I Corinthians 13 should be a very intriguing chapter for all in the Christian community, especially those steeped in the notion of doctrinal integrity. The reason I say this is the fact that this powerful chapter calls into question so much that passes for orthodox Christian theology. Clearly, anything that is not loving cannot be from God, because it is said to amount to nothing. God is anything but nothing, if I can use that somewhat forced expression. On this basis one can eliminate fear from the message of God and conflict and anger and discrimination and segregation and exclusion and opposition, essentially most of what has been presented as the business and message of the church for the past two millennia.
Admittedly, this realization challenges all Bible believers to re-evaluate how God’s anger and judgment as recorded in the Bible can be seen as loving. Clearly, such acts can never be the final word from God or finding a loving outcome becomes impossible. To my mind, God’s anger and judgment has to be an example of what we call “tough love”. It must have served to re-focus and re-direct mankind toward God’s intended ultimate purpose, one that remains constrained by Love. It behooves us all to bear in mind the preeminence of love in God’s reality, as we formulate and propagate our theological understanding. Love can never be subordinated to anything else in our doctrinal statement without calling our doctrinal integrity into question.