Frequently Christians create a false dichotomy between holding vigorously to a robust, orthodox theology and also passionately pursuing loving others. There’s no false dichotomy. Loving others is part of a robust, orthodox theology and visa versa.
I started a new position at my regular nine to five. I’m in classroom training right now and one of the teachers gave an illustration and as he was giving it it struck me that the illustration could be used with good impact for the interplay between theology and Christian love. As with all analogies pressed too far and it will fall apart so stay focused on the main point.
The church is in the business of offering cold water to those who are thirsty. Its theology is the water that fills the cup and love is the ice cubes that make the water a delight to drink.
Notice that the ice cubes are water. They are the same yet different. Theology is head knowledge which impacts the hands and hearts. If you have the water (theology) without the ice (love) than the water becomes lukewarm (we all know what Jesus said lukewarm water is good for).
However, you cannot have just a cup of ice without the water either. Those who are thirsty are parched and weary. We compassionately hold them close and cradle their heads giving them a drink of the water. Trying dropping ice cubes down someone’s throat who is about to pass out. And love flows out of orthodox theology just like water turns to ice. Without orthodox theology you have no love and without love you’ve missed a vital emphasis in orthodox theology.
In addition, we must reorient what love others means by vitally connecting it to love for God and the vision of love we see throughout all of Scripture. Any vision of love that only examines the Old Testament or the New Testament or only examines a handful of passages is flawed and fails from the outset.
Brother and sisters, let’s not pit friends against each other. Theology and love are one in the same. You cannot have one without the other.