This is one of many blog posts this week (and the coming week) that is hard for me to write. I am a missional guy. I just got back from Colorado picking up an long-term ex-inmate for aftercare, I spent Thanksgiving with the homeless of Lakeland and every Monday night you can find me at a local pub hanging with the disconnected 20-somethings of our community.
Compass Point is a missional church. We help single mothers afford childcare, we embrace former skinheads and we pass out free water to thirsty people all over town. We have always operated under that overused slogan…”Love Wins”.
Here is my problem…I no longer believe that anymore. Love doesn’t win…truth does!!!
Christ said…”I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Love wasn’t mentioned. God can love us a bunch…but that love won’t get us into Heaven. We can love God a bunch…but that love won’t get us into Heaven. We can love people a bunch…but that love won’t get them into Heaven. Only true repentance of our sinful nature and total acceptance of Jesus Christ as the Savior will get us into Heaven. There is no other way. It is not love that wins…it is solely the knowledge and total acceptance of truth that wins.
Love can’t be truth..and therefore can’t win…because it is based off of feeble human emotions and feelings. There are days that I don’t love people. There are even days when I don’t really love God all that much. There are times when the love fades and a struggle emerges. It is then that the knowledge of absolute truth takes root…and it’s application in my life takes over. True love beyond ourselves can only come through knowing the Truth. It is only through knowing and applying Biblical truth that lets me love on people…and God…when I emotionally, spiritually, mentally or physically don’t feel like. That doesn’t come from a cheap fickle thing like love…it comes from a life-encompassing thing like truth.
I guess my basic problem with “love wins” is that…it is not working. It may work elsewhere, but it isn’t working in America. For all of the loving on people that the church is doing today…not many are coming to Christ. The United States has become the second largest mission field in the world. Third World countries are sending missionaries to us these days. That just sucks! The church…shouting “love wins” to the rafters…has become more concerned with loving on the prostitute with conversation at the local watering hole…and less concerned with telling her about “living water”. We’ve become more concerned with building community with people that sharing the truths of the Bible. Love…and community…has become the tail that wags the dog. Community without God as the center…is a inferior imitation to true relationship. Love without truth…is useless in the Kingdom of God!!! Authentic love…and community…doesn’t happen unless truth is first there.
I have also become completely disenchanted with the Emergent definition of love. Love is patient and kind…at times. Love can also be a trip to the spiritual woodshed for a Biblical butt-whooping. Love isn’t just handing out food and blankets to the homeless. It is also saying “I’ve given you fourteen cans of food and two blankets this week…and none of it is going to do you any good when your heart finally stops ticking…let me tell you about something called Truth that I’ve found.” The love in “love wins” is always defined these days as some kind of hand-holding, hippie-looking, Democrat voting, everyone-smiling-like-a-Coke-commercial ritual. There is definitely evidence of loving kindness in the Word…but there are also many examples of loving toughness in Scripture. In contrast…truth is the one constant throughout the entire inspired writings found in God’s Word. I also find it funny that some Emergent leaders argue over the reality of absolute truth. Without absolute truth…there is no absolute love. A “chicken or the egg” conversation is pointless…read Genesis 1:1…the Truth came first.
Does this mean that Chris Elrod will stop being missional? No. Does this mean that Compass Point will stop being missional. No. It just means that spreading the Truth will be a little more important in the coming days…than trying to make everyone like us through love. The Bible says the world will hate us if we truly follow Him…what the heck…we might as play off of that. We’re going to continue to embrace skinheads, take in ex-inmates, give out warm clothes to the homeless and help single moms pay for childcare. However, it will no longer be done without any verbal presentation of truth. Faith without works is dead. Works without truth…is pointless. I’ve read the back of the Book…Truth wins!!!