Do I Love God? The Question That Must Be Answered
New Title From Rod Culbertson
Rod Culbertson is the Associate Professor of Practical Theology and the Dean of Student Development at Reformed Theological Seminary/Charlotte. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America. Rod started Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) in the state of Florida, working at the University of Florida, and in addition to campus ministry, he has been involved in church planting.
Do I Love God? The Question That Must B e Answered is written for the purpose of helping believers in Christ, as well as those curious about God, evaluate their relationship with God. The most important priority and assurance in life is knowing God! Because the one true God is a trinity of persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – who have loved one another in full and perfect relationship from eternity, and thus relational, we who are made in His image, can actually know Him personally and walk in loving relationship with Him. God is not impersonal; He is love. Loving God is why we are created. Using the three domains of the heart – know, feel, do – the reader is encouraged to take a personal look into what he or she believes about Christ, how he loves others, and how she seeks purity of life. Assurance of a relationship with God is gained through proper doctrinal belief, passionate spirituality, and godly obedience. These three tests of assurance are evidence that one loves God. God is a God of grace. Do I Love God? will help the reader explore the depth of God’s grace and His love!
What prompted you to write this book?
As I look at the culture that I know – the contemporary western culture in which I live – I have observed over the years that many people identify with the label “Christian.” We are a Christian culture in name and profess a form of cultural Christianity. But are we truly, as a majority of people appear to profess, Christian? And deeper still, are we a people who genuinely love God? If we read the Bible, we see the triune God calling his people to love him with all of their heart, soul, mind and strength. We would expect nothing less from an awesome, holy, and wonderful God who deserves all of our lives and being. He must be our everything. Yet, often our beliefs are false ones, our understanding of love for God is based upon sentimentalism, and our lives bear little resemblance to the holy calling placed before us in the Scriptures. Do we really love God as he commands us to love him? This book attempts to not only answer the question, “Do I love God?”, but to propose some solutions that might assist us in pursuing a daily, active relationship with God based upon his expressed parameters in Scripture.
How would you say that Do I Love God? The Question That Must Be Answered could benefit the reader?
“Do I Love God?” is written for most any person who wants to grapple with the practical question regarding his or her relationship with God. I address the three learning domains – “know, feel, do” which are the criteria that the Apostle John, in his first letter, submits are necessary for true expressions of faith and assurance of one’s salvation. In my many years of ministry, I have discovered that the thoughtful Christian wonders if he or she is loving God enough. We know that we never do. But the next question is, “Do I love God rightly, i.e., as he calls me to love him?” We must love God in the following manner: 1. based upon biblical belief and doctrine (know), 2. in such a way that his love transforms how I love others (feel), and 3. through an obedience that spawns Christ-likeness or holiness (do). I also provide some helpful ideas about how to deepen the believer’s daily walk with God. In many ways, I believe that the book is very practical in nature in this regard.
Is there anything unique about this book?
A number of books have addressed the need to view the Christian life in terms of what might be called “wholehearted” living for God, i.e., expressing the three learning domains in the Christian life: cognition (know), emotion (feel) and volition (do). I have attempted to do the same but use the book of 1 John as a basis for addressing these three domains. I also consider the three offices of Christ – prophet, priest and king – in order to gain further appreciation of the three domains as related to Christ himself. In addition, I add some light theology regarding a very heavy (important) topic, the cross of Christ. I think that the final chapter, one that gives guidance for the person wanting to seek out a greater and more meaningful devotional life, is a unique summary on how to have a regular personal devotional life.
Is this a book for everyone?
I used the title Do I Love God? The Question That Must Be Answered in order to appeal to the most general audience possible. Many people wonder if God exists and there are books written that attempt to prove his existence. Those books can be either too simplistic or too complicated. Yet, because I believe that God’s existence is inherent within each of us, as human beings made in his image, I am assuming that any person who has ever lived has wondered at some time about whether or not they can know God. And if he can be known (i.e., in a personal way), then we wonder if he can be loved by mere creatures. Therefore, Do I Love God? The Question That Must Be Answered will appeal to anyone who wants to know what it means to properly know and love the living, creator God who already loves them in so many gracious ways.
What was the basis of this book?
I teach a course at Reformed Theological Seminary/Charlotte called “Classics of Personal Devotion.” We look at the devotional lives of those who have preceded us in Christ’s kingdom in order to learn about their passion for God. One thing that is observable throughout church history is that there are men and women who, although very flawed at times, seek the Lord with all of their hearts and being. Sometimes they go to extremes, while at other times they have unusual expressions of their love and devotion; but something can be learned from any of those believers who are trusting in Christ as he is revealed in his Word. Although I do not focus on specific individuals in this book, I do spend a great deal of time in the course (and hence, the book) trying to walk us through what love for God should look like from the standpoint of wholehearted (“all of life”) devotion. Our profession of faith in Christ must be genuine, and if it is, we will love God and others as a way of life, and finally, we will pursue personal holiness without which no one shall see the Lord.
An Excerpt from Do I Love God? The Question That Must Be Answered
Can we grasp what has happened? Isaiah, who is ready to be justifiably destroyed, is suddenly justified (made right with God), cleansed, and lives to tell about it. The only place where we can grasp this truth—this shadow of a future reality—is to look at the cross. At the cross, we learn truth—God is holy and must judge sin; we are undone and ruined. We need grace, help, and forgiveness. We become desperate. Our affections become involved. We are not unmoved by the depth of our predicament. We feel our dilemma so deeply that our emotions disturb us without relief. Time meets eternity. The finite meets the Infinite. We are shaken to the core. And then—we look at the cross and see a Savior. It is not a Seraphim who shows up; rather, it is the very Son of God who comes. It is not a coal from the altar, but a bruised, beaten, bludgeoned, pierced, and bloodied human body that is sacrificed and provides atonement. At the cross, we can hear the Father say to those who believe, “Your guilt has been taken away; your sins have been atoned for.” We do not take this exchange lightly. We are amazed that anything like this could happen in our lives. We have entered the realm of grace and have begun to understand the boundless grace of God. Christ is able to wash away the filth of my sins and make me clean. The believer’s emotions are engaged. As Paul writes, every true believer experiences a deep sense that Christ is the one “who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
“I found Do I Love God? edifying, and will be recommending it to others who want something that has theological depth and clear practicality at the same time. . . I have noticed over the decades how deeply Rod Culbertson has impacted the lives of ministerial students, as well as some congregations I know well, where he has filled in. He conveys to us a grasp of the ‘deep, deep love of Jesus’ in a way that takes it out to a hurting, needy society in both individual and corporate ways.” — Douglas Kelly, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina
In Do I Love God? Rod Culbertson fleshes out what he has modeled for and impressed upon countless students and friends in ministry. . . Where this book is incredibly helpful is in diagnosing and then encouraging a love for God that emerges from every corner of our hearts in what we think, feel, and do.” —Blair Smith, PhD candidate, Reformed Theological Seminary, Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology, Charlotte, North Carolina
Link for Ordering Do I Love God? https://wipfandstock.com/do-i-love-god.html