31 May 2012

Vos on God's Love

Geerhardus Vos, in a 1902 address to Princeton Seminary as the school kicked off its 90th year, with words still relevant today:
No one will deny that in the Scriptural disclosure of truth the divine love is set forth as a most fundamental principle, nor that the embodiment of this principle in our human will and action forms a prime ingredient of that subjective religion which the Word of God requires of us.

But it is quite possible to overemphasize this one side of truth and duty as to bring into neglect other exceedingly important principles and demands of Christianity. The result will be that, while no positive error is taught, yet the equilibrium both in consciousness and life is disturbed and a condition created in which the power of resistance to the inroads of spiritual disease is greatly reduced. There can be little doubt that in this manner the one-sidedness and exclusiveness with which the love of God has been preached to the present generation is largely responsible for that universal weakening of the sense of sin, and the consequent decline of interest in the doctrines of atonement and justification, which even in orthodox and evangelical circles we all see and deplore.
--Geerhardus Vos, "The Scriptural Doctrine of the Love of God," in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos (ed. Richard Gaffin; P&R, 1980), 426

Takeaway: To seek to exalt God's love without placing it against the full range of who God is and must be nets out as a diminishing, not exaltation, of that love.

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