The title is more of a rhetorical question. In fact, its a question posed with an increasing chagrin as I see love fought against in the quest to avoid the slippery slope of liberalism. I started to name the title Love Really Does Win and I bet that would have raised the hackles on the backs of many necks. Why? Because when we hear that title, we think of Rob Bell and liberalism (which usually means anything to the left of what we believe). And we get concerned about love.
But here’s the thing: love really did and does win. When I read scripture about God’s reconciling work with his creation accomplished in his Son, I can’t help but see that everything he did was out of love (Romans 5:8; John 15:13; 1 John 3:1 ). It is because God loves us that we can love him (1 John 4:10). We are commanded to love him with all of our being and love neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). Jesus said the way that his disciples would be known is because of their love for another (John 15:12) and John is quite emphatic that without it the love of God is really not manifest in our lives (1 John 2:10; 3:10). Paul insists that our gifts and contributions to the body are meaningless without love (1 Corinthians 13) and desires for our love to grow in the knowledge of God towards each other (Phil 1:9). Peter compels us to love one another deeply because love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 1:22; 4:8)
I observe that Christians of the conservative stripe, who really care about not losing truth and sound doctrine tend to downplay it. In fact, I think in some cases there is this fear that if we talk about love too much it will somehow unravel our theology. If we let love be our motive that somehow propels us into liberalism. Why is this? Why do we fear losing something of sound theology if we talk about love too much?
I can’t help but think that the fear of love stems from the threat of losing justice, as if they can be separated. But justice can only be wrought because of God’s active love. Just because there is an emphasis of love does not mean one is sliding down a slippery slope.
Craig Bubeck wrote this piece on love in Christianity Today from an obvious Wesleyan perspective. While I am not Wesleyan, I appreciate what he had to say as it struck at the nerve of what concerned me. He cites many instances of the biblical motive and command for love and indicates that does not mean a lack of justice in this section here; Continue Reading →