Over the past century or so, the church in North America has been weakened by a tendency to wrongly pit different aspects of God's character against each other. Believers who have witnessed too much heavy-handed, legalistic behavior from their leaders may be tempted to focus only on his grace and mercy—the qualities we most often associate with God's love—and downplay his pure and uncompromising holiness.
The reverse may be the case for Christians who are hungry for unvarnished, authoritative biblical teaching after spending too many years in churches that, perhaps out of a desire to make everyone within their doors feel welcome, have given short shrift to God's commands toward obedience.
It is wrong, however, to pit God's holiness and love against one another. As theologian David Wells explains to me in this interview, they are, in fact, of a piece. Wells, distinguished research professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, unpacks this truth in his typically insightful way in his latest book, God in the Whirlwind: How the Holy-Love of God Reorients Our World [written interview].
Listen as Wells speaks with wisdom and grace about why it is so easy for even serious-minded Christians to lose their hold on the character of God and how, in our recovery of it, God may be freshly pleased to reveal himself through us to a lost and distracted world.