Truth Without Love

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, October 26, 2018 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

“If we get the love part wrong, what’s the point?” ~Worldview Warriors President Jason DeZurik

If I had one great weakness in how I share my faith and defend it, it may be this. A couple months ago, we had a guest speaker at church and he preached on 1 Corinthians 13, the famous “love” chapter. I had never heard a sermon on this chapter until then and he broke down each component to what love is. That sermon caught my attention and I realized this was something I need to work on. So to end my blog posts for 2018, starting today I am going to go over this fabled chapter. And I pray that you would pray for me, because when I deal with people who virulently fight against the truth, it is not easy to love them in truth.

Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis, makes the claim that the Bible leaves more questions than it gives answers. To illustrate his claim, he cites the second greatest commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself” and says, “This is not clear. What does it mean to ‘love’? Who is my neighbor?” I was baffled by this. Did he not read the Parable of the Good Samaritan, where the teacher of the law asked the exact same question in trying to justify himself? Did he not read 1 Corinthians 13? A few weeks ago, I wrote about Perfect Doctrine and how some people try to make God’s standards ‘unclear’ so they do not have to be responsible for it. This is what Bell is trying to do. What about us? Do we know what it means to love? Let us dig into this famous chapter.

Paul opens up 1 Corinthians 13 with three verses about doing everything you can do for God’s kingdom, but if we do it without love, it is all worthless and we are nothing. This is a truth I have known intellectually, but not a truth always realized in how I talk, especially online. If I speak with perfect eloquence and flawless interpretation of what I say, but I do not love, it is ultimately little else than noise. If I can properly and correctly interpret every passage of Scripture and have such great faith it can move mountains, but I don’t love, then what am I really? I can give to charity, preach the Gospel to the poor, and sacrifice myself as a martyr, but I do so without love, it does me no good. That is 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, somewhat paraphrased.

It is important to note that Paul had just finished talking about the different ministerial gifts in chapter 12, describing how we all have different gifts and different talents which need to work together as a whole. He was telling Corinth not to fight over their different talents, not to be jealous over another’s skills and abilities, but that every person has a place and a role. Paul wrapped up by saying to earnestly desire the best gifts, but even in that he would show a better way. This better way is chapter 13. In these first three verses, he says it does not matter what spiritual gifts you have; if you do not love, you’ve missed the point. Hear me when I say I am preaching to myself on this one.

Some of you may not agree with his doctrine or evangelistic style, but I have utmost respect and honor for Ray Comfort. He has this issue mastered. I don’t always agree with Comfort on his apologetic answers in the heat of the moment (and I understand that pressure too where I don’t always say what I wanted to say in addressing a question and often think of a better answer after the fact), however I have not seen anyone else share their faith to the heathen and sometimes angry crowds and just pour out God’s love. He just recently released another video called “Crazy Bible.” In it, he had a video chat with a very vocal atheist who had hounded him and harassed him and thought he hated her. Instead, he gave her a $100 gift card with a note saying, “I don’t hate you.” He then had a good discussion with her and she could not believe how genuine he was, though she didn’t seem very receptive to the message at that time. He shared a true genuine love for her that can only come from Jesus Christ.

I cannot say I have that, at the very least not to that level. I know exactly from whom that love comes from: Jesus Christ; but my “dark side” which loves to refute anything someone says that is wrong usually beats me to the punch. When I get ‘squeezed’ like a lemon, I don’t always spew out Jesus. I am a work in progress, but since I heard the sermon I referenced at the beginning of this post, God has kept his finger on that issue with me. I want to learn how to love like Ray Comfort does. I want to learn how to love the unlovable. I can do it with the poor; I can do it with the elderly; but do I do it with the militant atheist? It’s not easy to showcase that love in an online discussion, where in person I can see the person and who they are: lost, blind, ignorant, and lovers of self.

Many Christians today have such a poor Scriptural knowledge that when these atheists come to them, they can’t give answers to their questions. Many of the questions are legitimate questions, but not all of them have intentions of getting the answers. It is critical when we engage these skeptics that we do so out of love. I am extremely fact-oriented and too easily, I fall into the “win the debate” mode, instead of the much more pressing issue: “This false teaching could lead them or someone else around them to hell unless they hear the truth.”

When we defend our faith, we are to be ready to give an answer for what we believe and why we believe it. But we are to do so with meekness and love. Our answers may not convince the skeptic, but that is not our job. Our job is to speak the truth and to love them. Let God do the convicting.

We must be genuine in our love. We can’t merely claim it. We can’t merely say we love them or care for their souls. We have to show it, and do so without compromising on the truth. For the next seven weeks, I am going to go through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, taking two of Paul’s descriptors of love at a time. Then I will cover how love never fails before ending the year with how love is the greatest between faith, hope, and love. May this series not be merely informational but life changing.

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