What About the Second?

June 17, 2009

Roger Moran is on another crusade against "liberalism" in Baptist life, as I reported for Ethics Daily last week. But since no one would believe him that his new opponents are theological liberals (especially since many of them helped him wage his earlier fights), he calls them the "new" or "cultural" liberals. Even these arguments can only be developed when he greatly stretches the facts and plays his usual guilt-by-association game. Apparently, Moran has even printed 4,000 copies of his report to pass out next week at the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting. When asked about his newest attacks on his brothers and sisters in Christ, he responded:

Our problem is not in our lack of conservative theological rhetoric, nor in our lack of efforts in evangelism, but in our increasing willingness to neglect what Christ said is the most important of all, the first and greatest commandment. ... Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
But what about what Jesus said next? You know, when Jesus added, "And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Now here is the problem. Moran wants to defend his attacks by pointing to the "first and greatest commandment." But he is violating the second one! One cannot make false and mean-spirited attacks in an attempt to gain more power and control and call it righteous. The second greatest commandment does not allow it. We must follow both commandments. One might even say that not following the second is to not follow the first as well. In fact, someone did say that! Here is 1 John 4:7-8:
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.
What Missouri Baptists really need is more love!