The seventh lie is..."They preach only doctrinal truth and it is without love and that will always lead to legalism." No.. wait, I mean the seventh lie is..."They preach only love and it is without doctrinal truth and that will always lead to heresy."
Well which is the lie here? Neither. Both are true. The lie is the idea that either one of these [Revelational truth or relational love] could really be experienced to the exclusion of the other. That's impossible.
Belief [Revelational truth] always leads to behavior [Relational love] and behavior [Relational love] is to always be based on legitimate belief. [Revelational truth] To preach doctrine afraid of or divorced from loving relationships IS legalism and to preach love afraid of or divorced from doctrinal truth IS heresy.
This argument is sometimes crouched in terms of "relational truth" and "propositional truth" and can cause some divisive attitudes among Kingdom people particularly those of the Emerging Church group and others that are a more fundamentalist kind of folks.
In one of Chuck Colsons articles he referenced a young theologian from the Emerging Church crowd who challenged him about propositional truth. Colson had said.."Emerging church leaders are trying to translate the gospel for a postmodern generation. That's a commendable goal, I agree. Though in their effort to reach postmoderns—who question the existence and knowability of truth—I expressed fear that they are coming dangerously close to teaching that objective truth does not exist."
That young theologian then said to Colson, "Truth is paradoxical, simultaneously personal and propositional. It is objectively true that Jesus Christ is Lord no matter what anyone thinks about it. But, Propositional truth is not the highest truth. Indeed, the highest truth is personal."
So the arument can become not so much which is true truth but which is the highest true truth.
My experience has been that this particular argument has been seen before. Granted, it was using different words but the argument was the same to a great degree. It was the Charismatic use of "Rhema" and the Fundamentalist use of "Logos." The former was viewed as an utterance that the Spirit gives to a person [Charismatics say] and the latter is viewed as the Word given whether in Jesus Himself or the scriptures or preaching about the text of scripture. [The Fundamentalists say.]
Charismatics often trusted what their belief system said the Spirit had given them as a personal word [Rhema] so much that it was seen by them to be of greater authority than was the written word. THAT is heresy in my books.
Fundamentalists trusted their knowledge of and exegesis of the Bible [Logos] with such abandonment that it gave them a personal authority so as to almost bring about the elimination of any need of futher personal enlightenment and anointing of the Spirit for a better understanding of the text. THAT is legalism in my books.
There has to be a marriage of both the personal and propositional it seems to me for there to be real truth. It is true that God exists and has spoken [Logos] in both the living Word [Logos] and the written Word. [Bible] But that is meaningless to us UNLESS there is a word [Rhema] spoken unmistakeably to us by the Holy Spirit revealing the meaning of the logos that brings conviction, insight, faith, etc., and results in a real relationship with the God who made us and has spoken to us.
There is little doubt then, that from the beginning of our relationship with God, as we read God's Word, which is referred to as the "logos," the Spirit will give us a greater knowledge of the God we love and serve. We WILL, then, begin to be able to offer to non-believers the truth that we now know.
But we must not fall into the trap of believing that the truth they need is believing right doctrine. They need to see the truth of God's love for them and how He has expressed that by being willing to relate to them through the reality of the person of Jesus Christ. [The gospel] I'm not saying TRUTH is a relative [conditional] thing here. I'm saying WE, as Christians, are the relative [conditional] thing here.
So I do not deny the reality of absolute truth. But I do believe that Absolute Truth is first of all a Person who desires relationship with others. As I see Him in scriptures, walk this earth for those thirty-three years, I see Him doing so with a heart for relationships, NOT for the setting down of a system of rules and regulations to perform. He is Himself love and truth. Or we could say He is Himself truth and love.
This is what I'm to be expressing in my preaching and living. A life that manifests love in relationships and one that is certainly guided by the Word of God. [Jesus] [Bible] [Logos] But my purpose is not to present to unbelievers a standard of right and wrong in belief but of a life of love and grace in relationships. Thus, knowing truth takes on a whole new biblical relational sense for me personally: knowing means loving. You can't have one without the other.
You've heard many many times the statement that says 'people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.' I wanted us to hear it one more time because knowing [propositional truth] is reality and loving/caring [relational truth] is also reality. And it would be a lie to believe one without the other.