“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.