The Bible Speaks of Unorthodox Love But Not Loveless Orthodoxy
The theme of love is so pervasive in the New Testament, I don’t think someone who consistently ignores it can be well described as orthodox. While the Bible does speak of unorthodox love, it doesn’t give a category for a loveless orthodoxy.
Love is a major, not minor, doctrine in the epistles. You find it everywhere you look in Paul’s writings. For those growing in the Scriptures and walking in the Spirit, charity should be something of a trademark. For example, Paul says that without love, even our most impressive ministry efforts are vanity.
The Apostle makes is clear, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing” (1 Corinthians 13).
You can have it all in terms of a public platform and have it all add up to nothing. You can reach a million YouTube subscribers, and if you attracted a crowd through belittling others, it all amounts to nada. In Galatians, Paul describes love as a spiritual fruit born by the Spirit. In Romans he calls us to love one another with a brotherly affection.
The Apostle John quotes Jesus as telling his followers they will be identified by the love they have for one another. Love is kind of like Nike’s swoosh, it is a Christian’s public symbol. It’s our brand. That doesn’t mean Christians don’t sometimes speak hard truths to one another, but they just do so in love.
Do you know the careful Christian leaders who have sincere concerns about the ministry of others? Probably not. They don’t flaunt it on social media. They’re not shooting to score points in the public arena. If they have concerns or questions, they voice them quietly, privately, hoping to understand, or warn, or perhaps even save another. It’s not about retweets, it’s about real life relationships and authentic edification.
That’s how it should be.