The Gospel Coalition

Don Carson presented four lengthy lectures at Oak Hill Theological College in 2001 before September 11.

Shortly after that, he turned those lectures into the book Love in Hard Places (Wheaton: Crossway, 2002).

TGC hosts a free PDF of the entire book.

Carson updated his notes after 9/11 to include a 37-page section entitled "Hard Case Two: Osama bin Laden" (pp. 108-44).

Here's an outline:

  1. It may be helpful, first of all, to reflect on pacifism and "just war" theory in the light of the biblical commands to love and forgive.

  2. On the other hand, all war, even just war, is never more than rough justice. Even the just war is prosecuted by sinners, and so injustices will occur.

  3. Several other factors are often thrown into the debate about how we should respond to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.

  4. Historically, wars have changed their form from time to time, generating fresh discussion about just war theory. It is time to begin this process again.

  5. As with racism, so here: Christians need to reflect on how some of the fundamentals of the faith bear on just war.

  6. One more theological reflection is relevant to the concerns of these lectures. Complex discussions about justice, forgiveness, enemies, and just war theory may entice us to forget that they were all precipitated by the effort to think exegetically and theologically about love.


Therefore, in the present struggle, even while we must try to prevent the terrorists from doing more violence, we must eschew a vendetta mentality. Love demands that we do not demonize Osama bin Laden. He is a human being made in the image of God. He is an evil man, and he must be stopped, but he is a man, and we should take no pleasure in destroying him. Vengeance is the Lord's alone. Do not offer the alternative, "Should we weep for Osama bin Laden or hold him to account for his genocide and prevent him from carrying out his violent intentions?" The right answer is yes.




Comments:

05.02.2011 | The Lantern Collective

May 7, 2011 at 12:43 AM

[...] is a post by Andy Naselli on The Gospel Coalition, where he references a book of lectures by D.A. Carson. There is even a link to a free download of [...]

[...] answer, but I think it is important that they were asked. Here is one response I found helpful (and here’s [...]

[...] Love in Hard Places – DA Carson – I was re-reading Carson’s 2002 book on Tuesday morning and noticed that The Gospel Coalition had released the whole book as a free PDF. Get it. It’s good. Carson deals at length very complex questions. The book was published shortly after September 11, 2001 – so it has an extended treatment of what it means to love bin Laden. Download the pdf and skip to page 108 for that section. [...]

[...] is in hell? Several thinkers have posted articles helping us think through the issues: Denny Burk, Don Carson, Christopher Morgan, and Kevin [...]

Jeff Miller

May 5, 2011 at 02:54 PM

What would Jesus have you do?

- Hanniel bloggt.

May 4, 2011 at 02:37 AM

[...] D. A. Carsons Vorlesung nach dem 9/11 setzt sich mit dem anspruchsvollen Thema auseinander (siehe hier). Love demands that we do not demonize Osama bin Laden. He is a human being made in the image of [...]

[...] Andy Naselli points out that after Carson’s book was published 9/11 happened which prompted Carson to add a 35 pg. section titled “Hard Case Two: Osama bin Laden”.  As you can see from the title and the added section, this book is very relevant to the events of the weekend so I strongly encourage you to download the book or buy it. [...]

[...] http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2011/05/02/don-carson-on-osama-bin-laden/ [...]

dave miers

May 3, 2011 at 09:16 AM

was reading this book this morning for a refresher on what carson said. thanks for making the book available online!!

[...] Don Carson (via Andy Naselli) [...]

[...] The Gospel Coalition Blog “Don Carson on Osama bin Laden” “Grieving, Rejoicing that Osama bin Laden is [...]

[...] had something to say about how we should look at OBL’s death.  You can find the thoughts of Andy Naselli, Christopher Morgan, Denny Burk, Kevin DeYoung, and so many [...]

Brian K. Young

May 3, 2011 at 03:51 PM

Thanks for hosting this!

[...] The Gospel Coalition is offering D. A. Carson’s “Love in Hard Places” for free.  This updated edition includes the hard case of Osama bin Laden.  Take advantage of this special offer. [...]

Steve Wiegand

May 2, 2011 at 08:54 PM

Watch the movie Amish Grace the other night and was convicted in some similar areas in the article. Then when we announce the bin Laden killing and see the celebrations I did understand but like the article. Love demands that we do not demonize Osama bin Laden. He is a human being made in the image of God. He is an evil man, and he must be stopped, but he is a man, and we should take no pleasure in destroying him. Vengeance is the Lord’s alone

Steve Cornell

May 2, 2011 at 08:14 PM

I think Carson's work on the theme of love should be required reading in ministry training. There is widespread confusion on these matters. Particularly, the actions of military or police in taking life challenge one’s understanding of the role of government at the deepest possible level. And from a Christian perspective, we face special challenges that, on casual glance, appear conflicting.

How does love for enemies, forgiveness for offenders and turning the other cheek apply to justice and punishment on the level of government? We cannot permit knee-jerk reactions to these matters. And admittedly things have become more complicated as the world has become a more interconnected international community. So what does the Bible teach and how should these seemingly conflicting goals be understood?

Carson wrestles deeply with these and other matters! I posted on this today for those interested: http://thinkpoint.wordpress.com/2011/05/02/responding-to-bin-ladens-execution/

Chris

May 2, 2011 at 08:09 PM

Thanks for sharing this with us, Andy. As usual, Carson is insightful, evenhanded and spot on.

How Did C. S. Lewis View War? | Andy Naselli

January 13, 2012 at 05:28 AM

[...] Crossway, 2002). Carson updated his notes after 9/11 to include a 37-page section entitled “Hard Case Two: Osama bin Laden” (pp. [...]