Feb 18, 2013

Love is Finally Dead in America, but Does Anyone Care?

Remember that one of the early signs of the end of the age and the coming of Messiah will be found in Matthew 24:10-12:
And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Kelly OConnell

Is it overly-dramatic to suggest love in America is now DOA—Dead on Arrival? Of course not. In various ways we may measure the death of love in society, from the state of dating, marriage and families; the vitality and content of the education system; the typical interaction between strangers; or the state of orthodoxy preached from American pulpits. While there may be a spirited debate over the exact definition of love—there can be no doubt that the traditional notion is now defunct. Seminal French intellectual Jacques Ellul wrote:

I might adopt once again a formula I have used many times without ever being refuted: “In a society which talks excessively about a human factor, the point is that this factor does not exist. People talk excessively about freedom when it is suppressed.” This formula has always proved to be true. I would thus apply it here as well. So many novels and essays and studies and experiments and propositions are made precisely in order to hide the basic absence of love. Love does not exist in our society. It is no more than a word.
But why make the dramatic claim love is dead? Because great evidence exists that this statement is true. Further, such a fact must mean that our culture is mortally ill and will die unless we reverse course on this essential issue. In a variety of instances we can see how the very notion of love itself has fled from an increasingly materialistic, over-sexualized and spiritually apostate land. For example, traditional concepts of marriage are replaced by cohabitation, hookup dating, pornography, and endless tales of misbegotten trysts—like the army of young and attractive female teachers seducing students, which hits the papers on a weekly basis.

All of this reveals a sad and alarming absence of real love. Again, consider how materialism, technology-mania, and pop-psychology have overwhelmed America’s traditional concern with friends, family and care for strangers. Further, ponder how a lack of understanding of God’s love—whether miss-delivered from the pulpit via various heretical sermons, or in private Christian lives and their pagan practices—has caused a catastrophe for America.

I. What is Love?

Existentialists, cynics, and contrarians might dispute the very existence of love. Yet, most persons will admit that not only does some form of love exist, but that without it, human existence would not be worth living. How love is defined is another matter. For this we must turn to both secular and religious authorities, being Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck and Saint Paul of Tarsus.

A. M Scott Peck—The Road less Traveled

One of the greatest successes in the history of modern publishing, The Road Less Traveled became a best-seller 5 years after its initial release. Much of the book focuses upon Harvard and Case Western Reserve trained psychiatrist Peck’s experience in practice and related ideas about discipline, human growth and love. Here is an excerpt:

I am presuming, however, to give a single definition of love, again with the awareness that it is likely to be in some way or ways inadequate. I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.

Peck goes on to explain that love is not an emotion, but an act of the will:

Genuine love implies commitment and the exercise of wisdom. When we are concerned for someone’s spiritual growth, we know that a lack of commitment is likely to be harmful and that commitment to that person is probably necessary for us to manifest our concern effectively….I have defined love as the will to extend oneself for the purpose of nurturing one’s own and another’s spiritual growth. Genuine love is volitional rather than emotional. The person who truly loves does so because of a decision to love. This person has made a commitment to be loving whether or not the loving feeling is present. If it is, so much the better; but if it isn’t, the commitment to love, the will to love, still stands and is still

B. Saint Paul—The New Testament

Undoubtedly the most quoted passage in history upon love comes from the pen of Saint Paul. Here, again the definition of love is put into terms of action, not feeling. From the 13th chapter of 1st Corinthians 4-8:
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

C. Four Types of Biblical Love

The most sophisticated analysis of the different types of love is found in the New Testament, as analyzed by one author here:

Eros Love—This means physical passion; its gratification and fulfillment. The Greek word is not used in the New Testament, but inferred in many scriptures and is the only kind of love that God restricts to a one-man, one-woman relationship within the bounds of marriage (Heb. 13:4; Song 1:13; 4:5-6; 7:7-9; 8:10; 1 Cor. 7:25; Eph. 5:31).

Storge Love - Storge is the natural bond between mother and infant, father, children, and kin. William Barclay states, “We cannot help loving our kith and kin; blood is thicker than water” (N.T. Words, 1974).

Phileo Love - Phileo love is a love of the affections. It is delighting to be in the presence of another, a warm feeling that comes and goes with intensity. The Bible encourages it but it is never a direct command. God never commands phileo since this type of love is based on the feelings.

Agape Love - Agape love is God’s kind of love. It is seeking the welfare and betterment of another regardless of how we feel. Agape does not have the primary meaning of feelings or affection. Jesus displayed it when he went to the cross and died for you and me regardless of how He felt. In the gospels Jesus prayed, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt. 26:39; Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:41-43; Jn. 18:11).

Read more at - http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/53181