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Unconditional Love and Acceptance?

Biblical Discernment Ministries

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Eph. 1:6 — To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.

Among the stellar emotional needs of humanistic psychology are unconditional acceptance, unconditional self-regard, unconditional self-acceptance, and unconditional love. The usual meaning of the word unconditional is "without conditions or reservations; absolute." The practical extension of the theories of unconditional love is a permissive attitude and a morally nonrestrictive atmosphere. That means no conditions or restrictions in child rearing, counseling, and other human relationships. It must be an absolute love, unrestricted by human feelings or failings, since the very meaning of the word is "absolute."

But, if there is any absolute when it comes to love, it is that human love is limited. It is not what it was originally created to be, even in the best of people and circumstances, except when Jesus Himself is loving in and through a person.

Humanistic psychologists Alfred Adler and Abraham Maslow considered these "unconditionals" to be basic human needs, essential to a person's sense of well-being. They taught that people need to be loved and accepted unconditionally -- without any conditions of performance. Thus, their followers also teach and encourage all people to love and accept themselves unconditionally.

Men such as Adler, Maslow, and Rogers believed that a human being would find answers to his own dilemmas and naturally blossom into his best self in an atmosphere of unconditional love and acceptance (by which they meant a permissive, unstructured atmosphere). Nevertheless, as much as they would like to think that they themselves loved their clients unconditionally, the truth of the matter is this: people are NOT able to love unconditionally.

The Myth of Unconditional Love

Unconditional love is a myth. That is because humans are naturally self-biased and the human heart is so deceitful that one can fool himself into thinking that he is loving unconditionally, when in fact he has all kinds of conditions. For instance, what kind of "unconditional" love is at work when the psychiatrist's client can no longer pay for services and therapy is discontinued?


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Unconditional love cannot be based upon performance or it wouldn't be unconditional. Therefore, it must be based on the intrinsic worth of the person. Paul Brownback, in his book The Danger of Self-Love, explains it this way:

"... by unconditional love we are speaking of love on the basis of being rather than doing. One implication of this teaching is the place of grandeur that it gives to the human being. I am lovable just because I am human; therefore being human, in and of itself, regardless of what I do with my humanness, must have some sort of independent value or worth. It is by itself a sufficient claim to respect and esteem" (p. 66).

Thus, according to the self theories, everyone is born with the right to receive unconditional love and unconditional acceptance throughout his entire life, no matter what!

James Dobson, one of the chief proponents of unconditional love, believes that all people need it. Dobson declares: "I'm convinced the human spirit craves this kind of unconditional love and experiences something akin to 'soul hunger' when it cannot be achieved." Then as an extra bonus, Dobson brings God in as the primary person who gives this unconditional love and acceptance -- he says "God's acceptance is unconditional." Dobson is not alone in that conclusion. A host of well-respected professing Christian leaders describe God's love as unconditional.

Pastors should have been alert to the subtleties of deception that would turn a believer's eyes from God to self. But alas, rather than warning the sheep, many of the "shepherds" have joined the psychologists and embrace their teachings of unconditional love and acceptance.

Fallen Away

The basis for their eager embrace is a misunderstanding of "the love of Christ which passeth knowledge" (Eph. 3:19). They equate unconditional love and acceptance with the fact that God's love is vast, unfathomable, and unmerited. Then they follow that with the idea that if God loves and accepts people unconditionally, they should also love and accept themselves unconditionally. While this may sound like a logical progression, there are some serious problems with the basic assumptions.

Therefore, we must address the question: Is God's love unconditional? Or are there any conditions that must be met to become a recipient of His love?

Paul prayed that the believers in Ephesus would be able to comprehend the length, width, depth, and height of God's love. He desired that they know the love of Christ, which surpasses knowledge, so that they would be filled with the fullness of God (Eph. 3:16-19). The wide expanse of God's love has been the theme of the gospel throughout the ages, for to know His love is to know Him. Therefore, any consideration of His love is highly important and must be based upon His revelation of Himself rather than upon the imagination of men.

Love According to Secular Humanism

Ever since the rise of secular humanism in this country, and especially since the establishment of humanistic psychology, the popular, "relevant" term to describe God's love has been unconditional. The thrust of this word in humanistic psychology has been both to give and to expect unconditional love from one another with no strings attached. While unconditional love and acceptance supposedly promote change and growth, they make no requirements. But God, who is love, requires change and enables his children to grow in righteousness.

In humanistic psychology, parents and society are always the culprits. Since they believe that every person is born with intrinsic worth and innate goodness, psychologists contend that one main reason people experience emotional and behavioral problems is because they have not received unconditional love from their parents. Following that thesis, Christians have come to believe that the best kind of love is unconditional love. It is the highest love secular humanists know. It is touted as a love that makes no demands for performance, good behavior, or the like. It has also been associated with a kind of permissiveness, since it makes no demands and has no conditions, even though the promoters of the unconditional love jargon would say that unconditional love does not have to dispense with discipline.

God's Love Revealed through Scripture

Because the concept of unconditional love permeates society and because it is often thought of as the highest form of human love, it is natural for a Christian to mistakenly use this term to describe God. After all, His love is far greater than any human love imaginable. God's love for humanity is so great that "He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). Oh, the magnitude of the cost! We cannot even fathom His love even though our very breath depends upon it! His love indeed reaches to the heights and depths. But again, is God's love truly unconditional?

God's love is available to human beings by grace alone. There is nothing that men can do to earn that love. There is no good work that is either demanded or even possible. But does that make God's love unconditional? "That whosoever will" is most certainly not a work, but it is a condition. Otherwise we would end up with universalism (all people saved) rather than salvation by grace received through faith.

God chooses upon whom He will place His love and the benefits of His love. Did Jesus ever imply that God's love is unconditional? He said to His disciples:

"He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him" (John 14:21).

One might argue that the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11ff) proves unconditional love (as Charles Stanley teaches). It indeed illustrates the vastness of God's love, forgiveness, and longsuffering. However, the son repented! If he had a prosperous evil life he may never have repented. And while the father would have waited and hoped, he would not have extended his love. After all, he did not go out searching for him to support his folly.

Up to a point, this seems to indicate unconditional love, and yet, God is not waiting in ignorance, not knowing what those for whom His Son died might be doing. It is difficult enough to understand God's love without adding the term unconditional love which is loaded with secular, humanistic, psychological connotations. The story of the prodigal son teaches grace, forgiveness and mercy -- but unconditional love? No!

While God loves with a greater love than humans can comprehend, His holiness and justice also must be taken into consideration. Therefore, the term unconditional love is inadequate for defining God. It does not account for God's reaction to pompous men who devise plans against Him and His anointed. The psalmist goes so far as to say:

"He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak to them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure" (Psalm 2:4-5).

And what about Lot's wife as she turned to look at the smoldering cities? Or what about Jesus' words to the cities that refused to repent? Does this sound like unconditional love?:

"Woe to thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell ... it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee" (Matthew 11:21-24).

Conclusion

But perhaps one could say that God's love for the Christian is unconditional since the Christian partakes of His love and grace through faith. Wouldn't it be better to say that the conditions have been met? Jesus met the first condition, to wash away the sin that God hates. The believer meets the second condition, but only by God's grace through faith.

Or perhaps it would be better to say that God's love extended to a person is conditioned by His plan to give eternal life to those whom He has enabled to believe on His Son. The conditions of God's love are resident within Himself. As our opening Bible verse says: He hath MADE us accepted!

There is a strong temptation to use vocabulary that is popular in society in order to make Christianity sound relevant. Christians have something far better than what the world offers, but in expressing that good news, they confuse people by using words that are already loaded with humanistic connotations and systems of thought. It would be better not to use the expression unconditional love when describing God's love. There are plenty of other good words (1 John 4:9, 10, 16):

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ...

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

The incomprehensible magnitude of God's love surpasses any concept of love devised by humanistic psychologists. The doctrine of unconditional love is a myth that glorifies man rather than God.


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God's love is unconditional
A God who commands his children to love their enemies, in order to be like their Father in Heaven (Luke 6:35) is clearly a God who loves unconditionally. The various conditions this article mentions such as the act of 'believing' in John 3:16 are the conditions to enjoy and experience God's love. Actually I would not even use the word condition. I see it as deterrents coming in the way of God's unconditional love flowing into a person's life. God's love for his people doesn't change. As it says in Eph Chp 1, God has loved us before creation. It's when the eyes of a person is opened and he invites God into His life that the person can enjoy the goodness of God's love. God's love for the person was always there. By removing the deterrent, the person can enjoy God's love. This is very different from fulfilling conditions before God can start loving you. Hence, I would agree with the phrase God's love is unconditional.
#1 - matt - 04/10/2010 - 11:22
God's love is NOT unconditional, In my opinion.
I totally agree with this. Yes God loved us before we were created and will always love us, but there are conditions to getting into heaven. The bible tells us to believe in Christ but we must also follow his commandments. Everyone WILL suffer Gods wrath when the judgment day comes. If God's love is unconditional then why would He give us the 10 commandments and other rules to follow in the bible? There would be no use for them, people would be allowed to walk around doing whatever they please because in the end it wouldn't matter because God loves them unconditionally. I murdered someone so what God loves me anyway, I stole something, so what God loves me anyway, ect.. that is not what God teaches in the Bible. God will only forgive if you repent and ask for forgiveness and you must also turn away from sin, you can not just repent and think oh now I can go out and do the same thing over and over again cause I will repent and all will be good. Personally I don't think the Lord works that way.
#2 - Jennifer - 05/23/2010 - 11:09
Let me change my last posting
After much thought and talking with others it's not God's love that is conditional but salvation is.
#3 - Jennifer - 05/23/2010 - 17:54
Interesting
On the surface, I first thought God's love to be conditional. But after a quick reading of other commentaries, I would agree that His grace is NOT conditional, but the benefits of said gift is. To put it in simple terms...our decision to receive or reject the gift determines the outcome of its efficacy. God unconditionally bestows BOTH his love and his grace upon us. Rejection of His grace will bring judgment, acceptance of his gift brings mercy and redemption. How much simpler can it get?
#4 - Hyper Calvin and Hobbes - 03/19/2011 - 09:35
Rather actually! God will only forgive if you repent and ask for forgiveness and you must also turn away from sin, you can not just repent and think oh now I can go out and do the same thing over and over again cause I will repent and all will be good. Personally I don't think the Lord works that way.
#5 - Rencontre femmes russes - 04/14/2011 - 12:51
God Is Love
God's love is unconditional, ever-present, unchanging and omnipotent. However, we will will only experience it in as much as we understand and accept it, which, of course, we can't do if we are being self-centered and self-serving. God is unchanging... He doesn't have mood swings. God IS love... but the people who are not in tune / in touch with God, will not be experiencing that love. After all, their thoughts are not on God or love...
#6 - Through Spirit - 04/14/2011 - 15:59
Mrs
Forgiveness is only way for christians if we dont forgive we develop lots of deceases.Forgiveness is a process.
God's love is unconditional! Absolutely! But then, we have to consider that the Promise is "write His Laws on our hearts!" It is really about the assurance of faith, the evidence of faith. Not conditional. He is our assurance of hope. He is the evidence of our faith. Be loved. Be assured. He will write His Laws upon your heart. Not by works, but by faith. Knowing that it is not our own works. Not as if we can be proud of ourselves. That no man may boast. Get over yourselves. Jesus said, "Be as your Father in Heaven; for He sends the rain on the evil and the good".
#8 - Jane - 07/18/2011 - 16:23
Noah Webster's Dictionary;alphbetically, under "C"--conditional!!!!!!!!!!
I was seriously dumb-founded after reading the article "The Myth of Unconditional Love." How could anyone read this and then write a reply and say they still adhere to the belief that God's love is unconditional???? I have been a Catholic all my life. Catholic Grammar School, Catholic High School and Catholic College. I don't profess to know the Bible totally. I can't quote Scripture. Chapter and Verse; but, if there is one thing I do know that is Change, being Born Again, Repentance, etc., etc., are all based on conditions.What were the PROPHETS talking about? Good God Almighty! Why did Moses receive the Ten Commandments? Why were the Israelites brought out of Egypt? And numerous examples in the New Testament! Mary Magdalene a prime example. Did Jesus say to her, "Mary, you are a prostitute. Well you must of had a hard life; guess, your parents didn't pay much attention to you; didn't love you enough. I love and accept you, don't be sorry, it's not your fault. Come on, get real! He said, "Repent, get up off the dirt, change your evil ways and then I will love you." All these examples are loaded with conditions!!! Take this silly example. If you had a friend who always borrowed money from you and never gave it back, always had an excuse. Would you still have a loving relationship with him? Or would you finally say, "Look you, if you don't start paying me back (condition, condition, condition) I will no longer be your friend." Can't love a person like that, can you? I never reply to these kind of things; but, guys this is down right COMMON SENSE!!! And just think, we have the ANTICHRIST to worry about! God Help Us!!! Amen
#9 - Ben Bonacci - 08/26/2011 - 21:58
Well reasoned
This article was well-reasoned and clear. Why invent a word to describe God's love which only causes more confusion?

God loves His enemies because of their ignorance and need. Once they hear the truth and reject it, then His love can't reach them anymore. There are many verses in the Psalms which speak of how God hates the wicked. I presume this is applying to those who have rejected the truth, because generally, God does love "the world," but mainly because of their ignorance and need. So if there is a class of people that the Bible says "God hates" then it must be those who have rejected His love.

God's love and hate are two sides of the same coin: He loves righteousness and hates wickedness. Therefore, if His love is unconditional, then His hate must be also...you can quickly see that this cannot be practically applied! How could He love unconditionally and hate unconditionally at the same time?! Impossible.
#10 - Frank Z. - 11/19/2011 - 21:59
GOD'S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL. THE LAW GIVEN TO MOSES WAS NOT GIVEN FOR THE THEM TO FULFIL SO THAT GOD WILL LOVE THEM. RATHER, GOD WANTED THEM TO KNOW THAT THEY CANNOT MEET HIS STANDARD NOT EVEN MOSES. JESUS WAS THE ONLY PERSON WHO MET THE CONDITIONS FOR GOD'S LOVE BECAUSE HE WAS GOD HIMSELF. SALVATION IS CONDITIONAL BUT GOD'S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL.
#11 - KOFI - 12/22/2011 - 04:04
Re: GOD'S LOVE IS UNCONDITIONAL
God's common grace and love shown to all men must be distinguished from His saving grace and peculiar love for those who love and obey Him. The following verses are an example of God's conditional love.

Deut 5:8-10
'You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 'You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Deut 7:9-11
"Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments; but repays those who hate Him to their faces, to destroy them; He will not delay with him who hates Him, He will repay him to his face. "Therefore, you shall keep the commandment and the statutes and the judgments which I am commanding you today, to do them. (According to the Scriptures all those who do not obey Him, hate Him).

Deut 7:12-13
"Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the LORD your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. "He will love you and bless you and multiply you.

The verses above reveal that God's lovingkindness is shown only to those who love Him and practice His commandments. His love and blessings are conditioned on a covenant keeping people. However, He will destroy all those who hate Him, i.e, those who continue in disobedience.

Ps 145:20
The LORD keeps all who love Him,
But all the wicked He will destroy.

Again, God's love is conditioned on those who love Him. Those who do not love and obey Him are described as the wicked, according to Scripture, and the wicked will be destroyed. In other words, God will not love them nor have mercy on them.

It is stated again in the New Testament,

John 14:21
He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him."

John 14:23-24
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.

This "If" is a conditional statement "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him." In other words, only those who love and obey Christ will be loved by God the Father.

1 Cor 16:22
If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed.

James 1:12
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

John 14:15
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Only those who, by God's grace, love and obey Christ will be saved. All others are accursed and condemned.
#12 - James - 12/23/2011 - 21:42
don't have one
i enjoyed your insight into the holy scripture,there seems to be an argument to be made on both sides of the issue at hand, concerning unconditional love from god the father. no one mentioned the degree of this "love",i believe, base on scripture that god has a greater degree of love for the household of faith, as opposed to a general love for mankind at large. we however must not let our disagreements be a point of divisivnes in the body, give no place to the enemy
#13 - ed - 01/02/2012 - 09:48
writer
The notion of God's love being unconditional is not only foreign to scripture, it is totally inconsistent with it. I invite you to read my article, The Myth of Unconditional Love at www.RayGebauer.org.

#14 - Ray Gebauer - 01/17/2012 - 16:01
Good article! If we build any teaching from scripture, it's central concept should be easily found in a number of versus. Unconditional love is found no where in scripture. I agree with the article, as the weight of scripture seems to imply that there are conditions for us to experience God's love both as a believer an a non-believer.
#15 - Kirk Slow - 01/19/2012 - 05:19
what love are we talking about?
Is God's love conditional or unconditional?
We first define love. Lust and cravings are forms of love. We are not talking about such aspects of love with regards to God. So what sort of love are we talking about? Already, we are asking or putting conditions in the very definition of love. If God's love is a particular kind of love then we must experience that love following those particular rules, regulations i.e conditions.

God's love cannot be detached from his other attributes. God's love is holy, righteous, merciful and gracious. All these attributes are not definitions of words but revelations of the person of God. To abide with God, we must abide with his nature. It is conditional.

Since we cannot meet these conditions by ourselves in our sinful nature, God in Christ makes them availble to us. We are called to now live in the new nature of Christ. Living a Christ-like life is the only condition that remains in our relationship with God and experiencing his love.

Christ is the end of the law and the expression of God's love. To be like Christ is to experience God's love in us. To live like Christ is to experience God's love flowing out of us. Know Christ ... Know Life. No Christ .... No life! Blessings to all in Christ. Amen.
#16 - Andrew Thinagran - 07/30/2012 - 03:33
I disagree.
God will always want what is best for us. That is unconditional love, to want the best for the other. He does not want us "to be good", that is to follow his laws for his sake but for our own sake, because that is how we will be happy. God does not send people to hell because they disobeyed him. He allows people to choose to go to hell because he is not going to force them to be with him. The father in the story of the prodigal son waited for his son because he was not going to force him to come back. But he never stops hoping that we will want to be with him, that we will want to follow his commandments because that is the only way we can be happy. He does not ask us to follow the commandments for his own sake.

Unconditional love does not have to be permissive. You can never stop loving a person and still expect them to grow. You can encourage a person to be their best and also love them unconditionally. If God did not love those who are in hell they would cease to exist.
#17 - Gwen - 09/13/2012 - 20:52
It is unconditional
I think where we get confused is between terms relationship and love. Christ died for us while we were sinners - thats an act of love. John 3:16 - God so loved the world. Otherwise John 3:16 might say "God sent His son to die for our sins and anyone who believes in Him will be loved. It doesnt say that. He loves us and extends that love and asks us to choose Him and His love which creates an eternal relationship. Love does not involve control and His love respects our free will to choose Him or not.
#18 - Mark - 10/29/2012 - 19:51
I think that using the words unconditional and conditional is confusing. Its like trying to change Jesus' story about the vine and the branches (John 15) into a single word. My understanding of God's love and the vine story is that you do not receive God's love unless you remain in Jesus by following his commands. Just as the body fails to receive oxygen if it doesn't inhale and exhale repeatedly.

I guess people are afraid to call God's love conditional because we think of conditional love in human terms. When I think of conditional love, I think of love that can be taken away if I do something wrong. The problem is fear of manipulation and trust that they really want and or know whats best for you. So we get this notion that conditional love is bad, because most of us have been hurt by it at one time or another. God on the other hand is different. You can trust God because he is true and he is faithful. If he says you will receive his love if you follow his commands then will. I value God's love highly, and hopefully more than anything else. And having it set up where I need to seek Gods love is motivating and inspirational

Of course I could be wrong, but I hope this helps you see the question in a slightly different light. Go with Jesus.

Cody
#19 - Cody Groves - 12/11/2012 - 20:45
God's love is not unconditional
The bible is full of verbs & you can't use the word; "unconditional" in the same sentence with a verb since they are a contradiction. I challenge anyone who suggests that God's love is unconditional, to find it in scripture. Give me the chapter & verse, Please. The word doesn't exist, I don't think the word exists in any of the encyclicals ( I could be wrong ). God's love is unconditional in heaven, not down here. I am a 64 year old cradle Catholic & I can't remember doing anything "UNCONDITIONALLY"
#20 - john paul mayer - 01/08/2013 - 19:57
Agape or Phileo or Eros or Storge or Mania?
Wrong to mislead or lure others to Christian faith using manipulating words. Just say AGAPE or agape love. How do you love your neighbor as yourself? Love is showing compassion(unconditional), mercy(conditional) and be gracious(unconditional and conditional). Read 1 Corinthian 13. That's the love or agape we need to have. Unconditional love accepts everyone into the fellowship and your church would be filled with unrepentant gays, lesbians, murderers, swindlers, gossipers, hindus, muslims, buhdists, satan worshippers. Certainly you want them to be born again as Christians. Unconditional love would permit a hardcore vengeful person to continue to murder one by one member of your family-if he slaps you on your left cheek, offer the right too. Then US must not go to bomb and destroy other countries. Let the terrorists do as they like to bomb the whole US just like 911. Lend and do not expect the borrower to pay back and without interest. So just give to anyone who ask for money and the church will be bankrupt in no time. There must be set conditions even if we love or agape- be merciful, compassionate and gracious. When Jesus said forgive them for they don't know what they were doing would not guaranteed they are forgiven, otherwise everyone in this world would be qualified to be in heaven and you need not preach the gospel of salvation anymore. Live life free and easy, do as you like, kill as you like, for we are already forgiven and qualified to go to heaven! Don't add or minus God's word as written in the book of Revelation.
#21 - TOH - 03/01/2013 - 17:17
God's love is Unconditional, of course!
God's love is conditional to a certain point and after that it is unconditional. Is that what you are saying? If so, you have merely degraded the Divine love to a human level. Unconditional love becomes absolutely worthless because conditions have to be met first. A form of reasoning that is ridiculous and apparently logical to you to prove that the love of God is only to be received by believers.
If you are saying that the love of God is NOT unconditional all the way, than we are dealing with a severe case of blasphemy!
#22 - Rovano - 05/31/2013 - 15:34
Gods Love is contra-conditional
I first looked a threads such as this a few years ago as it became apparent that the term " unconditional" was increasingly being used to describe God's love.I had never heard it used back in the 60's when I attended a Gospel preaching church as a child and teenager. I checked the word out using a concordance only to find that that word is not used in Scripture!!I agree with those who suggest the source of this change lies in modern psychology. I appreciate why some Christians use the term but it is misleading....too simplistic if you like. For a good explanation search "God's love. Better than unconditional " by David Powlinson or a shorter precise by Justin Taylor. Powlinson suggests using the phrase "CONTRA-CONDITIONAL".The old hymn writers strove to describe the breadth ,depth,quality of God's " Amazing " love.eg "Love divine all loves excelling" etc etc but they did not resort to "unconditional" for reasons that have been explained by several contributors.
#23 - keithjefferson - 07/02/2013 - 10:24
What arrogance! Who are we to label God's love unconditional? I have studied the effect of the integration of the Bible and psychology for 30 years and have discovered that man makes up his own rules for what the Bible says. I have come back several times to this article and have found it more on target each time. It's so simple: Do not mess with the Word of God! If God wanted His love described as unconditional He would have put appropriate words to correspond with the definition of unconditional. No such application appears in the Bible.
Dee
#24 - Diana Foster - 07/06/2013 - 13:18
"...for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men..."
"His plan to give eternal life to those whom He has enabled to believe on His Son."

This statement describes not only a God whose love is conditional, but also a God whose love is arbitrary and grossly unjust. If God selectively "enables" only certain people to believe, then for him to condemn people who don't believe -- and to punish them with eternal torture in Hell for a failure he denied them the ability to avoid -- is a hideous injustice of incalculable proportions. Under that condition, God would be punishing impoverished souls for being in a state of poverty that God himself decreed and imposed upon them. What a repellent concept! That makes God infinitely worse than the rich man who ignored the poor man covered with sores and who wouldn't share with him the crumbs that fell from his table. A person with any moral awareness at all would be appalled at a parent who rejected a child with birth defects and blamed the child for his condition -- but the God you're describing is immeasurably worse because he's omniscient and omnipotent, while even the best parent is a fallible creature hampered by a fallen nature.

What I'm reading in this article and in many of the comments is callous, smug, self-righteous certitude about one's own "chosen" status and a monstrous indifference to the suffering of others decreed by an unjust deity whom you're pleased to assume loves you more than the people you feel justified in despising. It's apparently such a matter of indifference that it hardly needs to be referred to directly; it's just taken for granted and hardly worth mentioning. What a bunch of Pharisees -- and you're seemingly oblivious to your deep-seated complacency. Blind guides leading the blind: does that sound familiar? Wow. And you have the nerve to talk about love as if you know what it is? You'd best limit your remarks to a discussion of self-love, because you seem to be steeped in that emotion. "I thank you, Lord, that I'm not like other men!" I pity the tormented soul seeking God whose path leads him or her to your door.
#25 - GFE - 11/04/2013 - 00:07
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