Between Pain and Grace

Between Pain and Grace Why Is There Suffering When Will It End Where Is God In It Despite How Common Suffering Is, We Still Struggle To Understand It, And Even To Bear Through It Between Pain And Grace Gets To The Heart Of This Struggle Its Honest And Detailed Portrait Of Life Challenges Our Assumptions About Pain, Emotion, And God HimselfBorn From A Popular College Course On Suffering, This Book Answers Critical Questions Like Is God Personally Involved In Our Pain And Suffering How Should Christians Handle Emotions Like Grief And Anger What Does The Bible Say About Issues Like Mental Illness, Sexual Abuse, And Family Betrayal Striking An Elegant Balance Between Being Scholarly And Pastoral, Between Pain And Grace Is Useful In The Classroom, Churches, And For Personal Reading The Authors Draw From Scripture, Personal Experience, And Even Psychological Research To Offer A Well Rounded And Trustworthy Take On Suffering Between Pain And Grace Will Give You Confidence In God S Sovereignty, Comfort In His Presence, And Wisdom For Life This Side Of Paradise It Will Also Make You Tender And Better Prepared To Respond To The Suffering Of Others Read It Today For A Richer, Realistic Relationship With God

GERALD PETERMAN is Professor of Bible and Director of Biblical and Theological Studies at Moody Bible Institute Before coming to Moody he taught at Palm Beach Atlantic College in West Palm Beach, FL, spent 4 1 2 years doing church planting for the Evangelical Free Church in central Florida and in south central Iowa, and also served eight years in the Air National Guard as a Chaplain Peterman als

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  • Paperback
  • 352 pages
  • Between Pain and Grace
  • Gerald W. Peterman
  • 11 June 2019
  • 9780802409676

10 thoughts on “Between Pain and Grace

  1. says:

    Gerald W Peterman and Andrew J Schmutzer, Between Pain and Grace A Biblical Theology of Suffering Chicago Moody, 2016.American Christians don t know how to suffer well On the one hand, we think the life of faith should be victorious and joyful, so suffering seems like a defeat and a downer On the other hand, because suffering seems like a defeat and a downer, it must be caused by insufficient faith or obedience on our part.Neither hand is biblical, of course Instead, both reflect the chirpy optimism and can do individualism of modern culture If it s going to be, we often hear, it s up to me The corollary of this sentiment is obvious but ignored If it doesn t happen, it s my fault What American Christians need is a biblical theology of suffering one that recognizes life s hardness without blaming the victims Between Pain and Grace by Gerald Peterman and Andrew Schmutzer does just that It situates Christian experience smack dab in the middle of the now but not yet of the gospel In our current metanarrative the overarching narrative of human life for those of Christian faith we find two opposing qualities existing side by side indeed, they are sometimes mixed together First, there is death and those things that go along with it, such as suffering, sin, frustration, betrayal, violence, corruption, and groaning Second, there are blessings of the gospel new life, redemption, the indwelling Spirit, adoption, hope, life in God s community, and ongoing transformation.Truly, the Christian life means to exist between two worlds the old world of sin, alienation, and death and the new world of righteousness, holiness, and life.Until Christ returns, this both and quality cannot be resolved God alone can wipe every tear from their eyes with finality Revelation 21 4 That doesn t mean there are no actions the Christian community can take to ameliorate existing suffering or to prevent future suffering We can and must do both Indeed, God always uses human agents to carry his plan forward emphasis in original.Still, suffering is an intrinsic part of life in the present age, so it is a duty of Christians to understand it better so they can minister to its victims with greater compassion and healing The authors contribute to a better understanding of suffering by outlining the basics of affliction in Scripture in chapter 1 Chapter 2 turns to the relational ecosystem of sin and suffering, that is, the relationship of God to humanity, of humans to one another, to animals, and to the inanimate created order.Chapters 3 and 4 are theological They describe the suffering of God and of Jesus Against classical philosophical theism, which teaches that God does not suffer, and against panentheism, which teaches that God is not sovereign over suffering, the authors describe God as a caring King, the One characterized by willing vulnerability emphasis in original.Chapter 5 argues that the Church needs to recover the practice of lamentation, that is, the language of lament The lament whether individual or corporate is the most common form of prayer in the Psalms Contemporary Christians are often uncomfortable with laments frank complaining to God e.g., My God, my God, why have you forsaken me Psalm 22 1 Without lament, however, sufferers can t make sense of what s happening to or in themselves The very structure of lament brings shape to the formlessness of suffering For me personally, this was the best chapter in the book.The remaining chapters discuss a variety of topics redemptive anger chapter 6 suffering, prayer, and worldview chapter 7 leadership and tears chapter 8 family toxins chapter 9 sexual abuse chapter 10 mental illness chapter 11 and the role of the Christian community in ameliorating and preventing suffering chapter 12 Each of these chapters mines Scripture for wisdom on the topics, as well as draws on the best of the social sciences The discussion of family toxins in chapter 9, for example, puts the story of the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph into fruitful dialogue with family systems therapy It is a tour de force Chapter 13 brings the book to a conclusion by reflecting on the metanarrative of Scripture, which progressives in the arc of Creation Devastation Restoration In Christ, God s devastated creation is being restored at the individual, social, and cosmic levels.Between Pain and Grace is not always easy reading, and like most books on hard topics, readers will find all sorts of nits to pick Nonetheless, Gerald Peterman and Andrew Schmutzer have written a valuable treatment of a difficult subject I highly recommend it._____P.S If you found my review helpful, please vote Yes on my .com review page.

  2. says:

    Pain, Emotion, and GodElisabeth Elliot coined the most memorable definition of human suffering that I have ever heard Suffering is wanting what you don t have or having what you don t want These words came to mind often as I read Between Pain and Grace, because Gerald W Peterman and Andrew J Schmutzer have initiated a fresh conversation which does not claim to be the last word on suffering, but is characterized by the scope, depth, and fidelity one would expect from two of Moody Bible Institute s theology professors.My attention was arrested immediately by the authors careful distinction between pain and suffering Consider this Pain primarily objective, external, and typically social or physical as opposed to personal and mental Suffering primarily subjective, internal, and typically mental or emotional This distinction is important because not all pain is received as suffering just ask an Olympic gymnast or a brand new mum Conversely, those with leprosy or diabetic neuropathy would welcome pain as a means to alleviate the suffering that occurs when they injure their insensitive extremities Dr Eric Cassell chimes in with the succinct conclusion that the only way to learn whether suffering is present is to ask the sufferer A biblical theology of suffering must include the truth that Scripture provides a voice for those who suffer it acknowledges the reality of innocent suffering and, without moralizing, it affirms the presence of God in the midst of pain I never tire of hearing the truth that God is fluent in the language of lament He has graciously appointed script writers in the psalms and prophets, and throughout Scripture, honest expressions of grief are portrayed as a natural exhale of worship Because a lively faith is open to the uncomfortable questions and painful stories of those who suffer, the church gathered must be clear in its identity as a safe place for the expression of grief and disappointment Counselors, individuals dealing with dysfunctional families, and those who have experienced sexual abuse or who are dealing in some way with mental illness will appreciate the authors frank discussion of these topics as they relate to what the Scripture says about pain and suffering.The term relational ecosystem runs as a theme throughout Between Pain and Grace, affirming the fact that there is no such thing as a private or contained sin The relational ecosystem of God s creation has been shaken to its roots by sin, and this is seen at every level God with mankind man with woman humanity with animals and humanity with the ground.Brokenness abounds and the outcome is alienation Anger sends out generational shock waves that are amply illustrated in Old Testament family dysfunction Peterman and Schmutzer refer to David s family life as a relational debris field, acknowledging that we all are part of interlocking relationships that surround us like the rings of a tree Our relational ecosystem, tangled as it is in personal weakness and sin another fascinating distinction that the authors delineate , demonstrates the efficacy of the redemption that comes to us in the midst of our brokenness Because God Himself chose a path of vulnerability for His Son, the record of Scripture is that God experiences pain and a theology of a suffering God is evident throughout the testimony of Scripture God s transcendence is balanced by His immanence, as evidenced in His compassionate love, His relatedness with His creation, and His willingness to risk relationally.Looking at The Lord s Prayer through the lens of pain gives it a fresh application, for in Matthew 6, Jesus provides a model for prayer in a suffering world, a challenge to transcend our worries and pain by focusing first on God s honor, God s good, and God s moral requirements Opening one s life to spiritual leadership roles also opens the door to some unique forms of suffering rejection, hopelessness, and discontentment We follow a Savior who entered into suffering voluntarily Peterman and Schmutzer assert that leaders have likewise made that choice, but then offer the encouragement that tears shed are part of the leader s path to Christ likeness.Since suffering is unavoidable on a fallen planet, this question is also unavoidable for the thinking believer What needs to happen in the space between pain and grace For most people including the Apostle Paul , it holds a journey of acceptance, a yielding of expectations, and most important of all, a commitment to receive the gift of suffering from the hand of an all wise and sovereign God This book was provided by Moody Publishers in exchange for my review I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  3. says:

    The authors have provided a biblical theology of suffering for pastors, ministry leaders, counselors, and others in church leadership It is aimed at understanding our suffering based on biblical texts It centers on what the Bible says about suffering well and helping others in their suffering.There are some thought provoking issues in this book The one that struck me with the most force is our lack of lament There is no place for lament in our church services, even though a good percentage of those in the pews are suffering The authors draw attention to our dis ease with engaging suffering in corporate worship Expressions of pain and suffering are not welcome in church We wear facades instead This section of the book made me wonder how the church can engage misery and give voice to those suffering.Another issue is the suffering of God The authors investigate that concept and how an understanding of the suffering of God helps those who have known pain I found their discussion of fear was interesting too, especially whether it is always a sin We are reminded of Jesus experience of fear in the garden There is also a discussion of the role of anger and how it can be redemptive An exploration of forgiveness is included too.An insightful topic for me was the difference between pain and suffering Pain is external and objective It is a thing Suffering is internal and subjective It is an experience Their discussion about the relationship of suffering to desires, goals, and sin was very enlightening.This is a good book for pastors, counselors, and others who want to help people live through suffering with grace, maturity, patience, insight, and proper action The authors have included great chapters on the dysfunctional family, sexual abuse and mental illness It is rather academic in style for example, writing about the relational ecosystem in Genesis Lay people may find it a bit too academic There are questions included at the end of each chapter so the book could be used as a study by a church or counseling staff.I was raised in a denomination that was rather stoic This book really helped me understand the necessity of giving voice to suffering Silencing the voice only intensifies the suffering I recommend this book to leaders, hoping others will also gain a glimpse of the importance of giving voice to the suffering It is not a book to give to those in the midst of suffering, however.I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

  4. says:

    Between Pain and Grace A Biblical Theology of Suffering by Gerald W Peterman, Andrew J Schmutzer answers questions according to the Bible and what God has to say about this subject When I first started this book I wasn t sure I was going to like it but what an eye opener it is I was very interested in reading this, as I watched my Mother who was dying with cancer, as she suffered and the pain she endured And as for myself I have suffered many things throughout my lifetime I am now living with chronic pain So yes you might understand why this is a book I would be quite interested in.The authors take us on a journey through the Bible to show us how God is in pain himself How it must break the heart of God to see how the people he has created behave so badly toward each other and destroy the earth he made for us to enjoy Let s not forget how Jesus suffered for ALL of us, so that we can one day make Heaven our home Who are we to expect any less suffering or pain than our Father in Heaven and our Savior With chapters titled1 The Grammar of Suffering Basics of Affliction In Scripture 2 The Relational Ecosystem of Sin and Suffering3 The Suffering of God4 Emotions and the Suffering of Jesus5 Longing to Lament Returning to the Language of Suffering6 Suffering and Redemptive Anger7 The Lord s Prayer Suffering, Prayer, and Worldview8 Leadership and Tears9 Joseph s Tears Suffering From Family Toxins10 Sexual Abuse Suffering a Host of Betrayals11 Inner Darkness The Unique Suffering of Mental Illness12 Suffering and God s People Community, Renewal, and Ethics13 The Metanarrative RenewedThe authors use Biblical scripture to explain pain and suffering to us in each chapter, along with thoughts and questions at the end to get us thinking for ourselves.One of my favorite quotes from this book Focus on your healing, not the politics of being a victim I highly recommend this book to both Christians and Non Christians alike.I received an ARC advanced readers copy from Moody s Publishers and NetGallery in exchange for my honest review, rather it be good or bad.

  5. says:

    Gerald W Peterman and Andrew J Schmutzer s Between Pain Grace A Biblical Theology of Suffering explores one of the toughest theological problems in the Christian faith Suffering It s the focus of so much resistance to the Faith, as well as the subject of so many songs and stories that fill our cultural dialogue and identity Suffering, it seems, is ubiquitous and personal And the biblical writers wrote as often about it as any other theme Psalms, in fact, is filled with laments, both individual and corporate Lamentations expresses the suffering of a nation under oppression and in exile Peter and Paul both express the sufferings of congregations under oppressive thumbs of political and social institutions, as well as address what it means to overcome in those situations And the prophet of the Book of Revelation is intimately aware of suffering Of course, the narratives about Jesus are littered with what the humanity of God looks like in confrontation with the principalities and powers of human suffering.The biblical material, in fact, is so vast, that Peterman and Schmutzer have quite a bit from which to choose And therefore so much to say.They say it masterfully, too Pain and suffering really is ubiquitous, and they require pastoral lives tempered with the Good News That s what readers find in Between Pain Grace.While I disagree with some conclusions Peterman and Schmutzer reach about some of the biblical material, it s hard to dismiss this little book It offers so much fodder for the Church to begin to reflect on the Gospel and what it does and says in the face of so much human pain and suffering even in the face of so much suffering throughout creation Here are two authors who point, doggedly and with conviction, at Jesus as the graceful response of God to all that cosmic pain and suffering.___________________I received a free copy of this book from Moody Publishing in exchange for my honest review here.

  6. says:

    Between Pain and Grace provides a Biblical view of pain and suffering It has an academic tone and appears to be aimed mostly at Christian leaders and counselors The authors believe that God is both all good and all powerful Much of the book focused on what the Bible says about the topic either in teachings or in historical narratives.They started by discussing pain, suffering, and the difference between them They explored the origins of suffering as found in Genesis and discussed the verses where either God or Jesus is described as suffering They discussed the language of lament in the Bible and urge the modern church to use laments in their services They looked at redemptive anger against injustice, which leads to action to make things right and the Lord s Prayer They talked about the role of Christians and Christian leaders regarding suffering especially how they act toward suffering people in their church They devote a chapter each to fractured families, sexual abuse, and mental illness.This is probably not a book you want to hand someone in fresh, deep emotional pain, but it is a good look at the theology of suffering and how the church as a whole can better help those who are suffering.I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

  7. says:

    Between Pain and GraceA Biblical Theology of Sufferingby Gerald W Peterman, Andrew J SchmutzerMoody PublishersSelf Help, ChristianPub Date 07 Jun 2016I was given a copy of Between Pain and Grace through the publisher and their partnership with Netgalley in exchange for my honest review which is as follows The author starts this book by pointing out the fact that there is a difference between pain and suffering and the authors go on to talk about the relationship between pain and suffering The authors remind us too that we can experience suffering even when there is an absence of physical pain and just as there can be suffering without pain there can alse be pain without suffering Peterman and Schmutzer points out there is a relationship between sin and suffering And that Jesus himself endured suffering If you are looking for a book on Pain and Suffering and Grace from a Biblical perspective then Between Pain and Grace is just the ticket.I give this book five out of five stars.Happy Reading

  8. says:

    OK, this book was amazing for me I suffer from Fibromyalgia Endometriosis, and I can attest to the fact that if God wasn t by my side through the bad days, months, years I would be a completely different person Constant, chronic pain changes you, and it s hard not to take it out of those you love This book answers questions the hard questions that you ve been asking yourself as long as you ve had pain suffering It s chalk full of things you need to really make the wisdom it offers, sink in Again, I love when a book doesn t just load you up on advice but offers real stories from real people I would recommend this book for everyone, not just a person dealing with pain, but ones who suffer from mental illnesses This book needs to be read by everyone those that suffer and those that love people who suffer.

  9. says:

    In the vast smorgasbord of Cristian titles on suffering this book is a standout It is not filled with the platitudes and poorly exegeted Scripture references like the majority titles in this field of study It is instead a well thought out, engaging, and scholarly look at what the Bible has to say about suffering in the life of the Christian This is not a book you read with an eye toward picking up a couple of concepts It will challenge you to plumb the depths of this topic personally and theologically If you want a biblically grounded book on suffering this title is one to pick up.

  10. says:

    I enjoyed reading this book on a difficult topic Such an encouragement and reminder of our role as believers in dealing with suffering, our own and that of others.

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