When our theology doesn’t extend to loving action, we look a lot like the Pharisees. We see this in the high-profile exodus of folks like Beth Moore from the Southern Baptist Church, Jemar Tisby from the PCA, and innumerable black believers from predominantly white evangelical churches. And we haven’t even touched on the consistent decline of Christianity in the lives of millennials. Something is broken in the American church, and we would be foolish to pretend it isn’t directly related to our failing to love God and love others at the same time. Many religious leaders have fallen; their sins have caught up with them: Bill Hybels, Ravi Zacharias, Jerry Falwell Jr. Most fallen leaders had great theology, but they forgot to respect the imago Dei, the image of God, in their fellow men and women. There are also people who are doing an incredible job of loving and serving others, but their theology might be askew. Loving action must align with biblical truth, or we miss the heart of the gospel and sell a version of Jesus that won’t sustain us when we grow weary in doing good. Trying to live our lives by focusing more on one of Jesus’s top commandments without the other is like driving a car that has its tires out of balance. We can still drive the car. It might shimmy a little when it gets up to highway speed, but it’s easy to ignore. Unfortunately, the longer you ignore it, the more damage it does. Tires wear wrong, brake calipers warp, and soon you can hardly steer the vehicle. No doubt you’ll be frustrated and stranded before you know it.
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