Archives For Love is love is a lie

“Love is love” is slogan that assuages all sexual sin.

If “love is love” is the new moral standard, then adultery, promiscuity, bestiality, and number of other sexual sins are not only justifiable, they are permissible.

This is because “love is love” falsely elevates sexual sin to a morally superior position, where anyone who stands opposed to the assumed “love is love” standard, is belittled as “unloving and immoral”.

Heterosexuals who spout “love is love” know that in the current climate, “love is love” covers a multitude of sexual sin, so why not jump on the bandwagon? Especially when embracing the slogan, enables them to pursue an anything goes ethos.

In the light of this, it’s easy enough to see how the widespread support and use of the “love is love” slogan, isn’t as altruistic or as selfless as it seems. From this perspective, heterosexual support for SSM, and homosexuality, in general, is pure self-centeredness.*

In the words of psychiatrist Karl Menninger, ‘the lure of profit exceeds the prestige of prophet.’ [i]

Pornography also contributes. Many a breakup and the continuing dysfunction of marriages can be attributed to the mythic, false and distorted view that pornography creates in men, about women and sex.

What’s more, these points uncover just how asinine the “love is love” slogan is.

Love cannot define itself.  Love is defined by God. Love comes from who God is. He cannot be anything, or anyone other than who He is.

The very fact that God is love means we cannot say in reverse that love is God. The noun precedes the verb, not the reverse.

Love is defined by the One who exists outside of humanity. His love enters time and space, and graciously seeks out relationship with us.

Love is defined by the One who comes to humanity from outside itself, as both grace and command. God is love and He presents knowledge about Himself to humanity, through His covenant with Israel, and by His revelation in Jesus Christ.

Love is defined by the One who seeks human response, the One who builds life, and gives order to creation; the One who doesn’t abandon His creation to its own inclinations, or the terror of the abyss. In the words of John, ‘we love because He first loved us.’ (1 John 4:19, ESV).

This is the ‘sovereignty of His love’, which doesn’t ‘exercise mechanical force, to move the immobile from without, [or] to rule over puppets or slaves, but rather to triumph in faithful servants and friends, not in their overthrow, but in their obedience, in their own free decision for Him.’ [i]

The ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ liberates humanity from subjective, abstract and artificial alternatives. We are emancipated from the burden of the oppressor, who defines love by whatever he or she decides it should or could be.

To borrow from G.K. Chesterton in Orthodoxy, those who seek to define love by itself, seek the moon, and its morbid light. Then in confusion, ponder about why it doesn’t produce life. Leading G.K.C to conclude: hence, ‘the moon is the mother of lunatics and has given them all her name.’

The individual who jettisons the ‘the sovereignty of God’s love’ from love inevitably asserts a definition of love made in their own image and desires.

Under the “love is love” slogan, no one is allowed to challenge this definition. Any reasoned disagreement outside this abstract idea of love, is measured as an act of hatred, betrayal and treachery – anti-love.

Therefore, to assert that God is love is to enter into a revolt against it.

As a revolt it asserts that love is not Lordless. Love is not meaningless or without purpose. Love is defined by what God does, and what God does comes from who God is [ii].

Love cannot define itself any more than the slave or abused child can define freedom. The sin of others has distorted their view of the world. Lies replace truth. They’re been taught to believe the abuse he or she receives at the hands of their oppressor is normal. In this way, “love is love” fails the oppressed and gives legitimacy to the oppressor. Love that defines itself negates itself.

Alternatively, the ‘sovereignty of God’s love’ encompasses both His “yes” and “no”. God’s “yes” to the genuinely oppressed, raises humanity up to challenge the claims of the oppressor. In this way, God’s firm “yes” and loving “no” to the oppressed and the oppressor are an outworking of His sovereignty. Love is not Lordless.

That, God is love, means love cannot be love without God at its center.

Likewise, human freedom grounded in love cannot be true freedom without the One who loves in freedom. It cannot be true freedom without the ‘God who frees man and woman to be free for Him and free for each other.’ [iii]

Without God, love becomes a cheap commodity, whose meaning is traded and swapped for whatever sells best. Love is downgraded to emotion, sex, money and the satisfying of an individual’s selfish desires.

“Love is love” is newspeak; a tool used to uphold human claims to ownership of what love is. Love is then determined to be anything the oppressor wants it to be.

Roger Scruton helps to brings this into clearer focus, noting the Communist practice of controlling language and meaning, under ‘the communist conviction that you could change reality by changing words […]The purpose of communist Newspeak, has been to protect ideology from the malicious attacks of real things.’ [iv]

For example, if the slogan “love is love” is taken to its logical end, aren’t the obscenely wealthy, or the national socialists justified in their love for money, nation or race, and to hell with the consequences?

If “love is love” justifies lifestyle choices, such as its promotion as a legitimate argument for same-sex marriage. Then doesn’t “love is love” justify servitude to a Führer, the State, and his/her ‘ism, and the reign of terror that often follows?

In light of this, aren’t “love is love” advocates, especially those who protest crony capitalists, who love their money, in the end just hypocrites selling something no one should ever want to buy?

Under this shadow, “love is love” is lordless, abstract, confused and empty. “Love is love” is a cover-up, and like all self-justification, “love is love” is proven to be a lie. [v] It cannot sustain a working definition of what love actually is.

The first cause of change in attitudes towards homosexuality and same-sex marriage is the erosion of heterosexual marriage. This erosion includes the downgrade, and dismissal of Biblical theology which asserts that God is love, and that under ‘the sovereignty of His love’, ‘woman is free for man, man is free for woman, and together both are free for God’. This comes by way of the covenant fulfilled in The Gospel, where, in His costly reconciling of humanity to Himself in Jesus Christ, God proves who and what love is.

“Love is love” is no substitute for this. It is no substitute for the One who was, and is, and is to come.

Maranatha.


References:

[i] Menninger, K. 1973. Whatever Became of Sin? Hawthorn Books Inc.

[ii] Barth, K.1942 CD II/II: The Election of Jesus Christ  Hendrickson Publishers p.178

[ii] ibid.

[iii] Barth, K. 1951 CD III.IV The doctrine of creation Hendrickson Publishers pp.170-180

[iv] Scruton, R. 2015. Fools, Frauds & Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left Bloomsbury Publishing, (p.8)

[v] Torrance, T.F. 2008. Incarnation: The Person & Life of Christ, IVP Academic

* I don’t doubt that there are sincere believers in the slogan, the evidence provided by James, however, suggests that such believers might be few and far between.

(Originally published on The Caldron Pool, 12th July, 2019)

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash

©Rod Lampard, 2019

In the recent Royal Wedding, the sermon Bishop Michael Curry preached, walked a fine line. Although his message was hampered by it, the message he delivered wasn’t riddled with the social gospel, nor did it replace Jesus as the Gospel.[i]

While I make note of the fact that Michael Curry has no problem with Same-Sex marriage, and I stand in difference of opinion with him on this matter, I take no issue with him here because of it. What I will aim to take issue with is the ideological reasoning that hampers the interpretation of what was espoused by Curry in his sermon.

Other than witnessing his obvious joy in being there, the highlight for me was his emphasis on God’s redemptive love – which is the essential framework of the Gospel. Curry preached that God’s redemptive love is what saves and transforms. Curry was right to centre his message on this.

Curry could have, however, made a clearer distinction between God’s love and human love, thereby avoiding any blurring of the qualitative distinction between God and humanity.

Hence there are caveats to how we should receive, and why we should test the message Michael Curry delivered.

The first caveat is to keep in mind that God’s love cannot be confused with human definitions of love. God communicates to us about love. It is received and up to us to respond to that Word spoken in both God’s command and deed. Second, love cannot define itself whether from the ground up or horizontally between two people, and, third, we must not deify our neighbour by confusing our love for God, with our love for others. A relationship exists between the two, but ‘they are not identical’ (Karl Barth)[ii].

The side point to this is that we must and should maintain a distance between human triumphalism (a display of self-centred – self-sustaining human pride), and God’s free and decisive triumph on our behalf (display of His love which included His humiliation), in Jesus Christ[iii].

In Jesus Christ, God made a way for man and woman, together[iv], to be with Him[v]. This is God’s redemptive love; that He should become one of us to do for us, what we were unable to do for ourselves. Usurping this only entertains the great primal evil that set primitive humanity on its path to total self-annihilation in the first place. As Curry pointed out, God paid the price for our sins.

Tyranny enters the door where man and woman look to themselves, or nature for a redeeming love – a revelation of love – outside God’s redeeming love – His loving act on behalf of creation, as activated and active, in both Covenant and His revelation in Jesus Christ. Love cannot transform anything without the Holiness of God’s grace.

Looking for redeeming love outside God was the great crime of the majority of Christians in Germany, who, in the 1930s, led astray by natural theology, looked to Hitler as a second revelation of God. An heretical toxicity epitomised in the 1935 film ,’Triumph of the Will’ by Nazi sympathizer, Leni Riefenstahl.

The triumph of God is counter to any and all human triumphalism, because the latter seeks to place man on God’s throne and take His power for ourselves. This is a futile attempt to take the Kingdom and boot God out of it. While we can reject God, we cannot reverse what God has already done – atonement for sin; reconciliation with God, salvation. Nor can we reject God without facing the consequences of rejecting His grace towards us. God triumphant means that human triumph exists only in and through God’s triumph[vi].The Moon cannot produce life, the way that the Sun can.

Double-standards and hypocrisy are inconsistent with love. True love walks hand-in-hand with self-limitation; grace with self-denial. Ergo, pride is the enemy of grace.

Take, for example, the many who in 2016 were quick to make a sordid equivalence between American Evangelical support for Donald Trump, and the support of German Christians for Hitler. They failed to show patience (love) and grace, and in turn failed (and still fail) to see the “German Christian” equivalence of their own support for altars draped in rainbow flags; the misuse of Scripture employed to fortify an ideology, the imposition of new cultural laws, the banning of books with the same fierce fanaticism as when ‘student groups at universities across Germany carried out a series of book burnings of works that the students and leading Nazi party members associated with an “un-German spirit.”[vii]; both professional and public punishment for anyone who doesn’t fall in agreement with the party-line.

If we’re to follow the example of Martin Luther King Jnr, as quoted by Michael Curry, those who unreasonably hate on Donald Trump,  should be asking themselves, do these words apply to my treatment of the President of the United States? Yet, how many instead thought to themselves “gee, all these rich people – especially Trump, SOOOO need to hear this!! #resist“? Even if Trump has, how many asking this latter question have failed to practice love for God and love for neighbour?

It’s only through God’s love that we come to see ourselves as equals; equally a sinner in the hands of a loving God, who seeks not the death of the sinner, but his and her correction, through both His firm “yes” and gracious “no” to them.

These caveats apply to both those who are criticising and praising Michael Curry. Removing love from the context of God’s redemptive love removes the context of love from its rightful place. To leave out God; thus ejecting the theology of his talk about love, rips the heart out of the message. Akin to the same poor decision of screenwriters, who decided that their silver-screen adaptation of P.D James’, ‘Children of Men, didn’t need the theological backbone, which held her brilliant dystopian novel together. What is left is an empty shell, with the same lame laughable substance as is found in ‘Idiocracy’.

In sum, God is at the centre of love because God is love.  Curry could have been more careful with his words, so as to avoid God’s redemptive love being misinterpreted as man’s redemptive love; so as to avoid sound bites being used to fortify an ideology that theology doesn’t fortify, but in fact confronts.

That, God is at the centre of salvation, means that God is the centre of redemptive love. Love alone doesn’t save us, the Creator acting in love towards his creature does. Man is ultimately not capable of redemption by his own means – love therefore does not save us unless it is anchored in God’s love (loving act) for us; we can’t save ourselves. Just as much as we cannot undo what God has done for us, even though his decisive act (for us) can be and is rejected by man and woman.

If I were to give an imediate response to Michael Curry’s choice of sermon, preached at the wedding of Prince Harry and Megan Markle, I would be tempted to view it as heretical. Cultural Marxist LGBT activism preached from the pulpit and not the Gospel. I won’t say that because what Curry preached wasn’t a ”love is love” sermon.

I liked Michael Curry’s sermon because of the emphasis on God’s redemptive love. Curry did what he does, and preached from the ideological stronghold that frames his theology, no one should be surprised by it. To his credit, Curry didn’t abuse his platform, when so many others who are chained by the prevailing ideology might have. The sermon certainly had all the buzzwords that the Left love to talk about[vii]. Ideas that they cannot properly define or impose, without either devouring each other, or inhumanely and unjustly breaking with God’s redemptive love, in order to achieve their own version of it.  Thus, Michael Curry’s sermon comes with necessary caveats.

In the end this event wasn’t about Michael Curry, or his sermon. It was about the joining together of the (now) Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan Windsor. It was a celebration of freedom in fellowship between man and woman; where man and woman become husband and wife. In an age where that is being regularly attacked, we shouldn’t lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Congratulations to the Royal newly weds.

Addendum:

I left out addressing Michael Curry’s “we need to discover love, like we did fire”, because it’s an whole other post: a) that’s nuts – Love already exists b) if anything Love needs to be rediscovered, and reasserted, not redefined c) the hidden presupposition behind his fire rant, is that “LGBT love” is the only real love that exists – e.g.: the false notion that prior to SSM, love didn’t really exist (which is complete nonsense) d) this is snare because love is love is essentially a lie.


References, not otherwise linked:

[i]  I’ve written about the problem with the asinine “love is love” slogan, here; and I’ve painstakingly pointed out the tyranny of ideology once it muzzles theological critique, here. So I see no need to restate myself outside reaffirming my commitment to what I’d publicly addressed on the subject since 2014.

[ii] Barth, K. 1960 Jesus, Man for Other Men, C.D. 3:2 p.216 (see also C.D. 1:2 pp, 388-454)

[iii] Barth: ‘Where humanity stands only to gain, God stands only to lose. And because the eternal divine decision (predestination) is identified with the election of Jesus Christ, its twofold content is that God wills to lose in order that man and woman may gain. There is a sure and certain salvation for humanity, and a sure and certain risk for God.’ (The election of Jesus Christ, ,CD II/II:162)

[iv] Barth: ‘In introducing the creation of woman, [God] did not put woman on the same level as the animals. He ascribed to her in advance the highest humanity…from the very outset solitary man is denied every other possibility of an appropriate helpmeet (partner). With the creation of woman, God expected man to confirm and maintain his true humanity by the exclusion of every other possibility. [True humanity is lived out, man for woman, woman for man]’  (Karl Barth, Creation & Covenant C.D 3:1:294)

[v] Barth: ‘With the creation of woman God expected man to confirm and maintain his true humanity by the exclusion of every other possibility [of a partner].’ (CD. 3:1 p.294)

[vi] John Calvin: ‘Any man or woman [in the Church or any who claim to be in/of the Church] who enthusiastically praises themselves is a fool and an idiot. The true foundation of Christian modesty is not to be self-complacent. [As Cyprian said, we have because God gives. We must not glory in anything, because God is the source of everything.]’ (On 1 Corinthians 4. The words in parenthesis are my paraphrased version).

[vii] 1933 Book Burnings, United States Holocaust Museum sourced, May 21, 2018 from https://www.ushmm.org/collections/bibliography/1933-book-burnings

[viii] liberation, “love” and power.

Photo credit: Andrew Seaman on Unsplash