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08 June 2012

Does Theology Trump Love?

Jesus' theology was perfect. The rest of us, as smart or as Spirit-filled as some may be, have an imperfect, even muddled understanding of it. While there's no getting around the fact that if objective truth does exist (and I believe it does), some people are closer to it than others. However, I hope that no follower of Christ is convinced that he has such a stranglehold on "proper theology" that it rivals that of Jesus.

So why have we elevated theological understanding to a place of supreme importance in the Church, displacing priorities that Jesus obviously held to be critical? I would argue that we have done so in a bold, unashamed manner.

When was the last time you heard of a person or family leaving a church fellowship because that church body didn't serve the needy people in the community? I'm not sure I've ever heard of anything like that. How long has it been since you found out about a family leaving their church because the pastor seemed to be leaning toward Calvinism? Yesterday? Last month? How often does a believer decide to seek out a new church home because their current one doesn't give much money to the poor or to sister churches in need? How often do they begin that journey because they feel like the deacons are trying to run the church? because the music is too "rock 'n roll"? because the pastor uses too many sermon illustrations and not enough Scripture?

In the Word we see by Jesus' actions and words that He was far more concerned about a person's love for the Lord and love for other people than He was about their theology. It seems quite odd to me, then, that most who claim to follow Him today have positioned their spiritual concerns in the exact opposite way.

Solid theology can and should coexist with love and justice (see my comments on Biblical justice when you have time), but it does not trump them and certainly doesn't replace them. Let's stop acting as though it does.

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NLT)

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Mark 12:29-31 (NLT)


Anthony Stephens said...

Great post, bro! Far too often do we get ese things out of whack. should we have solid, grounded theology? We better! But of we truly understand what the teachings are teaching, then it will cause us to respond in service as Christ did. If our theology does not move us to service, then it is nothing more than something filling our heads. Thanks for the reminder!

Dean Lusk said...

Thanks, Anthony! I like the comment about theology moving us to service. It's a "faith without works if dead" thing.

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