“Stop Focusing on Love, You Hippie!”

Heart

I’ve been accused a lot lately of focusing too much on love, supposedly to the exclusion of other biblical themes like holiness, justice, wrath, etc. Well, I do focus a lot on love. In fact, I base everything on it. And I won’t apologize for that.

Love is the central message of the entire New Testament. Love is the very core of the gospel message itself. Jesus and the Apostles focused on love above all else, and so I will do the same. Those other biblical themes that I supposedly exclude are, in fact, subsets of love. We can’t understand those parts until we get first get love right.

Faith and love are ultimately the only things that matter. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s see what the New Testament has to say.

How Should Christians Respond to Violence?

Jesus’ Arrest

I was recently asked to write a post for Faithlife regarding a Christian response to violence. Here’s a little excerpt:

Buy a sword . . . but don’t use it

Shortly before his arrest, Jesus told his disciples, “Let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one” (Luke 22:36). Why did Jesus say this? Was he preparing them to defend themselves? Not quite. Jesus explained, “For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment” (Luke 22:37).

The disciples said, “Look, Lord, here are two swords,” to which Jesus responded, “It is enough” (Luke 22:38). Enough for what? Two swords would hardly have provided sufficient defense against “a great crowd with swords and clubs” (Matthew 26:47), but they were enough to fulfil the Scripture. Alternatively, many translations (CEB, CEV, HCSB, ISV, etc.) suggest that Jesus’ response is better rendered, “Enough of that!”—indicating that the disciples had misunderstood his intent.

I Don’t Know Where I Stand, but I Support Gays

Rainbow Flag

Before you start throwing stones, please read this carefully, and hear me out. What I’m going to say is likely to upset many on both ends of the spectrum, but I want you to at least understand what I’m saying if you’re going to disagree with me.

I don’t know where I stand.

Everywhere I look, I see people who appear to be absolutely certain that they know whether homosexuality is acceptable in God’s sight. I’m talking about fellow Christians—brothers and sisters in Christ who are equally committed to living out his love.

And you know what? They completely disagree with one another.

How to Redeem Psalm 137:9 (Smashing Children against Rocks) and Other Imprecatory Prayers

Rocks

It is, without a doubt, one of the most disturbing verses in the Bible.

How blessed will be the one who grabs your babies and smashes them on a rock! (Psalm 137:9, NET)

It’s sickening! How could anyone even think of smashing innocent kids against a rock, let alone imagine being blessed for such an action?

How on earth could an inspired Bible include such a travesty? What’s going on here?

A More Christlike God

A More Christlike God

What is God like? Is he an angry deity, eager to pour out his wrath on sinners? Or is he a loving Father, seeking to save all of his lost children? And where do we look to determine what God is like? To the Bible, certainly, but to which parts of the Bible?

Do we look to Psalm 7:11–12, where “God is angry with the wicked every day,” and “If he does not repent, he will sharpen his sword”? Or do we look to 2 Peter 3:9, where God “is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”?

Do we look to 2 Kings 1:10–12, where Elijah prayed, and “the fire of God came down from heaven and consumed” over a hundred men? Or do we look to Luke 9:54–55, where Jesus rebuked two of his disciples for suggesting such a thing?