The following was first composed as an email message from Nancy Missler, but is so pertinent, we offer it here for your edification.
In the end times, “the Agape of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12 NKJV)
I want to share something that has been on my heart recently. Because there has been some “flack” over our new book The Kingdom, Power and Glory, I’ve been left wondering “where is the Love” in all of this? (John 13:35) I agree completely that sound doctrine is essential (1 Cor.15) and needs to be taught precisely and thoroughly. But, I also believe, we should have the freedom to hold different opinions on peripheral things without it dividing us and causing us to lose our love for one another.
Can’t we simply choose to let God’s Love flow through us regardless of our various eschatological interpretations? Isn’t the Christian life a ministry of reconciliation? Doesn’t 1 Corinthians 13:2 teach us that even if we have “all knowledge” (all Biblical truth), “but have not God’s Love, we are nothing?”
Can we only fellowship and love one another when we theologically agree on everything? What does this mean for Calvinists trying to fellowship with Arminians or for Pentecostals fellowshipping with Baptists or for believers in the Church of Christ getting along with believers in the 7th Day Adventist church? Are these brothers and sisters unable to love each other because of their theological differences?
Where is the dividing line? When do we say “you’ve gone too far in beliefs that are different from mine, I can’t love you anymore.”
Now, I’m not at all saying that God’s Love is never a tough Love, or of a necessity, a discipline kind of Love. It is! It has to be! It’s critical that we balance our Agape Love with the wisdom of God (or the Truth), but again, knowledge, without God’s Love, is just a “tinkling cymbal.”
To me, the bottom line is: What brings glory to God? What reflects His image? What pleases Him? And, what does the Word tell us to do?
Loving the way God wants us to love is a choice. And, it’s a choice we need to make constantly—yielding ourselves as cleansed vessels, not only for His Love to flow through us, but also so that His wisdom can be made manifest in our lives. As brothers and sisters, we need to be “living examples” of how God would have us reconcile these two things. And thus, it would be an encouragement for others who are watching us to apply the same principles in their own personal lives (in their marriages and in all their relationships).
Romans 12:18 tells us to “live peaceably with all men.” I would hope that we could be those reflections of Christ that not only bring glory to God, but who also show forth His Love as well as His truth in our words and our deeds. As you well know, this is so desperately needed in the Body of Christ right now. Truly, Agape is a choice.
by Nancy Missler
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