Speaking the Truth in Love

James White writes:

“When the Apostle Paul wrote to the churches in Galatia, he was obviously quite upset. For what reason? Why does this epistle contain some of the strongest language to be found in Scripture? Why does Paul place the teachers in Galatia under the anathema of God? From our modern perspective, it seems a little thing. These teachers were not denying the importance of the work of Christ. Indeed, all they were saying was that faith in Christ was first, but after this one needed to observe certain aspects of the Mosaic Law, primarily circumcision. Surely this is not such a terrible thing! We have many today who are far more strident in their false teachings, going so far as to teach that God Himself was once a sinful man who lived on another planet!

Now there is a sufficient reason for Paul to be upset, but why was he angered over such a small thing as the addition of something like circumcision to the Gospel message? Paul knew then what we must learn today: the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Any change in that Gospel message, then, leaves us not with a Gospel that is slightly in error, but with no Gospel at all! God saves in His way, not man’s way, and to add man’s works, no matter how minor they may seem to us, is to denigrate, no, blaspheme, the work of Christ! God is the one who saves. Therefore, to add human works to the process is to teach the very opposite of the truth. Since Paul loved the Galatian believers, he was more than willing to chastise them strongly for falling for such false teaching. It was their eternal salvation that was at stake” (James R. White, The Fatal Flaw: Do the teachings of Roman Catholicism Deny the Gospel?, Crown Publications, 1990).

In light of John 10:5 what does James White mean by the Galatian believers “falling for such false teaching”? Please see What about the Galatians?

Some other things White says here brings to mind this article, James White: Slanderer, Spiritual Harlot, Hypocrite.

“One might call this kind of attitude in the Apostle ‘tough love’ for it certainly was not easy for him to act or speak in such a way. Undoubtedly there were those in Galatia who commented, ‘My, what a mean-spirited person he is! How dare he speak in such away!’ Others probably wished to chide Paul for not being ‘loving’ or ‘Christ-like’ in his writing. But such folks don’t understand the importance of the truth of the Gospel. They don’t understand that love, real love, cannot be divorced from truth. One cannot claim to love when one is unconcerned about truth. The truth of the Gospel, then, must be the priority for one who really loves. So, Paul’s letter, and his attitude, tells us what love does when faced with a dangerous falsehood. It reacts, and reacts strongly. It reacts in proportion to the danger presented, which here is eternal damnation itself” (James R. White, The Fatal Flaw: Do the teachings of Roman Catholicism Deny the Gospel?, Crown Publications, 1990).

James White says that “love, real love, cannot be divorced from truth.” Indeed it cannot.


True and False Love (1)

True and False Love (2)

Love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).