Love and Doctrine

Heart Commandment

Over the past several years, starting with examining my complementarian beliefs (and ultimately rejecting them), I have been reading a lot about Christian beliefs and doctrines.  I found an article today about how love is never a mistake (which you should definitely read). And I really like it. Of course it brings up the question “How does one best show love?” – but the article says really well something that I believe God has been teaching me.

Recently I’ve been reading a lot especially about theology and theologians and stuff like that (and I’ve got a LOT still on my informal “reading list”) and so much of it contradicts each other – people that are being led by the Holy Spirit are fiercely disagreeing on many doctrinal issues. Some Bible passages can be interpreted in various ways. So how do I, a non-theologian person, know which is Truest? How do I KNOW which is Rightest?

I’ve been praying about this a lot. And He is speaking to me – Love is the most True, the most Right. My doctrinal beliefs are not NEARLY as important as my Love. His Love in me. Jesus did not say, “Spend your life reading and studying and making sure you have all the right beliefs – get your doctrines straight.” NO! Jesus said “Love God and Love people.” That is our job on Earth.

The epistles say “Know your doctrine – learn true doctrine” – but even they follow that right up with “Don’t get involved in endless disputes – don’t spend your time worrying about the intricacies of doctrine.” So what is the Sound Doctrine that we must be clear about so that we can preach the Truth and dispute false doctrine? Where is the line between the doctrines I must be firm about and the endless disputes I must avoid?

I have much to learn, but I am beginning to believe that True Doctrine is Love. Love for God. Love for People. Love on the Cross. Love sitting on the throne in Heaven and in our Hearts. And ANYTHING that is not Love is false doctrine. Anything rooted in fear is false doctrine. The Holy Spirit never leads, speaks, or acts through FEAR. There is no fear in His Perfect Love.

We must be diligent to make sure that none of our doctrine comes from interpreting Scripture through a lens of fear. He is ONLY Love. I am not talking either about something soft and ethereal. You only have to look at the love a mother has for her child to know that love is Fierce and it is Strong and it has a measure of Harshness to it. And I think the Love that is God is like that. Overwhelming in its brightness.

Taking the advice of Augustine, quoted in the article I linked to above, as I learn about doctrines and He grows me in faith, I will be praying that God will teach me how to interpret controversial questions in Love – the Truest, Rightest Love of God. And I will listen for the answer. And when I err (and I am human so I will), may it be in an attempt to live in His love.

Published by Nikki Holland

I am a Quaker wife, mother, pastor, and writer. I work as the country branch director of a fabulous NGO in Belize City and I recently graduated with an MDiv from Earlham School of Religion. I love my family, and I love my community.

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