07 April 2020

Who He Is

I am gentle and lowly in heart. –Jesus

In summer 2013 I read Thomas Goodwin on the heart of Christ. I still haven't picked myself up off the ground.

Over these past seven years I've been immersed in the Puritans, especially Goodwin but also extended seasons in Sibbes and Bunyan. I've done this alongside my dear friend Drew Hunter, who has been my constant companion on this journey into the heart of Jesus under Goodwin's coaching.

When the pressure hits a certain point, volcanoes have to erupt; and I hit a point a few years ago when I couldn't hold back the urge to put on paper what Goodwin and Co. have given me--messy, faltering, fearful me.

Crossway was willing to rally around it, and today the result is released. I called it Gentle and Lowly because those are Christ's almost unbelievable words in the one place in all four Gospels where he describes his heart. It's a short book with extremely short chapters, five or six pages each, because it needs thinking time. Time for wonder. For rejoicing and repenting. For tearing down the false Jesus we've erected and letting the real Christ stand forth in glory. I was astounded in my own life at how I could do a PhD in New Testament and write books and preach sermons and yet have a profoundly domesticated view of who Jesus is without realizing it. 

Basically the book is me joining some 400-year-old men in celebrating who Jesus most deeply, most naturally is, not for the innocent but the guilty, all according to the surprising testimony of Scripture.

This book is the answer to the question, So Dane, what were your 30s all about? What did you learn? 

It is not hard to find this wondrous teaching in the Puritans, and I've found it also in Edwards, Spurgeon, Warfield, and others. But we don't know it today. It's easy to find teaching on justification or adoption or the deity of Christ or the incarnation or a hundred other historic, vital doctrines.

But who's talking about his heart?

Perhaps you'd like to reconsider Jesus. Or maybe you're barely holding on. If so you can find the book at Amazon, Christian Book, Barnes and Noble, Reformation Heritage, or Westminster Bookstore (temporarily half off), or whatever retail outlet you use. Crossway has made available the introduction and chapter 1 if you'd like to take it for a test drive. I recorded the audiobook for it and that's now available too if you prefer to listen to books. Crossway also created a 14-day podcast, adapting the content.

Fatherlike he tends and spares us
Well our feeble frame he knows 
In his hand he gently bears us
Rescues us from all our foes
H. F. Lyte, 1834

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Purchased! Thank you.

Jared H said...

Dane, I wanted to first of all thank you for writing Gentle and Lowly. As a church planter who has been hounded with doubts about God's love for me for most of my Christian walk, your book has been used by God to help me meditate on His heart. I also have a question. I was saved out of nominal Christianity and I'm firmly Reformed in my theology so I have a high view of the sovereignty of God. One of the things that has still been difficult for me to grasp is how God could take no pleasure in the death of the wicked and yet also sovereignly elect only some for salvation.

You quote Edwards in chapter 15: "He had rather they should turn and continue in peace. He is well-pleased if they forsake their evil ways". While I know that God is God and I can't understand all of His ways, my mind immediately asks, "Well if that's the case then what do you do with the clear biblical teaching that God hardens the hearts of some like Pharaoh?"

I guess what I'm really asking is how does the sovereignty of God, particularly in salvation, square with the heart of God? And are there some other good resources from the Puritans you'd recommend I check out that may address this?

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment. And again thank you for writing this book. I want so badly "to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge" like Paul says in Ephesians 3. I'm praying that God continues to help me towards that end and I'm thankful for brothers like you that He's using to do so.

Pastor Dan Meiners said...

Dana, I am a retired pastor, who knew your grandparents well. I'm excited about this book. I am also starting to use "Gentle and Lowly" in my small group, now operating via Zoom. I'm wondering if you or anyone you know has written any study guide questions. If not, I would be willing to work on developing some. I would love to give you more information via email or any other means.

Unknown said...

oh my oh my oh my, what a book you have written
I'm making my way slowly in tears through my Kindle copy
three fourths of the way through, decided I've got to have hard copy to mark up and hold and dog-ear, etc.
thank you for taking the time to consume the words of those old Puritans
what incredibly juicy-rich revelation of God's massive, beautiful heart!
study guide questions, please

Unknown said...

Dane,

I have read your book and I have been stunned at how much my heart needed this. I have proceeded to pick up The Heart of Christ by Thomas Goodwin and I am saving up to buy his Works. I know you had mentioned some books in Gentle and Lowly like The Bruised Reed, Works of John Bunyan, and some others. I was wondering if you had any more suggestions of books in this same theme. I have greatly struggled with seeing the ability of Jesus to forgive but not necessarily the willingness to forgive.

As someone who is in ministry, I have also recognized that my students don't see this as well. I would love for my own heart to have more of an embrace of this Jesus so that I can also show them who He really is. I have already given out 30 copies of your book to friends, family, and students since finishing it. It's safe to say that it is the most impactful book that I have read in 10 years. All that to say, I would love to find more books (old and new) that show this Jesus.

Thank you!