Reflections of the book Agape

Posted Apr 16, 2018 by Glenn Coopman in Everlasting Gospel Hits: 393

Having reached the half-way mark of the reading of Adrian Eben’s book, Agape, I feel impressed to add my voice to the others who are giving to it the tick of endorsement. Moreover, this is the second time I am reading the book, the first being via electronic format.

Whilst this book may not explain every single “difficult” text seemingly suggesting that God is arbitrary, vengeful, cruel and severe, it does equip the reader with tools with which to better understand the ways of our loving heavenly Father. How true these words of Scripture:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”  Isa 55:8,9  

It was probably 20 or so years ago now that I was given a book entitled, Behold Your God, by Br. Fred Wright which first stimulated my thinking along the lines that, yes, the passages in the O.T which portray God as a tyrant CAN be explained (and not excused!). But it requires of the reader effort and time to read "here a little, there a little", to compare scripture with scripture and to bring together ALL scripture relevant to the subject being studied in order for us to "weigh the evidence”(before pronouncing sentence!). One thing I remember about that book was Fred’s open admission that he did not have complete understanding of certain O.T passages which put God in a bad light. There was, he admitted, more to learn!

Circumstances then led me to the studies of Graham Maxwell. Again, I learned a great deal about the character of God. I well remember him too, saying something along these lines, "if you think you have come to a passage in the O.T which is hard to stomach, cheer up, for as you read on it will get worse!”  

Praise our Father, that within the covers of Agape many of those dark passages “hard to stomach” are given the light of day! I am moved to tears when such a fuller revelation of the beautiful character of God is given the exposure it not only deserves but which is desperately need by the world today!

“It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth." {COL 415.3}

"God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us. Yet these but imperfectly represent His love. Though all these evidences have been given, the enemy of good blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fear; they thought of Him as severe and unforgiving. Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,—one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men."  {SC 10.3}

On a more personal level, one of the salient teachings/facts that emerges from a study of God’s character of love is paradoxically, a better understanding of MY carnal nature! I firmly believe that when I read these words of Apostle Paul:

“If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” 1 Corin 8:2

that he is speaking to me concerning the scant knowledge of My carnal nature, my depravity. I thought I knew myself but, alas, I know nothing as I ought. WW1 was to be the war to end all wars. We have demonstrably proven that wrong. We do not know ourselves as we ought! Likewise, the depth of wickedness to which MY (carnal) heart could sink, given the chance, horrifies me. And THIS is the horror I see in these gruesome O.T passages. Little wonder we have all found it difficult to explain these passages; we have been looking into a mirror and seen ourselves!

How blessed I have been to have read Agape, and all of Adrian’s booklets leading up to the writing of it. It’s regrettable that men like Graham Maxwell and Fred Wright are no longer with us to read (no doubt voraciously!) this book and have the questions still in their minds at last answered! But, our attention must turn to the present. To now be able to share the GOOD NEWS about the Father and His Son in all their glory, to reveal to a dying world the TRUE character of God, surely must be our earnest desire and prayer!