Yo doctrine and theology had best be infused with love, empathy, and even some dreaded FEELINGS. I’ve known some very bold, blustery guys preaching doctrine and theology and they pulled that off beautifully, so the rest of us are simply without excuse. Our doctrine must be infused with love. It’s not optional, it’s mandatory.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. -1 John 4:8
Love, empathy, even the dreaded FEELINGS, need not alter doctrine, theology, The Truth one little bit, but the absence of those things sure as heck will. God is love. Where there is no love, there will be no truth either. Zip, nada.
Doctrine and theology in the absence of love is literally theology with no God. Not to be too harsh here, but even the demons believe and know scripture. One might even say they have inside knowledge and a understanding of theology that far exceeds ours. That doesn’t make them good.
I want to mention the parable of the talents here to be found beginning in Matthew 25:14. This is not really a parable about investing money. It is a parable about what it takes to be a good servant.
“Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground.”
And the Master says, “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
If you believe your Master is a hard man who steals what is not His, unjust, unkind, harsh, judgmental, hypercritical, mean, lacking love, incapable of empathy, unmerciful, devoid of feelings, lacking natural affection, than that is the God you will serve.
That is also the God you will preach.
Is that God of the bible? I sure don’t think so. The God who gave His only begotten Son, the God who laid down His very life for us, is a God of love and mercy, a God who ironically had a few choice words to say to those preaching “doctrine and theology” back in the day. One might even say Jesus Christ had a few choice FEELINGS to express about that. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”– John 1:1
It’s a shame because I really enjoy doctrine and theology, and I love, love, love The Word, both the Man and what is written in the bible, but those who insist on shrieking words of condemnation at others often leave a bad taste in my mouth. It is like a snake eating it’s own tail or perhaps like watching the bride of Christ gnawing off her big toe. She’s halfway up her own leg already. Gross, huh?
“Love” is a tough thing to define and pin down, but some synonyms are feel deep affection for, hold very dear, adore, think the world of, be devoted to, deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, and endearment.
So what is not loving? E-mailing me the word FEELINGS in 3 inch bold, shrieking at me about heresy, and claiming you have the authority to revoke people’s salvation. That is a NOT a loving act. A loving act is desperately interceding and grieving for a soul who has inadvertently now spoken those words over their own self. Loving is feeling sadness for someone who cannot feel and sense God’s love for them. I actually don’t doubt my own salvation when people scream “heretic” at me, I doubt yours.
Here is some “doctrine and theology,” some truth to to ponder. It’s really not heresy, it’s not “weird,” it’s not artsy, liberal, woo, it’s simply The Word, the truth. “Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” -Luke 7:47
If one loves little that means one has been forgiven little, and if one has been forgiven little, one must ask why. Don’t ask me “why,” I haven’t got a clue. Ask God. That is what is at the very heart of repentance, metanoia. One might even call that sound doctrine.