Friday, November 23, 2007

What's Love Got To Do With It?

Subsequent to Desmond Tutu's vitriolic attack on the truth surrounding homosexuality and same-sex marriage, the debate was once again revived in the papers here in South Africa. Predictably use of the "God is love" argument was copiously employed to silence critics of the gay rights movement in the church. I have always found it amusing that people who never open the cover of a Bible all of a sudden find need to quote from it to advance their cause. Why don't they ever quote from the Koran? Sad that those who use this argument have no concept of God's love. Those who try to leverage this "God is love" logic assume that love is pure emotion. Below is my response to such fallacious thinking :

Dear Editor,

There is no dispute that God is love (God’s love unbiased, Mark Kleinschmidt, and Love your neighbor, Sharon Cox 22-11-07). What is never discussed, when this argument is inveighed as a trump card to promote gay rights, is love’s definition and context.

Both Kleinschmidt and Cox set sail on the choppy sea of subjectivity and relativism with their respective utilitarian notions of God’s love. Because God is a complex of attributes, to include His infinite holiness, righteousness, justice, grace and mercy—not just love—His love must be defined within the broader context of these respective characteristics. Wrenched from these other qualities, God’s love is subjectivised and infused with soppy sentiment. This is not love, but wishful thinking.

The logical conclusion of the Kleinschmidt-Cox equation for love is that almost any behaviour or lifestyle can be justified and validated by invoking the “God is love” argument. Many an adulterer has rationalized their sin by quoting “Love your neighbor as yourself”. But God's love is not a blank check. Once other attributes, like holiness, are added to the love matrix, love takes on moral parameters and ethical imperatives, grounded in the whole of God’s person.

The Bible also says “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) and “…holiness, without which, no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14). Unless holiness, along with the rest of God’s attributes, is factored into the definition of love, love will be reduced to ambiguity and arbitrariness.

Until one is willing to repent of what the Bible labels sin (adultery, fornication, lying, stealing, murder, rape, pride, corruption, homosexuality … etc…) on the basis of the person and finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross, no one can honestly claim they are loving God and their neighbor as themselves. The good news is that God is neither biased nor prejudice. All who seek Him on His terms will find forgiveness and true love. Only then will the world truly be better place!

Rev. Mark Christopher
Living Hope Bible Church

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