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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
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*        = Good, with reservations

****The Hope of the Gospel

by George MacDonald

Reviewed September 15, 2003.
Sunrise Books, Eureka, California, 1989.  First published in 1892.  240 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #3, Nonfiction Rereads

C. S. Lewis once said, “I regard George MacDonald as my master.”  Discovering the Heart of God and Knowing the Heart of God, are wonderful introductions to the teachings of George MacDonald.  Edited by Michael Phillips and collected from MacDonald’s fiction and poetry as well as his sermons, the selections are arranged by topic and in shorter segments.

The Hope of the Gospel is a book of sermons published as written by MacDonald himself in his lifetime.  I recommend the books edited by Michael Phillips as an introduction to his writing.  If, like me, you are intrigued and want to read more, there are five volumes available of his sermons, Unspoken Sermons, Volumes 1-3, The Hope of the Gospel, and Miracles of Our Lord.  I’m currently re-reading some of these books slowly, savoring them and mulling over the wisdom.

Whatever you may think about George MacDonald’s theology, it’s obvious that here is a man who deeply loved the Lord.  He also had a deep knowledge of Scripture, but more importantly, a deep knowledge of Jesus.

The easiest way to review his books is always to mention some of the lines I have underlined:

“Upon obedience our energy must be spent; understanding will follow.”

“The Lord never came to deliver man from the consequences of their sins while yet those sins remained.”

“He came to work along with our punishment.  He came to side with it, and set us free from our sins.”

“Not for any or all of his sins that are past shall a man be condemned; not for the worst of them needs he dread remaining unforgiven.  The sin he dwells in, the sin he will not come out of, is the sole ruin of a man.  His present, his live sins—those pervading his thoughts and ruling his conduct; the sins he keeps doing, and will not give up; the sins he is called to abandon, and clings to; the same sins which are the cause of his misery, though he may not know it—these are they for which he is even now condemned.”

“This is what he came to deliver us from—not the things we have done, but the possibility of doing such things any more.”

“Anything in you, which, in your own child, would make you feel him not so pleasant as you would have him, is something wrong.”

“He came to make us good, and therein blessed children.”

“Unhappy men were we, if God were the God of the perfected only, and not of the growing, the becoming!”

Reviews of other books by George MacDonald:
Discovering the Character of God
Knowing the Heart of God
Unspoken Sermons:  Series I, II, and III
Wisdom To Live By
Miracles of Our Lord
George MacDonald in the Pulpit
Your Life in Christ
Phantastes

Reviews of related books:
Flames of Love, by Heath Bradley
Her Gates Will Never Be Shut, by Brad Jersak
Hope Beyond Hell, by Gerry Beauchemin
The Inescapable Love of God, by Thomas Talbott
If Grace Is True, by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
If God Is Love, by Philip Gulley and James Mulholland
What Does the Bible Really Say About Hell? by Randy Klassen
The Evangelical Universalist by Gregory MacDonald
Until They Are Found by Peter Gray
Every Knee Shall Bow, by Thomas Allin and Mark T. Chamberlain
At the End of the Ages... The Abolition of Hell, by Bob Evely
Love Wins, by Rob Bell
Universalism, the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years, by John Wesley Hanson

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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