When I originally titled this post, I had no idea that there existed a concept called “The Love Gospel”. And, it sort of fits with the latest Rob Bell fiasco that I’m not willing to talk about yet. Before I went about my writing, I hit up Google to see what the Internet had to say about the definition. Wow, am I glad I did. If you Google “The Love Gospel”, you will find some pretty adamant opinions about why what they describe is unbiblical. Most of it I’m in agreement with. So, if we stick with the overall concept, I agree wholeheartedly, but I should probably come up with a different name of what I’m calling it, because our definitions differ.
The common definition sits somewhere between political correctness and laziness. That you either keep your trap shut until after you’ve first loved a person to Christ or you ignore sin completely for sake of love. Either way, you might as well just be a motivational speaker. I won’t necessarily go into either of those because they’re pretty obvious points. I am a strong believer in Bill Hybel’s book, Just Walk Across the Room, which could easily be compared to the “keep your trap shut” method. However, Bill isn’t talking about bait and switch or the laziness argument. He’s talking about making your agenda known up front and just loving on people while the Holy Spirit does his thing to change hearts. In most cases, you’ll find people aren’t looking for someone to spew The Gospel on them every time you meet. Instead, most people, after knowing your heart, just want you to be you.
So why do I think my “Love Gospel” is better? I don’t. I didn’t make it up. Jesus did. Take a look at Mark 12:29-31.
29 Jesus answered, The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.
A scribe asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment, and He answers him plainly. Even in John 3:16, the most widely known verse in scripture, it begins with God’s love. Jesus & His Father, God, are the only ones who are ever able to use absolutes like ‘all’, ‘never’ and ‘no other’. So, when Jesus says “There is no other commandment greater than these,” that’s exactly what He means. Nothing else. It isn’t context-based, culturally or time-boxed.
Some will bring up The Great Commission or the Ten Commandments, etc. I see those as a both/and not an either/or. They’re all crucial to our jobs as Christ-followers. In my opinion, though, we will not be successful following through with any of God’s commandments unless we first “love the Lord your God” and “love others.” This is along the same exact lines as my previous thoughts on the Holy Spirit, that we won’t display any of the fruit unless we first pursue the Holy Spirit.