Under the Banner of Love
I am sick of “love” being used as an excuse for the church to do whatever new things they decide to do.
Or using “love” to justify whatever changes they want to make. Or to justify their association with unbiblical religious or secular organizations . Or to justify their obsession with being “relevant” to whomever.
“Love” has become the great excuse of the modern Evangelical church.
It is the banner under which all manner of questionable things are marched into the church.
When someone mentions “love” as the purpose, we are expected to suspend our normal skepticism and go along with whatever crappy stuff is being fed to the congregation.
But, just to be clear, we should be moved to help others with emotional and heart-wrenching problems. And some things do need to be dealt with. Some people do need help. And some problems do need to be addressed right away.
A hungry person needs to be fed. A person without clothes needs clothes. A person without a place to lay his head, needs a place to lay down and gather his wits. Orphans need care. Widows need help.
There are many obvious things we can do that the scriptures clearly say we should do. We all need help in one form or another from time to time.
Which is one of the most basic ministries of the church — To bear one another’s burdens.
But come on. Enough is enough!
To give a bit of perspective on where this rant is coming from, I grew up in a mainline Protestant church.
In the United Methodist church of my youth, as in virtually all mainline churches, love is all you would hear about.
The message was not about truth in those churches. It was all about “love”. And, in actual practice, it was about however “love” was defined by that particular denomination or local church body.
Neither biblical authority nor biblical inerrancy are accepted in the mainline Protestant churches. Although, maybe, there might be some rogue church within these denominations which has a believing pastor whose congregation is supportive of his rebellious stand upon the scriptures; but that is a rarity. And, if the pastor is too bold in his faith, he will be removed by the local church or expelled from the larger denomination.
That is just the reality of the mainline denominations.
When I think of all this, a passage from the book of Revelation comes to mind that describes this sorry state of affairs in the mainlines. “…I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.” (Revelation 3:1b)
Unfortunately, the Evangelical church is just too naïve to recognize the dangers of this. In fact, they are either incredibly naïve or willfully ignorant of the situation. And, consequently, maintain a kind of semi-sweet, wishy-washy posture toward these groups.
Evangelicals are just too easily led down the garden path of compromise by media sources like Christianity Today magazine, religious websites, Christian radio, and Christian bookstores; all are sources that push a kind of Christianized liberalism.
Which is a weak, mushy, emotionally-based view of Christianity — a kind of Christian-Humanist blend. An uneven mix like oil and water. A mix of two philosophies that cannot exist together; despite the popular attempt to blend them.
This Christian-Humanist philosophy has greatly influenced the younger believers and younger leaders in our churches; who have been trained either in the New Evangelical Christian colleges and seminaries, or in the Humanist-based, secular universities that offer religious studies and divinity degrees.
These young leaders have been saturated by this philosophy which leans to the Left politically and promotes tolerance for the spiritually-liberal theology that flows out of the apostate mainline churches.
Which brings me back to this thing called, “love”.
Love Must Be Directed by Truth
Influenced by this same philosophy, the average Evangelical church has changed its focus from truth to “love”. With a peculiar obsession for I Corinthians 13 — the “love” chapter. Which is now regarded as the cornerstone of New Testament theology.
With “love” as the supreme priority, a leader can introduce just about any new idea, practice, style, change, or doctrine. All in the name of “love”.
And, again, just to be clear, I am not assigning some evil intent here by our leadership — whether they are young or old. I think they really believe this stuff. And are convinced that love is the Prime Directive for the church today.
It’s even very probable that you have heard something similar to the the following dialogue: “Love is the Royal Law. Love is what the Bible is all about. And if we just focus on loving one another, then doctrine and truth will fall into place. And then we won’t be divided over our different interpretations of the Bible.”
Of course, those may not be the exact words you’ve heard; but that is the gist of what people are increasingly saying today in our churches.
In fact, many even say that focusing on doctrine and truth will divide us and even work counter to fostering “love” among the brethren. Many popular teachers will even accuse those who insist on testing new ideas and practices against the scriptures as being fruit inspectors, legalists, and Pharisees.
Even calling those who love truth and doctrine, “idolaters”. And accusing them of making truth, doctrine, and the written word of God their “idols”!
But, at the end of the day, all of this is simply just an excuse and distraction from doing the hard work . . .
Of knowing the Lord’s word.
Of allowing His word to abide in us.
Of keeping His word.
Of defending His word against error.