'Rediscovering God's Love' by Frank Allred

Frank Allred writes with decades of ministerial experience, to redeem the doctrine of God’s love. Now retired from parish ministry (but still clearly active in ministry) he observes the decline in a biblical understanding of the love of God and writes to appeal to evangelicals to live up to the Bible’s teaching. Allred writes as one imagines he would preach, in an engaging style with illustrations that expound the text or passage in view.

The premise for this volume is that ‘the current emphasis on the love of God to the exclusion of his holiness and justice is robbing the gospel of its meaning’ (p. 111). It seems that some ministers under the delusion that an impenitent person can embrace the gospel and learn of sin and repentance later on, when we have gained their confidence. This is of course ridiculous (p. 17).

Again, it appears that ‘as Evangelicals we ... allow ourselves to be influenced by those who think doctrinal clarity is not important’ (p. 27). Allred writes therefore to defend a biblical doctrine of God’s love. Seventeen chapters in Part One correct imbalances by teaching on doctrines touched by the love of God, such as grace, election, justification, sin, repentance to name but a few. Against not a few I wrote ‘defence of classic evangelical position’ for that is what the reader is given, in an accessible and empathetic manner. Each chapter is topical, although starting from a single text or passage, and would work well as a talk or sermon.

Part Two consists of an exposition in five chapters of the Practice of Christian love. An appendix addresses ‘what is an Evangelical’. The author writes to address Evangelicals and comes across therefore as ‘preaching to the choir’. This may not be as great a disadvantage as first strikes the eye. If we substitute ‘younger Christians in ministry’ for ‘choir’ (who may also be younger Christians active in ministry, of course), then the value of this book emerges: Christians who are willing consciously to grow up as evangelicals will find a sympathetic and warm exposition of our classic and foundational doctrines.

While there is only a little engagement with current trends and this book is not sparring with current thinkers, it does consolidate ordinary, soul-saving evangelical Christianity. And heart-warming it is too.

Ed Moll, Churchman (Spring 2007)