Is Love More Important than Doctrine??

Some would say so. The reasoning goes that the Bible says God is Love. It doesn’t say God is doctrine. Therefore, love trumps doctrine.

Part of the confusion or disagreement comes from what is meant by doctrine. I’m using the word here as the truth God declares about Himself and His requirements for us.

And the Bible also says God is truth.

Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).

Some translations of Deuteronomy 32:4 say God is “a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.”

Not only is God truth, but His Word is characterized as truth.

The psalmist declared, “The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever” (Psalm 119:160).

Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).

God wants us to respond to Him in truth.

Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24).

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).

Most of the books of the Bible warn against false doctrine, false prophets, and false teachers in the strongest terms. It’s not loving to cut corners on truth for the sake of not sounding adamant. It’s not loving to God or to others to teach something untrue about Him or about how He wants us to live.

But it’s also not loving to bludgeon people with truth like a club.

And it’s wrong to elevate every little disagreement to the same level as doctrine. There are areas where we can’t give any ground: the deity and humanity of Christ, our need for salvation, Christ’s death on the cross for our sins, salvation by grace through faith, the resurrection, the Bible as God’s Word, and so on. But there are areas in Scripture where good people can disagree and should give each other grace. Too many Christians spend way too much time and effort on these issues than on declaring unequivocal truth and loving each other and the lost.

We don’t need to put love and doctrine in competition with each other. We need them both. Both are aspects of God, and both should permeate our lives.

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

22 thoughts on “Is Love More Important than Doctrine??

  1. Somewhere I read that the sword of truth can also be used to point as well as to slash.
    I am grateful that we don’t have to choose between love and doctrine. My problem is that I make an idol of being right…

    • That’s a good analogy–the “sword of the Spirit” is not just destructive. It’s “sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” God’s Word reveals our inmost thoughts to ourselves. I’ve sometimes thought of particularly convicting sermons as a surgeon’s scalpel–piercing for health and not destruction.

  2. Good thoughts here. I think most of us tend to struggle more with either the love part or the doctrine part! It seems to me in our society today that the “love” side is promoted largely to the exclusion of doctrine, which, as you say, is not wise. Yesterday at church the pastor referenced a recent Barna survey of millennial/gen z Christians. I think he said 40% of them felt it was wrong to share your faith with someone of a different faith, and a percent only slightly less (and this is of self-professed Christians) felt that Jesus was not the only way to heaven. Clearly, a lot of people could use more correct doctrine.
    Side note — I relate to what you said at my place about many Christmas events being finished by the time all your kids arrive. My oldest flies in a week from today, and there isn’t much left at that point 😦 The Gatlinburg/Sevierville lights drive sounds really good to me!

    • That seems to be true, sadly, that people promote love without as much attention to doctrine these days. Unfortunately, that can lead us and others astray. May we seek His light as well as His love.

  3. Barbara, your last paragraph says it all excellently. May the Lord show us how to cling to both so others are drawn to Christ. Blessings!

  4. I agree with you, Barbara, “There are areas where we can’t give any ground, and there are areas where people can disagree and show each other grace.” The key is to know what belongs in each area.

  5. Fantastis post barbara. This > “We don’t need to put love and doctrine in competition with each other. We need them both. Both are aspects of God, and both should permeate our lives.” Blessings and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
    Visiting today from Let’s Have Coffee #12 & 13.

  6. Thank you for sharing your post on our Linky, May you have a blessed Christmas, and see you at our next Linkup on Jan 3, 2022. I have shared your post

  7. Pingback: December Reflections | Stray Thoughts

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