Remember when phony niceness was a repugnant thing? These days, it’s become standard operating procedure in much of the church, and with predictably catastrophic results. In our surrender to the new love and our fear of its right-hand hatchet-man, the dreaded “unloving” tag, we have thickly seeded our own lands with mines and built barricades to protect enemy strongholds.
As a result, man-centered, emotion-driven “love” has been used most hatefully and effectively against the bride of Christ…often from within the professing church itself. There have been costly surrenders of Truth to the enemy on many fronts, but there have been three particularly catastrophic losses to the culture through the church’s abandonment of a Christ-centered understanding of love:
- Church discipline—This essential component of biblical Christianity has been all but completely abandoned in the name of the new love. If “God is love,” so the thought goes, then we can’t be having biblical church discipline. That would require judgment, after all, and the one and only concept we are happy to universally judge as evil is the use of biblical judgment itself. Once the emotions of men and women (and boys and girls) became idolized to the point of supplanting truth, this hypocritical, incoherent, selectively applied “judge not” philosophy took hold of the professing church…and, from there, the rest of the culture.
- Defense of the Gospel from external attack—To boldly proclaim the error of religions or worldviews in clear opposition to Christianity—to openly refer to these anti-Christian systems as wrong—is deemed by most professing Christians as a distasteful, unwise act sure to impair the appeal and progress of the church. Those committing the “sin” of openly testing and critiquing such popular views in light of Scripture are almost always labeled unloving and are then (hypocritically) persecuted for being so.
- Defense of the Gospel from internal attack—Not content to merely concede the war as waged against the church from without, we have, again in the name of the new love, not only abdicated our responsibility to preserve the purity of the church in its doctrine and leadership, we have also become infinitely more prone to attack those who actually take up the biblical charge to maintain that purity. Incredibly, vocal defenders of biblical truth are more likely to be attacked by professing Christians than those openly acting to undermine the same truth from within the church. Those who dare hold the professing church to a basic standard of biblical fidelity are tagged as, you guessed it, unloving.
While enduring this sort of reactive name-calling and character assassination is simply a natural consequence of biblical fidelity in practice, we must take to heart the fact that this is nothing new and it is always a sign of our honoring Christ. Each and every time we get slapped with the unloving tag for these reasons, we should wear it like a badge of honor (though never arrogantly or self-righteously, as though out Christ-honoring stand is anything but a demonstration of His freely given grace to us). Wear it that way because that is exactly how Christ sees it. The “fellowship of persecution” is, as God the Holy Spirit has told us, a beautiful thing.
So take heart and keep that eternal perspective, Christian.
Faithfully, lovingly proclaim and apply the Gospel-fueled Great Commission of Christ the King in every realm of His creation, right here and right now…after all, that’s the only truly loving thing to do.
The above post is adapted from a chapter of the book Fire Breathing Christians entitled Progressive Love: Nicely Escorting People to Hell.
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© 2014 Scott Alan Buss – All Rights Reserved.