“Three dollars worth of gospel, please” by D.A. Carson

“I would like to buy about three dollars worth of gospel, please. Not too much– just enough to make me happy, but not so much that I get addicted. I don’t want so much gospel that I learn to really hate covetousness and lust.

I certainly don’t want so much that I start to love my enemies, cherish self-denial, and contemplate missionary service in some alien culture. I want ecstasy, not repentance; I want transcendence, not transformation.

I would like to be cherished by some nice, forgiving, broad-minded people, but I myself don’t want to love those from different races– especially if they smell.

I would like enough gospel to make my family secure and my children well behaved, but not so much that I find my ambitions redirected or my giving too greatly enlarged. I would like about three dollars worth of gospel, please.”

–D.A. Carson, Basics For Believers: An Exposition of Philippians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996/2005), pp. 12-13.

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Filed under Christian Theology, D.A. Carson, Jesus Christ, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

10 responses to ““Three dollars worth of gospel, please” by D.A. Carson

  1. Pingback: Three Dollars Worth of Gospel Please! « Wittenberg 1517

  2. Regina Rees

    FYI…… The proper author of the “Three Dollars Worth of God” quote is Wilbur Rees and it is found in a book by the same title.

    Thank you
    Regina Rees (His daughter)

    • Hello,
      Can you tell me how to obtain a copy of your father’s book, “Three Dollars Worth of God”? The only copies I can find on the internet are approximately $300-400. Any assistance would be appreciated.

      Agnes Schrader

    • Dear Miss Rees, Carson plagiarized your Father’s words–plain and simple. Your Father’s work had an impact on many people, but apparently Carson, who is supposed to be an academic, does not understand the protocol of citation and attribution. Such is the state of Christian scholars today. I’m sorry for this.

  3. Poem: Three Dollars Worth of God

    I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
    Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
    but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk
    or a snooze in the sunshine.
    I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man
    or pick beets with a migrant.
    I want ecstasy, not transformation.
    I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth.
    I want a pound of the Eternal in a paper sack.
    I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.

    — Wilbur Rees

  4. Pingback: How Much of the Gospel Would I Like? « Apprentice2Jesus

  5. Regina Rees

    Unfortunately the book is out of print. I know that as the family we have only a few copies in our possession

  6. Regina,
    I just discovered your father’s poem today. So glad you brought to Mr. Carson’s attention that your father is the author of the poem.


  7. Thomas Fletcher

    Regina, does the family still have rights to the book?
    Could they republish an ebook version?
    I had a professor in Seminary who used his book for devotionals and many students wanted a copy.

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