Stop Preaching God's Love, For Heavens Sake

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Stop Preaching Gods Love For Heavens Sake The root problem in the Church today Neil Baulch

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 2 Dedicated to my beautiful wife Connie Thank you When I am often considered to be a devil You know me truly you know my heart But when one dares to think I am a saint You know I am truly ordinary And you love me all the same I am very grateful for those who helped me with this book with editing and suggestions: Marian Watson Mike Perry Terry Snell Dennis Loewen. Thank you very much for your help. Website: Community: Back To The Basics series: Stop Preaching Gods Love For Heaven’s Sake The root problem in the Church today © 2019 Neil Baulch This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 3 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction .................................................................................. 5 Section 1 The Church has a deep problem .................... 6 Chapter 1. We Focus On Gods Love Far Too Much. . 6 Section 2. Overwhelming Evidence.................................19 Chapter 2. God Is Love - 1John 4:8 .................................19 Chapter 3. Names of God ....................................................29 Chapter 4. Angels Declarations in Heaven ..... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 5. OT Prophecies Concerning Messiah ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 6. NT Prophecies Of Coming Messiah . Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 7. John the Baptist’s Preaching .............. Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 8. Jesus First Words Of His Ministry .. Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 9. Jesus Inaugural Sermon On The Mount ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 10. Jesus Teaching . Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 11. Was Jesus Mostly Tender Kind Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 12. Was Jesus Always Kindly To The Sick ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 13. Does Jesus Run To Help Us ............ Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 14. What Did Jesus Come To Do ......... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 15. Jesus Instructions To The Seventy ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 16. John 3:16................. Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 17. The Love The Father Lavishes On Us ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 18. God Loves Everyone . Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 19. Unconditional love of God ................ Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 20. Great Commission ....... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 21. Any NT Books Written On This .... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 22. Any NT passage With This Title .. Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 23. Total Verses Saying God Loves Us ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 24. Holy Spirits Work ....... Error Bookmark not defined.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 4 Chapter 25. Acts Preaching ..... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 26. Pauls Important Points’ - Gospel . Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 27. Basic Doctrines Of Hebrews 6 ........ Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 28. Early Church Fathers . Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 29. Church History ..... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 30. Satan’s Aims Described In The Bible ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 31. Any Prophecy Of This To Come .... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 32. Are We Fulfilling These Prophecies ........................................... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 33. The NT Already Has An Over Emphasis On Gods Love .............. Error Bookmark not defined. Section 3 The Consequences ..... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 34. Depth Of Deception .... Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 35. Consequences Of This Deception . Error Bookmark not defined. Section 4 What Now Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 36. What Should We Do .. Error Bookmark not defined. Chapter 37. Last Word .............. Error Bookmark not defined. End notes ..................................................................................... 32 Bible Quotations I believe Scripture to be the inspired Word of God and hold it to be my final authority in all matters. I have used a simple English translation for as many Scriptures as I can - I want as many people as possible to understand the simple truths. If you are too spiritual to tolerate a simple version you may be too spiritual to read this book. I have also inserted clickable links so that you may compare with more literal translations online. NET Net Bible® ©2006 Copyright: 2005 Biblical Studies Press L.L.C CEV Contemporary English Version Scriptures marked as "CEV" are taken from the Contemporary English Version © 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 5 BSB Berean Study Bible BSB © 2016 by Bible Hub and Berean Bible. Used by Permission. All rights Reserved. MKJV Modern King James Version Copyright © 1962-1998 by Jay P. Green Sr. All rights reserved. NASB New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960 1962 1963 1968 1971 1972 1973 1975 1977 1995 by The Lockman Foundation La Habra Calif. All rights reserved. NIV New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973 1978 1984 2011 by Biblica Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. NLT New Living Translation copyright ©1996 2004 2007. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc. Carol Stream Illinois 60188. All Rights Reserved. GNB Good News Bible. Scriptures marked as "GNB" are taken from the Good News Bible – Second Edition © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by permission. BBE Bible in Basic English The Bible In Basic English was printed in 1965 by Cambridge Press in England. GB GODS WORD® is a copyrighted work of Gods Word to the Nations. Quotations are used by permission. Copyright 1995 by Gods Word to the Nations. All rights reserved. ERV Easy-to-Read Version Copyright © 1987 1999 2006 2008 World Bible Translation Center. All rights reserved. Used with permission ESV English Standard Version ©2001 Crossway Bibles a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. KJV King James Version This is the 1769 King James Version of the Holy Bible. TPW The Pure Word New Testament © 2016 2017 by One Path Publishing L.L.C. All rights reserved. I N T R O D U C T I O N To the church in Melbourne: You know how every church group every club every organization every movement has a ‘sacred cow’ A tenet concept an idea or something that they will blindly fight to protect That is what this book addresses - a ‘sacred cow’ in the modern Church that will inevitably provoke strong reactions and indignant defending of the status quo with barely a rational thought to guide. On a number of occasions Jesus is recorded as prefacing an important teaching with To him that has an ear to hear what the Spirit says. So too with this book it is for those who have an open heart and ‘an ear to hear. I do not write this for those who want to blindly defend the comfortable Christian existence. They will reject it.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 6 It is for those seeking answers as to why the Church is so shallow self-centred and ineffective. A friend questioned the value of writing this book. He said “Your target market will ignore you and the converted already agree with you.” He was right and I already understood that. But even though only one or two Christians I know agree there are those in between who sense that there is something more. It is to that growing few that fearfully I write this book. So deep is the conditioning that this book is written more as a text book with lots of Scripture quoted many examples and lots of quotations by Bible scholars. This book is also a resource for those that want facts and figures from the Bible to effectively argue against this great delusion with family friends and believers wherever they be just as Paul argued passionately for the truth: Acts 19:8 Then Paul went to the synagogue and preached boldly for the next three months arguing persuasively about the Kingdom of God. NLB Our words can set free or they can cut down. There is a time for both. Oh for the wisdom to know when to do which. I had mixed feelings in writing this book. On the one hand I love and grieve for the Church and I so much want to sound the alarm on the other hand writing all this can start to make one feel superior and I hate that. Humbling myself before God and recognizing how weak and foolish I really am is my daily practice. Thank God that I can now for the most part let it all go and resume my quieter gentle self. I offer to you this work in humility and fear of God. SECTION 1 THE CHURCH HAS A DEEP PROBLEM CHAPTER 1. WE FOCUS ON GODS LOVE FAR TOO MUCH. Who agrees with me that God loves us Who agrees with me that God has a great love for His children "I Neil Baulch do declare on this day: 1st August 2016 that GOD LOVES US" It can rightly be said that everything God does is by and through love.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 7 Please remember while you are reading through to the end that I clearly and definitely stated my firm belief that God loves us. Now this is my proposition: We talk about and focus on Gods love for us far more than Jesus did or the Bible does. The Western Church is sick and dying void of any real move of the Holy Spirit because of it. We the Western Church have grossly exaggerated how much God focuses on us by a great over- emphasis on Gods love for us which has done untold damage to the Western Church. Sadly this is increasingly true of the Asian and African Church too those place to where we have exported our particular brand of Christianity but I am particularly addressing the ringleaders - the Western Church. Or in other words: Seeker-friendly preaching loud bright music and lots of programs are not a sign that the Holy Spirit is in your church. The general impression most Christians now have of Jesus ministry was that He went around preaching the love of God to all being nice and helping everyone He met. This is just plain wrong. If you bear with me I will explain what I mean with a lot of evidence from Scripture. The Bible has been hijacked by politically correct Church leadership and it is presented as a completely different document than the story and spirit of Christ. So let me lay out what I am going to do in this book so you know where we are going: 1 In section 1: I make the bold statement that we in the Western Church have a great overemphasis on Gods love for us which is wrong sinful and destructive.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 8 2 In section 2: I lay out the overwhelming Biblical evidence for such a claim. 3 In section 3: I mention just a few of the ways this is so destructive and suggest what we can do to correct this sin and error. I also make the bold statement that if we do not expose root out and destroy this error the organizational or institutional Church will die spiritually. It really is that serious. However the true Church will never die It will get stronger but I believe it will eventually be withdrawn from the institutional Churches. The first objection I usually receive is that such a statement cannot possibly be true because we KNOW God really loves us. Yet when I prove from Scripture that we do indeed hold a great over-emphasis on it the next common objection I get is Whats the big deal why make such a big thing out of it The problem that we cannot perceive by a superficial consideration is that we have effectively lost our knowledge of who our God really is. As bizarre as it sounds generally the Western Church now follow another ‘only nice’ Jesus and a radically changed gospel that refuses to expose sin as Jesus did. A belief in a super-loving God does indeed neutralize the usefulness of the gospel. By a subtle subtraction of Gods justice and the addition of a false imbalanced love of God we effectively substitute the God of the Bible for a manufactured nice god loosely based on the Bible. That is going to sound extreme but please bear with me.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 9 And we see the effects of such a substitution for instance Universalism none go to hell all go to heaven could only flourish as it is these days in an environment that did not understand the holiness and justice of God. It would sound very extreme if I were to say that This over-emphasis on Gods love for us has been one of the most destructive forces in the Church throughout history. Hence I say ‘this is the root problem in the Church today.’ Or alternatively I could say that the root problem is that we ‘do not really know the God of the Bible anymore.’ I understand that this seems like an impossibility but I ask that read all the way through to catch what I am saying. If you hear the untold little- known evidence that I doubt you have heard or thought about before you may agree that these are not extreme statements at all. This is something that will only come by revelation. Or to put it in the modern vernacular one needs to be ‘red pilled’. A new awakening. When that happens everything will seem new not unlike being born again God seems new the Bible and the Kingdom of God seems new. Even people and the world seems new. This may be the simplest thought ever conveyed in a sermon or a book and yet probably the hardest to accept in this age in which we live. In everything that I am going to say all I am really saying is: Stop talking preaching so much about how much God loves us. It is doing great damage to the Kingdom of God. Of the destructive traditions of men that Jesus condemned that annul Scripture this seems to be the most deceptive and widespread in the good churches of today. Let me prove to you that: Preaching Gods love is just ‘Christian political correctness.’ Let’s call it ‘Christian Correctness’ Sola Scriptura Scripture alone has been dethroned. We now preach what could well be called the Sola Tenere Gospel - God Only Tender. Or the Sola Affectus gospel - Affectionate Feelings Alone. This has become the only way to describe and preach about

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 10 our God and supposedly the only way we can legitimately understand Him. Some may assume that my strong views about this must come from a strongly Calvinist position but this is not true. I am not reformed in my theology at all quite the opposite. I strongly believe in man’s free will. I do not propose these things from any particular theology I read my Bible and take it as it reads as best I can. Obviously it is impossible not to be influenced by one’s doctrinal beliefs at least to some degree but as best I can I take Scripture as it is written. When the Bible says Jesus was harsh I accept that as it is when Paul says they are ‘useless’ people when Paul calls some ‘dogs’ when mere favouritism is called evil when Peter pronounces the death penalty for a lie when one in the church who is acting sinfully is ‘handed over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh’ I accept all these as part of the Word of God part of the Sola Scriptura. I do not make adjustments in my mind to weight the reading to suit our ‘Sola Affectus’ feelings alone gospel basic assumptions or paradigms. Today it seems everything of God Scripture and ministry MUST be interpreted through the ‘Rosetta stone’ of Sola Affectus otherwise it will be condemned as far too harsh and you will be condemned as well. This book seeks to expose this destructive tradition of focusing so much on Gods love and suggests a much better way to think live and minister. A way that pleases God rather than tempting His judgment. I should also say at this point that there are some people that read the first chapter of this book and tell me confidently that they understand where I am going with this and that they agree with everything I say. sigh I know that they do not I have had debates with them over the years about these things. They understand just the popular criticism of the ‘sugar- coated gospel’ but they have little to no idea how deep this problem is. For so many years as I have talked about these things ‘good’ Christians will agree and say to me something like “Yes there is too much of the sugar-coated gospel these days.” They think that they understand exactly what I am talking about but they only perceive a fraction of what I am talking about and certainly not enough to set them free.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 11 It is something like the typical iceberg illustration: If you feel the same way after reading the first chapter skip to the third section chapter 35 and 36. Then see how deeply you agree with me. If you have trouble with those two chapters then you can come back to chapter 2 and read on to see what I am really saying before assuming you get it. They really have no idea of the depth of the problem they see the tip of the iceberg but the massive size of the problem has not yet dawned on them. A Simple Question: What of the NT verses do you think state that God loves us 5 10 20 40 60 What do you think Think about it and say it out loud. Before we look at what percentage other have estimated take a look at the following typical memes posted on Facebook by Christians daily. Notice the

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 12 emphasis on self that reinforces the kind of over- emphasis I am talking about: Now if your answer to what percentage of the NT verses do you think state that God loves us is as low as 5 you are still too high but we will get to those statistics later. I did a small survey of 28 people from various Evangelical and Pentecostal churches and asked what percentage of the verses in the New Testament state that God loves us:

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 13 How could Christians possibly believe that it is stated 30 40 50 60 70 80 percent We really do have a major problem. Whenever I assert something hard that the Bible says I get the typical objections "But God loves us you know." I say "Yes of course but we do not hear what the Bible really says and who God really is because we focus so much on Gods love." To which they give me a look of disgust because after all Gods love is all the way through the Bible you silly man. When people believe this over-emphasis you can preach all sorts of good challenging messages and it makes no difference it is like water off a duck’s back. The wrong belief MUST be exposed insightfully deconstructed broken smashed....then your general teaching will again have an effect. More about that later. Now even non-Christians believe this over-emphasis on Gods love for people too because we have been telling them this for a very long time. So I have a question for you. If we believe that we reach people with the love of God as we constantly hear rather than preaching sin and repentance why are they not flocking into our churches We have done a very good job of telling the world that God loves them and if our theory is correct there ought to be a direct correlation with crowds coming to Christ in recent years. They are not. Statistics 1 for the 10 years between 2001-2011 show that in Australia the evangelical and Pentecostal denominations are maintaining their numbers. However if you remove the numbers of new immigrants joining the church as they come to Australia the church is in significant decline. Now you may then say "But we need to get them into a personal relationship with us so they really know Gods love." That would be a rather silly diversion but if you did then I would say "Why is it that so many who do come into the church repent get baptized but months later they have drifted away from Christ back into the world forsaking the gathering of yourselves together’” 1 for-downloading/

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 14 Truth is we have dumbed it down to make it more appealing and less offensive but then found that we have made it impotent. Yes we the ‘good’ Christians have made the message of the Great Omnipotent God to be impotent. What is not properly understood now in the world and in the Church is that God hates sin with a vengeance hell is frighteningly real and God is going to send billions of people to hell. Even good people who live a good moral life. How dangerous is hell: Matt. 13:50 ...... into the place of fire. There the people will cry and grind their teeth with pain.” ERV Matt. 24:51 That servant will then be punished and thrown out with the ones who only pretended to serve their master. There they will cry and grit their teeth in pain. CEV Matt. 25:31 Then Jesus said “Those peopl e will be punished forever. But the ones who pleased God will have eternal life.” CEV This is just a few times that Matthew records these strong words of Jesus there are many more in the NT. The world already knows about Gods great love so much so that they now use it as a tool against us whenever one tries to share the full gospel message with them. In self defense they will say something like "You are judging me and your God is not very loving so I will not accept your God." They use it as a weapon against the true Gospel and against the convicting work of the Holy Spirit in their lives. And we gave it to them. Willingly. Without reservation. Oh and thats not all we Christians do the same thing. "You are judging me you are not very loving so I do not have to accept anything you say.” Not even the truth.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 15 Does this meme seem accurate to you How well does that fit with Isaiahs words below: God gave this message to Isaiah for the distant future for us: Isa 30:8 Now write this on a sign so that all people can see it and write this in a book. Write these things for a future time. This will be far far in the future: 9 These people are like children who refuse to obey. They lie and refuse to listen to the LORDS teachings. 10 They tell the prophets "Dont see dreams about things we should do. Dont tell us the truth. Say nice things to us and make us feel good. See only good things for us. 11 Stop seeing things that will really happen. Get out of our way. Stop telling us about the Holy One of Israel." ERV

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 16 I might not agree with everything which Søren Kierkegaard says but this is profound: Where did we get this great emphasis on focusing on Gods great love for us We preach about talk about it we silence arguments with it and discussions about it. We demand that all Christians keep this focus we interpret Scripture by it even against other Scripture that tells us that Jesus is a wrathful Judge too. What does the New Testament show us I thought about all the relevant areas to survey for clear statements of such things and this is what I came up with. Lets look at the facts and take a closer look at these following areas to see where God has such a high emphasis on communicating His love to us. Where Does God Show Any Emphasis On Speaking About His Love For Us: ETERNAL:  God Is Love - 1John 4:8. Really OLD COVENANT:  Are there any Names of God about love  What do the Angels say about God  Are there OT Prophecies about His love  Do any NT Prophecies proclaim this love  Did John the Baptist teach God’s love JESUS: “The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. " Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 17  Jesus first recorded words in ministry.  Jesus inaugural speech: Sermon on Mount  Was Jesus teaching only kindly  Was Jesus only kindly to people in general  Was Jesus only kindly to the sick needy  Did Jesus run after people to help them  What was Jesus to teach and do  Jesus evangelistic instructions to the 70  Does John 3:16 support our over-emphasis  What love does the Father lavish upon us  Does God love everyone  Did Jesus really come to preach God’s love  Unconditional love of God how so  Is it in the Great Commission – Matt. 28 NEW TESTAMENT:  Any New Testament books about it  Any teachings/paragraphs in NT  How many verses clearly state God loves us  Does the Holy Spirit support this emphasis  Do the apostles preach God’s love in Acts  Pauls more important points of gospel  Is it in the Basic doctrines of Hebrews 6 BACKGROUND OF NEW TESTAMENT:  Does the NT have too little an emphasis on speaking of God’s love than what we need POST BIBLICAL:  Did the Early Church Fathers teach it  Is it prominent through Church History  What is Satans chief aim  Are there prophecies of coming deception  Are we fulfilling these prophecies I am NOT proposing some kind of theology by numbers here I am not proposing any theology I am simply from Scripture exposing our great over emphasis that affects our theology. It is not in the Bible. It affects our theology so subtly but so greatly. When humans refuse to believe good Bible-based arguments only statistics remain unchangeable and impossible to deny. And so I present the abundant raw data and statistics as recorded in Scripture - in the hope that this will pierce the fog and allow the light of Christ to shine through. Those who push this over emphasis want to keep it in the realm of ‘the vague keep it mystical and distant - Jesus just loves us oh its all through the NT just read it for yourself you are getting too intense everyone

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 18 knows that God loves us rather than keeping their arguments connected to an objective reading of Scripture this is because then they are tied down to facts. So if you do not want facts this book is not for you. Just to give you an idea of how intense God really is consider this: 1Pet. 1:16 Thats why the Scriptures say "I am the holy God and you must be holy too." CEV Matt. 12:36 I promise you that on the day of judgment everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. CEV Heb. 12:28 …….we must serve God with fear and awe in a way that pleases him. 29 After all our God is a destructive fire. GW Even careless words will be important at judgment. That is very intense. I challenge you to pray for an open heart to hear whatever it is that God wants to say to you. I pray that anyone who has read up to this point even if they reject the overall thesis of this book will become painfully aware of how often we preached and talked about the love of God over the coming months and years. Let me pre-empt the accusations that I have heard so many times. I am accused of being judgmental self- righteous who do I think I am etc…. let me say: I am a nobody. I know it and my wife knows it. I have not achieved anything great in life. I am more of a failure than a great success. But I happened to see something that I need to tell you about. I gazed at a picture of life and I happened to look at the exact spot where I could see there was a problem. I did not find this problem because I was trained to see it. I did not find this problem because I am intelligent. Nor because I am a very spiritual person. And not because I was specially chosen. No only because I happened to see something about which I am compelled to make you aware. Lets begin.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 19 SECTION 2. OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE CHAPTER 2. GOD IS LOVE - 1JOHN 4:8 1John 4:8 God is love and anyone who doesnt love others has never known him. . . 16 . . .God is love. If we keep on loving others we will stay one in our hearts with God and he will stay one with us. CEV First of all lets get the immediate context in mind. Even though this passage is almost always given the title of God is love in our Bibles the context is about us not God. It is urging us to love one another - we must love each other because God is our great example of love. It was not primarily written to describe Gods love. It certainly holds that profound truth in it but that was not the main thing or idea John was trying to communicate. Notice that it does not directly say “God loves you” It states that God IS love and we are to copy Him. We assume that He refers to us and that would be correct but it is not clearly stated. One needs to be very careful not to build a great theological emphasis on an inference rather than a direct statement. Yet this is the very thing we do with most of the references to God’s love in the Bible as I will lay out in the following chapters. Because of this passage we in an era where being nice is seen as the perfect Christian have desired to make God the pinnacle of perfectness in the eyes of the world. This has caused us to elevate His aspect of love so much that other aspects of His character are considerably devalued. An example of this is where there is someone in sin in the church but we say nothing because supposedly God wants to show grace and supposedly He wants us to ‘love them out of their sin.’ The aspect of Gods love has overruled direct commands like these :-  rebuke a sinning brother Luke 17:3  expose sin Eph. 5:11  correct those who oppose teaching Tit. 1:9  leaders in sin must be corrected publicly 1Tim. 5:20

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 20  shun those disobeying to shame them 2Thess. 3:14 This ought to be common sense. In any situation in life. When there is good discipline and authority present there is little need to use it. Like a school teacher - the strict effective teachers have far less problems controlling the class than the other teachers. Or parents who maintain a good level of discipline and authority have far less testing of their authority. Or a boss who maintains a good level of discipline and authority in the workplace has better production and more disciplined staff. As R.C. Sproul puts it: "The worst thing that can happen to sinners is to be allowed to go on sinning without any divine restraints. At the end of the New Testament in the book of Revelation when the description of the last judgment is set forth God says “He who is unjust let him be unjust still he who is filthy let him be filthy still” Rev. 22:11. God gives people over to what they want. He abandons them to their sinful impulses and removes His restraints saying in essence “If you want to sin go ahead and sin.” This is what theologians call “judicial ab andonment.” God in dispensing His just judgment abandons the impenitent sinner forever." 2 We are so blinded by this God is lovewe really mean tender and only tender – Sola Tenere gospel we lose sight of basic common sense. So when we are told to rebuke a sinning brother we do it we do not excuse sin away by holding that somehow it is ‘love’ not to expose it. Why do we elevate the aspect of Gods love higher than His holiness Why do we by our repetitive declarations portray God almost as a single facetted Being of love alone Scripture does not as explained here: The New International Commentary on the New Testament - Dr I. Howard Marshall on 1John 4:8: 8...But it is the subordinate clause in this verse which carries the real emphasis and provides the theme for the next few sentences. "God is love" is rightly recognized as one of the high peaks of divine revelation in this Epistle. Logically the statement 2 The Just Shall Live By Faith - Commentary on Romans R.C. Sproul. Page 48.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 21 stands parallel with "God is light" 1:5 and "God is spirit" Jn. 4:24 as one of the three great Johannine expressions of the nature of God. Some theologians give the impression that the present statement is superior to the other two but there is no justification for doing this. We do wrong to exalt the love of God as His supreme feature just because it is more congenial to our thinking. Nevertheless it is true that "God is spirit describes his metaphysical nature while "God is light" and "God is love" deal with his character especially as He has revealed himself to men. It has been noted that to speak of God as love is not to reduce God to the status of an abstract quality. The statement refers to his action. Yet it signifies more than "God loves" for its effect is to claim that all Gods action is loving. Since love is a personal activity the statement stresses the personality of God to the fullest extent. At the same time the immense gulf between God and men is expressed of no man could it possibly be said that he is love. Only God is completely loving. There is no need to enter into a historical survey of the teaching of Scripture on this point. It would merely demonstrate that this statement is simply the clearest expression of a doctrine of the nature of God that is attested throughout its pages. Equally it would show that outside the pages of Scripture there is no comparable picture of God God is all-loving and equally all-holy 1:5. These two characteristics do not stand in opposition to one another but belong together and determine his actions. Consequently it is not surprising that John does not stay on the level of abstract theological assertion but proceeds directly to speak of how God has showed his love. 3 Emphasis added Indeed. It was John who correctly made this declaration that ‘God is love’. Jesus did not feel the need to state this truth during His ministry. But Jesus did feel it necessary to declare that He ‘was the Truth’: 3 The New international Commentary On The New Testament. The Epistles Of John. I. Howard Marshall. Page 212-213.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 22 John 14:6 Jesus said to him “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ESV So we can also say that God is Truth or God is Life or God is the Way. They are all true. This thought is going to be very challenging to many Christians but only because we have created such a strong misplaced tradition about God and His extreme love for us. An observation here that is helpful to explain why in the survey I mentioned earlier some would quote as high as 70 80 90 and even 100. As Dr Marshall says: Yet it signifies more than "God loves" for its effect is to claim that all Gods action is loving. I would totally agree that God does everything in love - 100 if I had indeed asked Which actions of God are in love But I did not ask that question. I asked what percentage of the verses in the New Testament state clearly that God loves us. I purposely emphasized to all participants that it was only about how many times and to estimate a percentage of the New Testament verses which stated this clearly. You see even though I clarified clearly what I was asking so many Christians cannot differentiate between God loving us and how we are to evangelize the lost. We hear the word ‘love’ and run everything together as one simplistic truth – ‘God Is love’ ‘love is God’ all that matters is ‘love’. We must love we must be like God. We do not define love as anything different from kindliness and tenderness. What about ‘tough love’ We do not even think about it. It’s just trained belief to see everything ‘nice’ as love. Even though our definition of love is now false – true love will warn people of judgment and discipline other with wrong belief. For instance when I say ‘We must preach repentance not God’s love’ I get instant reactions as though I am saying that God has no love. I said nothing of the sort but we have an unnatural perspective on God and love and we cannot tolerate any enquiry of how it is supposed to work. Words are fired and swords are

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 23 drawn to nip it in the bud. There must be no discussion that might have the remotest possibility of questioning our pet theology and deepest belief. Someone says “But we are to preach the gospel in love.” Of course that’s a strange thing to say. Of course I would agree with that and I have never heard anyone say otherwise. But when someone says “But we are to preach the gospel in love” what they really hear is ‘We are to preach God’s love to them in a lovely way.’ No we are to preach the gospel in true love not preach the love of God. And as Jesus showed ‘love’ includes ‘tough love’ too at times. But as I have said whenever we use the term love in this context well many contexts really it is automatically assumed that we are to preach ‘Gods love’. And then by extension to preach God’s love is to preach it really nicely. Because after all everyone knows that ‘love is the most important thing in the world. God is love and ‘...of him and through him and to him are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.’Rom. 11:36 Love is everything. If we ‘love’ someone God is there. In all His power. Without doubt. Even if we said nothing about the gospel. Wrong The word ‘love’ has become the great interchangeable word for God. And we use that great word invoking the fear of hell in any situation or discussion to silence anyone who may have even just a little forthrightness. This is why I say that we are deeply conditioned even deceived and our basic assumptions our paradigms are deeply flawed. Kevin DeYoung critiques a book where the statement God is Love was the starting point the fundamental truth of God and he says: For example why should the statement “God is love” be given priority over John’s other “definitional” statements that God is light 1 John 1:5 or God is spirit John 4:24 And what about the “definition” in Hebrews 12:29 that “God is a consuming fire” or the repeated assertion that God is “holy holy holy” 4 Emphasis added Kevin DeYoung senior pastor of University Reformed Church PCA in East Lansing Michigan 4 /augustine-volf-and-bad-arguments-getting-worse/

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 24 Dr Smalley says in the Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 51 - 1 2 3John: b To assert comprehensively that "God is love" does not ignore or exclude the other attributes of his being to which the Bible as a whole bears witness notably his justice and his truth cf. Ps 89:14 Deut 32:4 Rom 3:21-2 John 17:17. Gods judgment his wrath for example„ is just as much a reality as his love cf. Isa 54:8 Rev 6:12-7. But theologically these cannot be opposed to each other. Such characteristics of God as his justice and his truth must ultimately be related to his essential nature as love and may in the end be perceived in terms of his loving nature see further Stott 160-61. Such teaching belongs indeed to 1 John itself where we read of Gods holiness 1:5 justice 1:9 and truth 5:20. Emphasis added Stephen S. Smalley Ph.D. Cambridge is an internationally recognized Johannine scholar and Dean Emeritus of Chester Cathedral England. Further commentary by various scholars is listed in the i End notes. So even for the amateur Bible student using free resources 5 we find with a little investigation that contrary to popular belief that God is love is not THE all-defining statement of God. It must not be the single facet of God that we elevate above all else. And worse we should not be using it as a weapon against talk of the other attributes of God that are difficult to accept. Nor using it against any Christian who appeals to other truths that we find less than comfortable. Human nature will always favour and emphasize the nice things over the less appealing. That is why we must interpret Scripture with Scripture and work out our salvation with fear and trembling 6 rather than drifting into a false tradition of men in our understanding. CONCLUSION:  God Is Love 1John 4:8 not the emphasis we thought. 5 Many free Bible study resources can be found at or download eSword to your computer. 6 Philippians 2:12

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 25 Typically whenever I discuss these things with Christians and even pastors with the clear Biblical evidence they will react and say something like "Are you saying that God does not love us" Its an obvious over-reaction in order to protect this precious tradition of men. Any time the ‘high’ emphasis on Gods love for us is questioned the automatic reaction is to falsely hear that Gods love itself is in question. No if I question the over emphasis I am not questioning the principle and the truth of Gods love for us. Again I will categorically state that God has a great love for us. It can rightly be said that everything God does is through love. All I am saying is that we talk about and focus on Gods love for us far more than the Bible does. This has had a devastating effect on the Church. When you sugar-coat the Gospel to make it more appealing you remove the God of the Bible from it and replace it with a god of man and bondage. Recently while I was discussing this with a pastor it became a little heated and finally in frustration he reacted with: "It does not matter if you can show me that the Bible does not say that God does love us that much I am convinced it is true because that is how God works." Do you see what he did here

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 26 In other words ‘I am totally convinced that God loves us so much because of our tradition about that that even if you prove from the Bible that we have a great over-emphasis on it I will not accept it.’ As Marian a dear friend says ‘Some people’s minds are like concrete – thoroughly mixed and firmly set.’ And this is a pastor who unlike so many focuses more on challenging people rather than preaching all the ‘nice things’. Yet he believes in ‘God loves us soooo much’ which compromises his perspective waters down his challenges and does not truly challenge the congregation. It has become an unshakable belief even though this emphasis is not in the Bible. In another heated debate a brother who is now retired and who passionately laboured in ministry most of his life: "I dont care if the Bible never states that God loves us we know He does love us so much because it is in everything He does." With our current worldview putting an over-emphasis on Gods love his statement even sounds like a very spiritual statement even profound but it is not. Again he too is saying that the Bible itself is not my authority my traditions are more important. My traditions determine what the Bible emphasizes. Yet we say that we believe the Bible to be the Word OF God and it is our FINAL authority. Well only if it complies with our traditions it seems. Another pastor from a more Reformed position during a discussion reacted with this: 7 7 When we study a book of the Bible one of the basic things we look for are the key words - which words are used most as they help us to identify what it is that God is wanting to tell us. Thats just part of basic Bible study.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 27 Note the superior arrogance. Why do pastors interpret the Bible and who God is by the popular traditions of today and by what they ‘sort of kind of remember’ the Bible says rather than what is IN the Bible printed in black and white. They do not allow the actual Bible to formulate their theology and beliefs. They allow ‘popular current Church thought’ to determine their theology. They did not take that view because of what the Bible reveals in plain writing they took that view because it is our dominant Church perspective - one of our current traditions of men. Or to put it another way the Bible does not instruct or even infer that we should preach or build such an over- emphasis on Gods love for us. But we know better than the Bible and we think that our traditions are more spiritual than the Bible. We boldly declare that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and that we follow it. But we do NOT follow the inerrant Word of God when it conflicts with our pet doctrines of men. No these false doctrines are idols that must be forsaken. How can I describe proper emphasis I will try…… I myself feel very loved by God. I also feel very humbled by Gods greatness. I know that I am unworthy. So please do not try to convince me that I am so special because God loves me. I feel very loved by our Holy God. I also feel very sinful many times. Sometimes when I meditate on His holiness fear rises up within me. This is good for ‘fear is the beginning of wisdom.’ But I am not crushed for I know He died for our sin. Oh what a wonderful grace therefore I remain very humble . I feel very loved by our Father God. I also feel like a servant slave and soldier in the Captains Army. I also am afraid of sinning against the Holy God. Yet I feel confident in coming into His Presence to tell Him my deepest thoughts. Once I arrive I am careful to be very humble. So when I ask what percentage of the NT specifically states that God loves us I am attempting to identify how important this was to God and how much we should focus or emphasize this in our teaching and evangelism.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 28 Yes I feel very loved by God while I am walking in deep humility before Him. Oh how I love God. We must hold both truths at the same time both are just as real as the other. Consider this: Heb 12:28 …….we must serve God with fear and awe in a way that pleases him. 29 After all our God is a destructive fire. GW John Newton understood this well when he said: " I am a great sinner Jesus is a greater Saviour" Mary who was ‘highly favoured’ by God had a far better understanding and attitude than we today: Luke 1:28 The angel went to her and said “Greetings you who are highly favored The Lord is with you.”… …38 “I am the Lord’s servant ” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. NIV Today we feel highly favoured and boast of our specialness. The idea of being a mere servant barely enters our mind.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 29 CHAPTER 3. NAMES OF GOD There are many names and titles of God the Father Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit used throughout the Bible. Surely it stands to reason that if love was so extremely important above all other attributes of God then there must be some names or titles of God that reveal this great love for us. Check out this list on the BlueLetterBible website of 480 names - NAMES TITLES AND CHARACTERS OF JESUS CHRIST. 8 You can verify this for yourself. 480 names yet there is nothing except for this one obscure reference in the list: Pro 17:17 A friend loves at all times and a relative is born to help in adversity. NET A Friend that loveth at all times. Here are just a few of the Names Titles that are often used:-  Elohim : God the Omnipotent  El-Elyon : the Most High God  El-Roi : the God that sees  El-Shaddai : God Almighty God all sufficient  El-Olam : God the Everlasting  El-Bethel : God of the House of God  El-Gibbor : the Mighty or Great God  Elohim-Elyon : God the Most High  Elohim-Saboath : God of Hosts. Omnipotent.  Immanu-El : God with us  Jehovah-Elohim : Lord God Redeemer-Creator  Adonai-Jehovah-Saboath : Master of Hosts  Jehovah-Jireh : the Lord will provide  Jehovah-Rapha : the Lord that heals  Jehovah-Nissi : the Lord my Banner or Standard  Jehovah-Kanna : the Lord who is jealous  Jehovah-Mekaddeskum : the Lord sanctifies  Jehovah-Shalom : the Lord our Peace  Jehovah-Shaphat : the Lord is Judge  Jehovah-Saboath : the Lord of Hosts  Jehovah-Elyon : the Lord Most High  Jehovah-Raah or Roi : the Lord my Shepherd  Jehovah-Hosenu : the Lord our Maker  Jehovah-Gibborm : the Lord is Mighty  Jehovah-Tsidkenu : the Lord our Righteousness 8

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 30  Jehovah-Shammah : the Lord is Ever-present  Ancient of Days  The Life  God of Love and Peace 2 Cor 13:11  Advocate  Faithful and True  Lion of the Tribe of Judah  Victorious One  Deliverer  Bread of Life  Son of the Most High  I Am  Judge  Risen Lord  Supreme Creator Over All  Redeemer  Messiah  Light of the World  Savior  Lamb of God  One Who Sets Free  Mighty One  The Word  Alpha and Omega  Lord of All  The Resurrection  Chief Cornerstone  Good Shepherd  Holy Servant  The Way  The Truth  Bridegroom  King of Kings  Sacrifice for Our Sins  Our Hope  Great High Priest  Mediator  Author and Perfecter of Our Faith  True Vine  Almighty One  Head of the Church  The Door  Prince of Peace  Son of Man  Beloved Son of God  Wonderful Counselor  Mighty God  Everlasting Father  Prince of Peace

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 31 Rather than names like God of Love being repeated in many forms most of Gods names and titles are more about Gods power rulership and holiness. How can it be that if the love of God for us is so important and so prominent that there are no names or titles that specifically and clearly declare this Did the All-knowing God make a mistake when inspiring the Bible writers Or have we mere humans make a grave error in judgment Are we too the blind leading the blind Interestingly Jesus introduces the title Father to God and instructs us to address God as Father. Love for us is implied in so many ways and places in the Bible but there is no great emphasis and dwelling on it. It is something that we now hollowly claim there is and exalt as high Biblical revelation. CONCLUSION:  Names Of God show no emphasis on His love for us certainly the concept is there but in no way can it be said to be an emphasis anything like what we live by. Find the complete book at: Again yes God love us. All I am saying is that we over emphasize this truth to the dumbing down of the other attributes and realities of God.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 32 END NOTES i King James Version Study Bible Notes: John 4:8. John has also recorded that "God is light" 1:5 and irit" John 4:24 . Love is one of many attributes of God and is to be understood in relation to the others such as holiness and justice. Thru The Bible Commentary - 1 John 4: John gives us now another definition of God: "God is love." We have three great definitions of God in this wonderful little book: 1 "God is light" 1 John 1:5 and that was the theme from chapters 1:1 to 2:2 2 "God is love" 1 John 4:8-16 the very heart of this 1 epistle is the theme from chapters 2:3 to 4:21 and 3 "God is life" is the theme of chapter 5. These are the three great definitions of God which John gives to us and they constitute the major divisions of this very marvelous epistle. Holman Bible Dictionary - God as Mystery Revealed in Christ: Revelation of Christ in the form of Bible narrative allows us to describe God but not to define Him. Perhaps the closest we can come to a definition is that God is the holy Being who is love in servant form. This rises out of Bible statements. "the Lord our God is holy" Ps. 99:9"God is love" 1 John 4:8 16. These contain partial descriptions not definitions. The norm for a definition comes in Jesus who said "but I am among you as one who serves" Luke 22:27 NRSV Holman Bible Dictionary - The Origin of Atonement: Yet divine love is not sentimental or merely emotional. It is a righteous love which blazes out against all that opposes Gods will. The New Testament affirms that ‘God is love. 1 John 4:8 it also affirms that “our God is a consuming fire" lib. 17:29. Thus the cross is simultaneously a manifestation of Gods will to save and of His wrath against sin. Willmingtons Guide - Attributes of God: God is Love This is at once the most universally known and universally misunderstood attribute of all. Millions have simply equated love with God thus weakening or totally denying his other perfections. A man and woman may have an affair hidden from their spouses and justify their adulterous relationship by their great "love" for each other. But Gods love cannot be separated or isolated from his holiness and hatred for sin. Having said all this however it must be admitted that of all his attributes Gods love is probably more quickly seized upon by seeking sinners than any other perfection. emphasis added Vincent Word Studies: Is love See on God is light 1Jn_1:5 and the truth 1Jn_1:6 also God is spirit John_4:24. Spirit and light are expressions of Gods essential nature. Love is the expression of His personality corresponding to His nature. See on love of God 1Jn_2:5. Truth and love stand related to each other. Loving is the condition of knowing. Word Picture in the New Testament Robertson: God is love ho theos agap estin . Anarthrous predicate not h agap . John does not say that love is God but only that God is love.

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Where in Scripture is there an emphasis on Gods love 33 The two terms are not interchangeable. God is also light 1Jn_1:5 and spirit Joh_4:24. Philip Schaffs Popular Commentary on the NT: All love in man all love everywhere is from God but more than that God is love: a word that had never before been spoken since revelation began. It closes and consummates the Biblical testimony concerning God as knowable to man: it must be remembered that it is connected with he that loveth not knoweth not—literally ‘never has come to the knowledge of’—God. Observe that it is not said ‘love is God’ any more than it was said ‘light is God.’ God is light in His revealing and diffusive holiness God is love in His diffusive self- impartation: both however in His relation to His creatures. His eternal essence is unfathomable and behind both. Love is the bond of His perfections as revealed to the created universe. David Guziks Enduring Word Commentary: i. When we say God is love we are not saying everything about God. Love is an essential aspect of His character and colors every aspect of His nature. But it does not eliminate His holiness His righteousness or His perfect justice. Instead we know the holiness of God is loving and the righteousness of God is loving and the justice of God is loving. Everything God does in one way or another expresses His love. The Expository Notes of Dr. Constable 1 John 4:8 Absence of love shows that a person does not have intimate fellowship with God. It does not necessarily show that he was never born of God. Because God is light those who abide in Him walk in His light 1Jn_1:5 1Jn_1:7. Because God is righteous those who abide in Him practice righteousness 1Jn_2:29. Just so God is love and those who abide in Him manifest His loving character. God is also light 1Jn_1:5 spirit John_4:24 and fire Heb_12:29. These are all metaphors that emphasize certain characteristics of God.

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