[You are encouraged to read the original post at Dr Shogren’s blog.]
…but are indifferent about the people in it?
In John’s language, “hate” is necessarily anything so vile as loathing, or despising, or cursing – “hate” is not-love, that which short of perfect love. In other words, “Whoever claims to love God yet does not love some brother or sister is a liar.”
We cannot fancy that we love the church as an abstraction, but fail to love some particular brother; at no time has God allowed that formulation.
Only the Trinity can see at a glance the full body of Christ, marching from antiquity to the kingdom; yet even God sees his people always in the concrete, and never as an abstract. We don’t want to be just a number on a page, and God agrees.
“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.” 1 John 4:20 NIV
For us there is no body of Christ which we are invited to love as an idea, but always and only in the immediate, the concrete, the personal.
Copyright Gary Shogren.
Gary has a PhD in New Testament Exegesis. He serves as Professor at Seminario ESEPA, San Jose, Costa Rica. Visit his Blog at Open Our Eyes Lord