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Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers Kindle Edition
Christians know that God loves them, but can easily feel that he is perpetually disappointed and frustrated, maybe even close to giving up on them. As a result, they focus a lot—and rightly so—on what Jesus has done to appease God’s wrath for sin. But how does Jesus Christ actually feel about his people amid all their sins and failures? This book draws us to Matthew 11, where Jesus describes himself as “gentle and lowly in heart,” longing for his people to find rest in him. The gospel flows from God’s deepest heart for his people, a heart of tender love for the sinful and suffering. These chapters take readers into the depths of Christ’s very heart for sinners, diving deep into Bible passages that speak of who Christ is and encouraging readers with the affections of Christ for his people. His longing heart for sinners comforts and sustains readers in their up-and-down lives.
From the Publisher
“Gentle and Lowly comes from the pen of someone who has not just profited from reading the Puritans―but who, more importantly, has read the Bible under their tutelage. One short book can never be enough to convey all the glory of the character of Christ, but this book deftly unpacks something we often overlook: Christ is meek and lowly in heart and gives rest to those who labor and are burdened. Written with pastoral gentleness and quiet beauty, it teases out what twenty biblical texts contribute to this portrait of the heart of Christ, all of it brought together to bring comfort, strength, and rest to believers.”
―D. A. Carson, Cofounder and Theologian-at-Large, The Gospel Coalition
“In this timely work, Dane Ortlund directs our attention back to the person of Jesus. Centered on the Scriptures and drawing upon the best of the Puritan tradition, Ortlund helps us see the heart of God as it is revealed to us in Christ. He reminds us not only of Jesus’s promises of rest and comfort, but of the Bible’s vision of Jesus: a kind and gracious King.”
―Russell Moore, Public Theologian, Christianity Today; Director, Christianity Today's Public Theology Project
“The title of this book immediately evoked within me a sense of longing, hope, and gratitude. The message it contains is a balm for every heart that feels pierced by sin or sorrow―whether from within or without. It is an invitation to experience the sweet consolations of a Savior who moves toward us with tenderness and grace, when we know we deserve just the opposite from him.”
―Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author; Founder, Revive Our Hearts and True Woman
“On the rough, rocky, and often dark path between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet,’ there is nothing your weary heart needs more than to know the beauty of the heart of Jesus. It is that beauty that alone has the power to overwhelm all the ugly you will encounter along the way. I have read no book that more carefully, thoroughly, and tenderly displays Christ’s heart than what Dane Ortlund has written. As if I was listening to a great symphony, I was moved in different ways in different passages but left each feeling hugely blessed to know that what was being described was the heart of my Savior, my Lord, my Friend, and my Redeemer. I can’t think of anyone in the family of God who wouldn’t be greatly helped by spending time seeing the heart of Jesus through the eyes of such a gifted guide as Ortlund.”
―Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries; author, New Morning Mercies and My Heart Cries Out
“The Puritans breathed Christ-centered practices: they embraced the Bible as a lifeline, exercised it like a muscle, and relied upon it like a bulletproof vest. They knew how to hate their sin without hating themselves because they understood that Christ’s grace is an ever-present Person, a Person who understands our situation and our needs better than we do. They understood that we suffer because of sin. Dane Ortlund masterfully handles a treasure trove of Puritan wisdom and deftly presents it to the Christian reader. Read this book and pray that the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to you as the Puritans understood him, and you will be refreshed to understand God’s grace in a whole new way.”
―Rosaria Butterfield, Former Professor of English, Syracuse University; author, The Gospel Comes with a House Key
“‘He is so strong that he can afford to be gentle.’ That old movie line is more than a throwaway sentiment when we consider the theological precision and pastoral heart of Dane Ortlund describing God’s heart toward those who are weak, weary, sin-sick, and despairing. The insights of Gentle and Lowly are truly a river of mercy flowing from the throne of God, through great pastors of the past, and into precious and powerful ministry for today.”
―Bryan Chapell, Pastor Emeritus, Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois
“My life has been transformed by the beautiful, staggering truths in this book. Dane Ortlund lifts our eyes to see Christ’s compassion-filled heart for sinners and sufferers, proving that Jesus is no reluctant savior but one who delights in showing his mercy. For any feeling bruised, weary, or empty, this is the balm for you.”
―Michael Reeves, President and Professor of Theology, Union School of Theology, UK
“Only a few pages in I started to realize how unusual and essential this book is―it is an exposition of the very heart of Christ. The result is a book that astonishes us with the sheer abundance and capacity of his love for us. Breathtaking and healing in equal measure, it is already one of the best books I’ve read.”
―Sam Allberry, pastor; author, 7 Myths about Singleness
“Dane Ortlund writes about what seems too good to be true―the Lord delights to show mercy to you and to me―so he works very carefully through key texts and enlists the help of saints past. I was persuaded, and I look forward to being persuaded again and again.”
“Dane Ortlund leads us into the very heart of God incarnate―not only what Jesus did for us, but how he feels toward us. That’s right: feels toward us. Anchored in Scripture and drawing on the Puritan Thomas Goodwin, this book is medicine for broken hearts.”
―Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
“Dane Ortlund helps us rediscover the heart of Jesus that is the very heart of the gospel. This delightful book opens up the sheer immensity of Jesus’s tender love for us. As you immerse yourself in Christ’s very heart, you’ll find your own heart warmed at the fire of the love of God. Ortlund opens up a neglected theme among the Puritans (in bite-sized chunks that won’t overwhelm you), where you’ll discover their grasp of the beauty of Jesus’s love. Your soul needs this book. I highly recommend it.”
―Paul E. Miller, author, A Praying Life and J-Curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life
“Gentle and Lowly is drawing me to the heart of Christ. It is helping me to draw the hearts of my counselees to Christ. Gentle and Lowly is the best book of the twenty-first century.”
―Bob Kellemen, Academic Dean and Professor of Biblical Counseling, Faith Bible Seminary; author, Grief: Walking with Jesus
About the Author
Dane C. Ortlund (PhD, Wheaton College) serves as senior pastor of Naperville Presbyterian Church in Naperville, Illinois. He is the author of Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers and Deeper: Real Change for Real Sinners. Dane and his wife, Stacey, have five children.--This text refers to the imitation_leather edition.
- ASIN : B086GWZ6CY
- Publisher : Crossway (March 18 2020)
- Language : English
- File size : 3750 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 226 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1433566133
- Best Sellers Rank: #98,187 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from Canada
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Dane Ortlund wants to show us the “heart of Christ.” That is, he wants to draw out what the Bible says about Christ’s essential identity, who he is at his “heart” (13). By “heart,” Ortlund intends the very depths of a person, the driving identity that shapes all a person’s actions. Through the books 23 (short) chapters, Ortlund wants to display Christ’s essential merciful, humble, and gracious character. His key text is Matthew 11:28-30, “the one place in the Bible where the Son of God pulls back the veil and lets us peer way down into the core of who he is” (18). He argues that this text shows us who Christ is in his essential identity. “Heart,” Ortlund writes, “in biblical terms, is not part of who we are but the centre of who we are” (18). So when Jesus says he is “gentle and lowly in heart,” he is describing his essential nature (19). The problem with this sort of argument is that heart has a lot of potential meanings, and nothing in the context suggests that Jesus is telling us “what animates him most deeply, what is most true of him” (19). Indeed, the Greek syntax suggests that Jesus intends “I am gentle and [I am] lowly in heart.” The latter phrase intending to specify what Jesus means “lowly,” for it can often refer to physical poverty or asceticism (as Ortlund observes, 19-20). To add the modifier “in heart” is to specify that “lowly” is the attitude Jesus has towards His people: He is gentle and has a humble heart (the phrase works well in English) towards them. Like the Puritans whom Ortlund follows in this book, his theology often overtakes his exegesis. That is, he says many beautiful and essential truths, yet the texts he turns to show them are sometimes not teaching that truth. In this way, Ortlund doesn’t show his thesis: nothing in Scripture identifies a single aspect of Jesus’s attitude or character as essential over against everything else. I think John Frame accurately captures the Biblical teaching concerning the character of Christ and God in his discussion of Divine simplicity:
"If the attributes are perspectives on a single reality, that reality will be simple by comparison, though also complex, as a I must keep insisting. And evidently, since there are many attributes that characterize God’s essence, they are not separate from one another. Indeed, all of his attributes have divine attributes! God’s mercy is eternal, and his creative power is wise. So the biblical teachings about God’s attributes suggest a profound unity in his nature and among the attributes that characterize his nature." (Doctrine of God, 229)
However, though Ortlund fails to demonstrate his thesis, I believe he succeeds brilliantly in another regard.
If we take Gentle and Lowly to be an exposition of a neglected aspect of God’s character, of Jesus’ character, it does the church a great service. Over and over again, Ortlund draws our attention to oft-neglected texts, showing how God’s heart towards His children is not one of stern anger or ferocity but patient, gentle mercy and love. No matter what we may or have done, we see throughout the book, God welcomes His children with open arms and delights to shower His mercy upon them. Every time we sin, God has abundant mercy to cleanse us from our sin. This aspect of God’s character is something I treasure dearly and am delighted to be so clearly reminded of it once again. There are many men and women in my life who need to hear this aspect of God’s character, and for this reason, Ortlund’s book is a great service to the church.
Don’t read Gentle and Lowly to find out who God is essentially, what aspect of His character we can elevate above the rest. Ortlund suggests that this is what we ought to do, but involves—in my opinion—a selective reading of the evidence. God IS rich in mercy, God IS loving, God IS kind, yet God is also equally just, righteous, and holy. Each of these is a perspective on God’s simple, glorious character. God’s mercy is just, righteous, and holy, as his justice is good and loving. By selecting wrath as the contrast with mercy, Ortlund skews the evidence a bit, for wrath is a not a characteristic of God in the same way as justice, mercy, or love; wrath is the expression of justice and goodness in the presence of sinfulness. If we focus on wrath, then any of God’s attributes will seem more important.
Instead, read Gentle and Lowly as an exposition of an oft-neglected aspect of God’s character, an aspect that is arguably at the centre of redemptive history—of the story of the creation. God is truly merciful, kind, abounding in grace and steadfast love. Ortlund reminds us of this truth and leads us to treasure it. One thing, in addition to the comments above, that Gentle and Lowly could use is practical application. Ortlund shrugs off the need for explicit application (215), but I think this is a disservice to the readers most likely to pick the book up. Christ’s character is definitely something to bask in (215), yet it is also more than that. We should—we ought to—respond to Christ’s character; we need to imitate him (examples of how this would play out in the church would have been effective), we need to worship him (we need to be reminded of this often), and we need to obey him. It is true that Christ’s “yoke is easy” (Matt 11:30), yet it is nevertheless a yoke. Sometimes we need a hand gentling guiding us in what it means to follow Jesus; after such a beautiful exposition of His merciful, gentle character, gentle guidance in the ways we ought to imitate Christ in this regard would have been effective and helpful.
Top reviews from other countries
However, the author does something more. He simplifies those Puritanical musings with an almost contemplative study of an incredible attribute as declared by Christ Himself (Matthew 11:29) that of His Heart of gentleness and humility. An important fact the Christian Church has overlooked for centuries. Yet at the same time this astonishing statement by Christ is balanced with the necessity for God’s anger and punishment of Sin. All is beautifully brought together by the undeniable proof of scripture tying in with the gleanings of those early Christian thinkers. There’s lots of nutritious ‘soul food’ to muse and meditate upon in here and it’s a book I will read time and again.
One dropped star because it can feel a little repetitive at times, but there is much that is still worth chewing over which will be of great benefit to every Christian.
It shows us the level of bounteous love which God has for us and that we do not need to strive for this love, yet merely go to Christ and it will be given to us. He is waiting for us. All sins will be forgiven as they were when Christ died upon the cross at Calvary.
You will be moved to tears of joy and relief as you read of the immense love which Christ holds ready for you, should you just offer yourself to Him with an open heart.
There have been times reading this book when I've found myself wondering if I really dare to believe that God is this good. And yet I have been deep-diving into the love of God for the past ten years, reading many a great book, hearing many an inspiring speaker. Yet that's how good this book is - it takes many of us beyond even the high places of our familiar understanding of God's love and challenges us to a different way of seeing Him that is well beyond what we might have imagined. Even if we've heard it all before, Dane Ortland nevertheless presents it in such a fresh way that it really is a pleasure to read. And gazing again upon Him can only be good for us.
Some of the author's phrasing is quite delightful too. I don't have any quotes to hand but I've been impressed with his great command of the English language, and the imaginative imagery he uses. He cites an old author Thomas Goodwin on many occasions, who clearly had a great understanding of the amazing humble and selfless love of Jesus. Yet Dane's ability to summarize these inspired texts in punchy and catchy sentences make's his commentary of these inspired writers significantly inspired in itself.
I'm going to enjoy reading the rest this book, and enjoy the ride with Jesus. And I really hope it never ends, I'm enjoying the journey too much.