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.

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