WHAT IS TRUE BIBLICAL LOVE?
We, at C3 Church Watch believe that:
“Love is patient. Love is kind (to show oneself useful)… It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We believe that love surpasses knowledge [1Corinthians 13:1-3].
We believe that love never fails [1Cor 13:8] and believe in,
“faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1Corinthians 13:13
We believe God is love [1 John 4:8, 16] and God and His Apostles teach us that we should teach and show each other love [1 Thes 4:9].
THE GOSPEL DEFINES CHRISTIAN LOVE
True love is a command of God that John the Apostle says (emphasis mine),
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” – 1John 4:7-12
Therefore, true love is ‘not that we loved God’ but true love comes by hearing the preaching of the gospel, that declares God’s love for us first. Because of His great love for us, this means Christians can genuinely and truly love God and each other. Paul also says,
“God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” - Romans 5:8
So we believe the standard of God’s love is revealed through the gospel and keeping to what we’ve first heard, which is the gospel.
LOVE AND JUDGMENT
As Paul says,
“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!” - Galatians 1:6-9
Therefore, following the teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, in love we are called to judge and hold each other including teachers and leaders responsible, accountable and loyal to God and His church. It is Godly to judge in love.
The gift of judgment helps purify the church, clarifying the simple good news of salvation to all, through the faithful love of Christ. The gift of judgment and good doctrine unifies us in Christ, strengthens our love and reduces the ability of believers to be blown by every wind of doctrine by false teacher, false prophet or false leader:
“It was he [God] who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” Ephesians 4:11-16
This means that judgment must start with those in the church:
“For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1Peter 4:17
“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13
To remain faithful to the ways of Jesus – in love we are to judge correctly. Jesus teaches us not to judge on a superficial level:
“Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:24
Jesus teaches us how to judge [Matt 7:1-12] and to watch out for false prophets [Matt 7:15-23]. We aren’t to judge them by their works [Matt 7:22] nor their presentations but by what overflows out of their heart. Therefore Jesus teaches in Matthew 7 that we can correctly identify a false prophet by what they teach. Therefore, in love we must expel them from the church so we may benefit from the healthy teachings of God’s Word. Because we judge according to the standard of the gospel, we must have good doctrine that confirms we know the true love of God by preaching the true gospel.
JUDGMENT AND GOOD DOCTRINE
Paul instructs Titus to,
“teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.” Titus 2:1
Paul says elders and elderly men in the church are to,
“… be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” Titus 1:6, 8-9
“ speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine. Older men are to be temperate, dignified, sensible, sound in faith, in love, in perseverance.” Titus 2:1-2
Paul says elderly women in the church are to,
“be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” Titus 2:3-5
Paul says young men in the church are to,
“be sensible; in all things show yourself to be an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine…” Titus 2:6-8
Paul says slaves in the church are to,
“Urge bondslaves to be subject to their own masters in everything, to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith so that they will adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.” - Apostle Paul, Titus 2:9-19
Therefore godly judgment and pure doctrine is essential for every Christian to pertain to. It is essential to the Christian because good doctrine is worship central. Jesus says,
“But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” – Jesus, John 4:23-24
Love and sound doctrine should not be seen as enemies of one another but should be seen walking in harmony, hand in hand. Upholding the Word of God and keeping pure the doctrines of God are a form of worship and devotion towards our love for God. Christians who judge rightly help prevent bad teachings and evil men from perverting this form of loving worship to God in ‘spirit and truth’. As Christians, it is important to see that our worship is founded on good judgment with solid doctrine. This is a requirement of love.
QUESTIONS ON LOVE
Q 1. But doesn’t love cover a multitude of sins?
Let’s look at the verse in context where Christians use that phrase:
“The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:7-8
This passage also supports what Peter said earlier:
“As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:10-13
Peter emphasised love in accordance with the Christian mind and sound judgment. This instruction harmonizes with Paul’s instruction to the Ephesian churches (Ephesians 4) and to Titus (Titus 1-2). Therefore, we see true love with sound mind and sound doctrine truly covers a multitude of sins – and not worldly love.
If these central doctrines are not held too, the carnal mind will not know how to “keep fervent in your love for one another.” The C3 Church is a classic example of where the love of God falls short. Those who wish to see the place repent and restored do not wish to see evil happen to those inside.
However, because the truth of the gospel is absent from their meetings – those outside are abused, demonised, slandered, mocked and treated with bitterness, fear and hatred by some of it’s members and leaders. Why? Because their love has been impaired by the lack of the biblical gospel being preached.
This public rebellion against Gods Word in the church and the unforgiveness harboured to those outside the C3 movement needs to be addressed. We are asking to see change so that the body of Christ can walk together in peace and harmony. We are asking leaders in this movement to be reconciled to God so that we can continue the work of Christ in our communities.
Q 2. Who are you to judge our brother? Won’t we all stand in judgment before God in the end?
The verse that is often alluded to in the above question is,
“But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.” Romans 14:10
In it’s proper context, Paul is talking about not passing judgment on those weak in the Christian faith (14:1). Paul is not saying we are not to judge people. Rather, he is instructing believers not to judge other Christian’s forms of worship. Here is an amusing worship YouTube video clip with the heading, ‘More Worst Worship Ever’:
While C3 Church What does not personally approve of this form of worship, someone made the following retalliation to the title’s superficial judgment,
“Not gonna lie….the video is hilarious…. but is the title “Worst Worship Ever” really necessary?…..is your worship better? Don’t wanna cause a big uproar…but i think it’s pretty arrogant to condemn someone elses style of worship (as long as it’s genuine) just because it doesnt cater to you culturally….I say it all in love, the video makes me laugh everytime i watch lol…God bless you…”.” – LIFEoneseven, 2011. (Accessed 28/12/2011)
This is a good example of what Paul was talking about in the above verse that is taken out of context. As Paul said within this context,
“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.” - Apostle Paul, Romans 14:13
We can see that this form of surface judgment is pointless and as Jesus says, ‘Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment’ [John 7:24]. To judge people severely on such surface judgements can severely damage or even destroy people’s faith. The reason why Paul said to the Christians in Rome, ‘For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God’, is probably so they could examine how they were judging weak Christians in the faith.
If they are in error or weak in faith, Paul is teaching believers how to lovingly lead [Rom 14:14-15]. With more mature Christians, it is clear he instructing them to behave, judge and lead weak believers correctly in similar ways he taught believers in Ephesians 4 (emphasis mine),
“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up…” For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:1-6
We are not tearing down C3 by surface judgments. We are looking solely at their messages, motives and maturity.
Love Is Good
We also believe love is good [1 Cor 13:4]. We have demonstrated love is concerned with what is right and wrong, that being truth and righteousness.
“… I was very glad when brethren came and testified to your truth, that is, how you are walking in truth. I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” – Apostle John, 3 John 1:3-4
Worldly love judges people and accuses them of not being loving because “Love does not judge”. This is a false and blind love. The Apostles teach:
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.” Romans 12:9
Therefore love will condemn what is evil and hold to what is good. This is the Spirit of God which convicts us of our sin and calls for the sinner to repent from evil [John 16]. The Christ love within us does not love the world but loves like Christ loved the world – a supernatural love that saves those from their sins.
Good Hates Evil
We at C3 Church Watch believe that true love and unity in spirit, mouth, heart and mind can only occur in accordance with sound doctrine, sound faith in wisdom and truth. The same truth of the gospel that saved us is the same truth of the gospel that keeps us. Healthy doctrine and judgment keeps us in the true love of Christ.
However, this also means we need to separate and call out, just as Christ and His Apostles did BY NAME those who are causing strife, division, quarrels, deception and destruction in the church. Consider Jesus and His Apostles and their righteous judgment they laid upon those who were against God and His work.
The Apostle Paul publicly names and shames Alexander:
“Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.” – Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 4:14-15
The Apostle John shames, exposes and label Diotrephes to Christians everywhere:
“I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say. For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.” – Apostle John, 3 John 1:9-11
Paul speaking against false prophets and tells Titus to sensor them:
“… There are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.” This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.” - Apostle Paul, Titus 1:10-14
John, who teaches us that we need to love one another and that God is love, says of those who do not follow and abide in the teachings of Jesus, the following:
“For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.” - Apostle John, 1 John 1:7-11
Paul names Hymenaeus and Philetus and describes people like them who teach false things are like gangrene (a death and decomposition of body tissue, resulting from either obstructed circulation or bacterial infection).
“… avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.” - Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 2:16-18
The bible is full of warnings against false leaders, false prophets, false doctrines and false gospel messages. Here are just a few.
“Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” - Jeremiah 13:16
“A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” - Jesus, Matthew 16:4
“Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears” - Apostle Paul, Acts 20:30-31
“Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” - Apostle Paul, Galatians 5:7-8
“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” - Apostle Paul, 2 Timothy 4.3-4
“Do not believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” - Apostle John, 1 John 4:1-2
“Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching [Scripture], you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” - Apostle John, John 8: 31-32
“….And is the same truth that save, ‘Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” - Jesus, Revelations 3:2-3
We pray that you see the intention and motivation of C3 Church Watch. As Christians we cannot separate love from truth, goodness from judgment. They all work hand in hand. They are a complete gift from God’s hand. Please understand that we do not wish to see any harm done to anyone in the church movement.
In our love for God, His church (His people) and the world – we are motivated to bring to light with the Word of God, the truth so people can be saved from the darkness that is being spread behind the pulpits in the C3 Church Movement.
Please keep C3 Church, it’s leaders and our site in your prayers. We await the day for Phil Pringle and the C3 Moement to return to the orthodox teachings and practices of Christianity.