The best books make no claim to carry new ideas or truth. Rather, they help us both to see and to feel timeless truth afresh. Such is the recent release God So Loved, He Gave by Kelly Kapic. It is one of the best books I’ve read in years.
Its language is rich, even poetic at times, yet always crisp and lucid. The ideas and exposition are profound, sometimes mind-stretching, yet surprisingly accessible. Woven within Kapic’s own reflections and analysis are insights and quotes from an immense range of thinkers, from early church fathers and Reformation giants to modern novelists and musicians. Most importantly, Kapic consistently connects lofty truths to tangible applications in the daily life of a follower of Christ.
A major theme in my own faith walk in recent years has been the realization that, over the long haul, it is Gospel alone that can animate and sustain us to address the brokenness and pain around us. In short, the world’s great need will always outstrip our motivation to address it if we are driven by duty, guilt or enthusiasm alone. As explored in the article, Crossing the Sahara, only if we are motivated first by a soul-deep sense of God’s love for us can we carry forward through the great deserts of human need—whether serving orphans or addressing other pressing aches. This was also the theme of the simple welcome video at Summit VI and also of this year’s Orphan Sunday video.
God So Loved explores the depths of this theme better than any book I’ve ever encountered. It lay bare how sin causes us to embrace the lies of self-ownership and grasping materialism. It visits the joyful unburdening of giving. Ultimately, it helps us—as captured in the book’s subtitle—to “enter the movement of divine generosity.” This is an invitation to a deeper and more self-denying giving than we’d hear from most pulpits in America. Yet the motivation is never guilt, duty or idealism; it is an vivifying sense of God’s pursuing, providing and sustaining love.
One could say that God So Loved is an answer to Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:18. It helps us to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” That’s the reality that this remarkable book draws us into, leading us not merely to abstract conclusions, but to a faith that both sacrifices and rejoices, bleeds and dances in the light of God’s great love for us.