Book Review: God so Loved, He Gave by Kelly Kapic
Kelly Kapic, God So Loved, He Gave (Grand Rapids: Zondervan), 288pp. Hardback. $13.15.
In today’s environment where mercy ministries are all the craze, one often finds that the Gospel and the Ministry are conspicuously missing. In his new book, God so Loved, He Gave, Kelly Kapic does a masterful job of avoiding common pitfalls by showing that mercy, generosity, and ministry, are not products of people’s imagination. Rather, they are products of God’s divine generosity towards his people who become conduits of his love and mission to bless the nations.
Kapic begins by challenging the illusion of personal rights and autonomy by drawing attention to the fact that as Creator of all things, God actually owns all things, including all people. Thus salvation of his people is where God himself “reclaims ownership by paying an exorbitant price for what was already his” (pg70 italics orig). In this light Kapic explains that the Church does not belong to any person or people group, and neither does the Church’s mission of extending into all the world. Instead the Church is from, through, and to God himself; mankind is generously brought into this work midstream as a means of being blessed and being a blessing.
The most significant distinction of this book is how the Gospel is kept center stage throughout. While calling for Godly living, Kapic biblically shows that people do not earn their way to heaven through good works or through any form of a mercy ministry program. Quite the contrary it is only once we have freely received God’s unmerited mercy and grace through Christ that we are then capable to truly love others in a generous and godly manner. One of the most beautiful arguments Kapic makes is to show that since we are made in the image of God, we are like him and should thus imitate him. To do this we must constantly look to Christ. Not trying to mimic his exact actions but to reenact the virtue of generously loving God and neighbor. It is only once we truly understand the generosity that we have received in Christ that we can then begin to imitate our Savior and love others.
One element that some will find missing is a clear explanation of the Law of God. As part of the overall biblical message the Law continues to display the will of God for our lives. But this might be viewed as a benefit in a book so strongly exhorting people to heed the Gospel message in word and deed. For it makes sure that Law and Gospel cannot be confused.
As an overall work it would be hard to recommend this book more highly for all Christians. Whether you are finishing a PhD in biblical studies or hearing for the first time what it means to live as a Christian, Kapic’s book displays God’s divine generosity as the only foundation for the Christian’s life and love for others. The Church’s problem is not that more programs are needed, but that Christian’s need to take seriously God’s generosity.