Giant Theology: Love Must Reign

Love, not hate, must come to birth;
Christ, not Cain, must rule the earth.

 Edwin Markham (modified by MK)

NOH8I don’t remember where I found this little poem and I have no idea who Ed Markham was (is?). But what a great thought! What if our world were controlled by something other than selfishness, hatred, and violence? This is the promise of a truly Christian world. Christians do not want to conquer the world. They just want to live in a world where Christ reigns in the hearts of every citizen.

I am teaching a class on the Letters of John right now, and we have been looking at the often-overlooked books of 2 John and 3 John. A great passage comes in 2 John 5 & 6:

5 And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. 6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

The unswerving love of fellow believers is what Francis Schaeffer so aptly called the “Mark of the Christian.”  As Schaeffer says, it is “the mark that Jesus gives to label a Christian not just in one era or in one locality but at all times and all places until Jesus returns.”[1]  And this “mark” has continually renewed the church when it has been rediscovered.  The Jesus People and youth of the 1960s loved to sing, “and they’ll know we are Christians by our love” and they infused life and love into the church. In today’s post-denominational era, churches that don’t just talk about love but actually demonstrate it are attractive to outsiders, far more than flashy preachers or fancy buildings.

The blogosphere is not renown as a loving place. It is full of acidic vitriol, words written that would never be spoken face to face. Even Christian bloggers are guilty of disrespect and hateful words. As the letters of John teach us, Christian love is not the same as blanket toleration or approval of heretics and false teachers.  But, as Schaeffer reminds us, “we must both distinguish true Christians from all pretenders and be sure that we leave no true Christians outside of our consideration. . . . We must include everyone who stands in the historic-biblical faith whether or not he is a member of our own party or our own group.”  After all, our example in this is Jesus, whose love crosses every ethnic, racial, economic, cultural, and language barrier ever seen by humans as a justification for separation.  As some of our denominational and sectarian walls begin to come down, perhaps we could reverse the motto of the bodyguard who was told to “shoot first, ask questions later.”  We should “love first, ask questions later.” May the love of Christ reign in our hearts today. That, my friends, is Giant Theology.
Here is a fuller quote of Edwin Markey:
They will gather as friends and say,
"Come, let us try the Master's way.
Ages we tried the way of swords.
And earth is weary of hostile hordes.
Comrades, read out his words again:
They are the only hope for men!
Love and not hate must come to birth:
Christ and not Cain must rule the earth."
Mark Krause
Nebraska Christian College

[1] Francis Schaeffer, The Mark of the Christian (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1970).


3 thoughts on “Giant Theology: Love Must Reign

  1. … If we as the “Church” and individuals would really learn to love, and respond to all things in love, this would be a much differnt world! (I am preaching at Caldwell Super Bowl Sunday, maybe “love” is the best topic!)

  2. This post brings to mind something I have been thinking about a lot lately. How do you love a fellow christian who you believe is sinning (especially when they don’t think they are), in a way that does not feel like condoning what they are doing? I am thinking of a specific topic (i.e. sin) in relation to this question, but I don’t mention it because I don’t want the answer to be sidetracked or focused on that topic.

    I really appreciate you doing this blog. I always enjoyed you classes at PSCC (even if they did involve a lot reading). 🙂

    • I think that all of our fellow Christians are sinning in one way or another, so the question should not be whether or not we love them. We can love them in spite of the sin. This does not mean we approve of the sin or that we ignore it. But love must come first. Let’s love first and deal with sin later.

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