The #1 Threat to the Church

There’s a great threat looming over the Church right now. In my opinion, it’s the Church’s greatest threat. And it’s not doctrinal error, poor exegesis, a lack of discipleship, or even the contemporization of the Church.

I believe the #1 greatest threat facing the Church right now is a lack of love — real love that is.

The kind of love that crosses enemy lines.

The kind of love that lives out the gospel in the midst of those who oppose it.

The kind of love that’s willing to lay down its life.

This kind of love doesn’t come easy, but it’s the Church’s greatest weapon. I think that’s why Paul wrote what he did in 1 Corinthians 13.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Our churches can have incredible preaching, incredible doctrine, incredible music, and incredible programs, but if it’s only offered to those we agree or feel comfortable with, we’re missing the point.

If the Church has any chance at changing this world, it will be through its love for its neighbors — real love that is.

And if you want to know what real love looks like, take a look at the cross. Not just the bloody crown that adorned Christ’s forehead. Not just the torturous crucifix. Not just the whips that ripped the skin off His back. And not just the jeering crowd that screamed at His feet.

No, if you want to know what real love looks like, look deeper. Look at the debt that He paid. Look at the sin that He covered. Look at the death that He conquered. And most importantly, look at who He offers it to. EVERYONE.

Yes, that’s what real love looks like. Real love is the kind of love that loves with no strings attached. No qualifications. No pre-requisites. To love in this way, we have to first receive this kind of love. And we can only receive this kind of love from the Father (1 John 4:7).

Real love — the kind that loves enemies — is the kind of love that separates Christianity from empty religion.

This is the kind of love Paul knew and exemplified when he was miraculously freed from prison and instead of escaping to safety, he took it as an opportunity to preach the gospel. For the sake of love, he risked his life.

That’s what real love does. Real love loves “everyone.” And when I say everyone, I mean it in the truest sense of the word.

Every skin color.
Every nationality.
Every political affiliation.
Every track record.
Every sexual orientation.

Real love doesn’t look to a news channel to see who it should love.
Real love doesn’t look to celebrities or influencers to see who it should love.
Real love doesn’t look to a President or a political party to see who it should love.

Real love looks to Jesus.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Hi Tyler – I was involved in a ministry right after 9/11 that was a muslim outreach. There were four of us in the group, ministering at a Turkish cultural center for a couple of years. We tried to get support from local churches, and in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, we could gather no support whatsoever.

    I felt like that was a time when the Church looked really bad. We’re supposed to rise above politics and warfare and hatred, and hold the Gospel to be the ultimate authority. But few would, and collectively none. What a missed opportunity to show that Christians are different! But in the end, maybe we’re not.

    I get that that was a hard time to be a Christian and to actually be a “Christian”. But that’s exactly when we need to do it.

    It’s been said that the culture influences the Church more than the Church influences the culture. That experience proved the point to me.

  • Yes, culture has watered down the effectiveness of the ‘church’. But, again, organized Christianity is a rather curious thing. In America, it’s becoming harder to separate right wing politics and the prosperity gospel from organized Christianity, and in England it sometimes seems to be just another institution dominated by the rather polite, but rather pushy and snobby middle, who also dominate politics, the media and academia. This type of Christianity is basically dead to many people. It is, essentially, without love.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *