Nate Schmidt, the worship leader at the Immanuel Baptist Church, where I am privileged to serve as an elder, has written an interesting and penetrating post I wanted to let you all know about. After he saw a sign outside a local church in our area that read, “LOV3: Love God, Love the world, love people,” he was motivated to challenge our tendency to oversimplify and dumb down the Bible’s teaching. For example, he concludes:
Somehow, the American church (in particular) seems to excel in finding anything in the Bible that can be billboarded, sentence-sermoned, or bumper-stickered, and telling everybody that this is what they really believe. Here is my ultimate point: God gave us the whole Bible for a reason. The whole, entire thing is His Word, mightier than a two-edged sword and effective for correction, rebuke, and training in righteousness. I do not want to have anything to do with a spirituality that can be summed up in one catchy statement. The Bible is inconvenient for our drive-by culture, and will not stand up to our vicious attempts to manufacture a drive-through Messiah. What’s more, “Love God Love People” isn’t even the commandment. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” But if we write out the whole thing, we won’t be able to fit “Love your neighbor as yourself” on the sign. Now, why might that be? To say “Love God Love People” and repeat it like a mantra is to be repeating the summary of the summary, the simplifying of the central. It’s the dumbed-down version of what Jesus said, and Jesus said a whole lot of other things that might be worth paying attention to. Like, “Truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matthew 5:18).
I highly recommend reading the rest of this thought-provoking post entitled All You Need Is Love (Love, Love, Love Is All You Need).