Love Theologically

I’m always shocked to hear pastors warn against theology, because it amounts to an act of self-sabotage.

The Bible nowhere suggests that good theology can hinder love. Paul spends the first half of his letters expounding good theology. When he transitions to application in the second half, he never warns that some of that good stuff he mentioned up front might now become a hazard. And neither should we.

 

I learned today that a prominent evangelical pastor warned in a sermon that we must not let our theology get in the way of our love. I didn’t hear the message myself, as I rarely listen to podcasts besides “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and “Planet Money.” But I trust my friend who told me, and even if he heard wrong, it’s a sentiment I hear often.

I’m always shocked to hear pastors warn against theology, because it amounts to an act of self-sabotage. Theology is all we’ve got, so we can no more be against theology than the George Foreman grill can be against meat. Take away either the meat or the theology, and all that’s left is hot air.

I understand how bad theology can get in the way of our love. In fact, if it’s bad theology then it must. But good theology is simply God’s view about creation, humanity, sin, salvation, sex, and so forth. To the extent that what we say about any of these things lines up with what God says, to that extent we have good doctrine. This right thinking about God and his world must prompt us to love both God and his world, or either we don’t yet really understand or we’re willfully blind sinners, or both.

The Bible nowhere suggests that good theology can hinder love. Paul spends the first half of his letters expounding good theology. When he transitions to application in the second half, he never warns that some of that good stuff he mentioned up front might now become a hazard. And neither should we.

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