Friday, 14 December 2012

The Nature of Love

In the book “The Surprising Offense of God’s Love”, by Jonathan Leeman, he argues that often in history the church has veered too far, either towards what it thinks is holiness or what it thinks is love – thus setting up a false dichotomy between the two.

In the former camp might be, for example, the Puritans and the Fundamentalists and in the latter might be the Romantics, Liberals and maybe the Emergents of the 21st century.  But in reality, Leeman argues, there is no conflict between love and holiness. They are in fact mutual.  Holiness is love and love is holy.  Phew – that’s heavy but is actually very practical and mightily relevant for 21st C Christianity.

In our world we have a false view of love, a distorted view, which considers it “unloving” to draw boundaries and to exclude.  But in the Bible we find the very opposite eg there were boundaries between….. 

The inside of the Garden of Eden and the outside 
The inside of Noah’s ark and the outside
The inside of the house smeared with blood on Passover night and the outside
The inside of the Promised Land and the outside etc.

God makes that distinction.  Hence love can itself be separating and can be exclusive.  An example might be love you have for your spouse – you are separated unto him/her till death you do part.  The heart of the gospel is to show that some are in and some are out.  But the great hope is that those on the outside may come in through repentance and faith.
I’ve been trying to understand the gospel and all its implications for over 30 years of my life.  I’m going to keep trying to learn more.  That’s the way to keep growing and not stagnate.
Leeman’s book is challenging – so my next blog will be lighter – on a sporting theme!

1 comment:

  1. If you are interested you can pick up this book on at the minute with free postage for £11.69