often times Bauerschmidt’s insights are fresh and moving. It is certainly the sort of book that someone who has been a Christian for a long time will find rewarding. He seamlessly weaves together scripture and the writings of the saints giving the reader of the traditions deep reflection on the theme of God’s love. With all of that being said. I found his treatment of God’s crucified love to be lackluster, and probably the weakest portion of the book. Bauerschmidt seems to be attempting to reject a guilt inducing reading of substitutionary atonement. That’s fair enough, there are plenty of bad articulations of PSA, and they deserve to be critiqued. More than that, there is much to be commended in other theories of atonement such as Christus Victor. But in his critique of PSA the author also misses the way in which the self substitution of God actually enhances our vision of God’s love. Ultimately, I don’t think this chapter really offers any illumination into how Christ was crucified for us rather than simply crucified by us. With that being said, “The Love That Is God” is a helpful little meditation on divine love. But likely not one I would give to a new believer or someone exploring the faith. It seems more helpful as a resource to bring fresh insight for those who have walked with Jesus at length, and grown numb to the radical claim that God is love.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Evan Hill

    It's not quite the approachable introduction to the faith that it is billed to be, but the central argument is a beautiful one. I especially appreciated the chapter on church: "The church, rather than being an association of like-minded people, is more likely to be a group of people you would never choose to be friends with if they were not also friends of Jesus." Dead-on. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, this is what has brought me back into the church and kept me there. It's not quite the approachable introduction to the faith that it is billed to be, but the central argument is a beautiful one. I especially appreciated the chapter on church: "The church, rather than being an association of like-minded people, is more likely to be a group of people you would never choose to be friends with if they were not also friends of Jesus." Dead-on. As counter-intuitive as it sounds, this is what has brought me back into the church and kept me there.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Don Verte

    Wonderful short book that is expansive and not narrow and helped me remember what’s great about following God

  6. 4 out of 5

    E.

    An eloquent and literary reflection on key elements of the Christian faith, primarily focused on love. Here is an example, "To love our enemies is to renounce the idea that we have it in our power to make history turn out right, to end all suffering, to banish all evil. To love our enemies is, in the end, to disarm ourselves of any weapons except the cross and the Spirit's gifts of faith, hope, and love." An eloquent and literary reflection on key elements of the Christian faith, primarily focused on love. Here is an example, "To love our enemies is to renounce the idea that we have it in our power to make history turn out right, to end all suffering, to banish all evil. To love our enemies is, in the end, to disarm ourselves of any weapons except the cross and the Spirit's gifts of faith, hope, and love."

  7. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Willis Pershey

    Exquisite theology. Beautiful writing. So simple, so profound. I’m as Protestant as they come, and yet there was really only one sentence in this book that felt explicitly/exclusively Roman Catholic; otherwise it was small-c catholic. Heartily recommend. Worth it for the epilogue alone.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    A wonderful reminder of the importance of love in Christianity, a topic that is all too often overlooked. He clearly lays out the importance of doing the hard work of love. Recommended readings are a bonus for anyone looking to go deeper (and include some incredible selections).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    Not so much a review but a few post-reading comments: Good, brief book. Refreshing, especially chapters one and four.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan Bartlett

  11. 5 out of 5

    Newt Crenshaw

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brady Hornstra

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jackson Wade

  14. 5 out of 5

    Luke

  15. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt Woodard

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peggy Lindsey

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kester

  19. 5 out of 5

    Unicorn7

  20. 4 out of 5

    Colleen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Timothy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joshua

  23. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  24. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Brown

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael Perry

  26. 4 out of 5

    Joni

  27. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex DeMarco

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