I am put off by the title of a Christianity Today interview with Jamie Smith. The title is “You Can’t Think Your Way to God: Christian Formation means shaping our loves, says Jamie Smith, not just educating our minds.”
The title is true enough, but I wonder why it singles out “thinking” as the way we can’t work our way to God. Scripture is clear that we can’t love our way to God either. We can’t anything our way to God. The title makes it sound like there is something particularly deficient with thinking, when actually there is something deficient in any method of getting to God.
I gladly say that right doctrine is not enough to save us, for even demons know some accurate facts about God. We must love God and commit to him too. Of course, this is impossible to do without knowledge, because we can’t love or trust what we don’t know.
Bottom line: I don’t understand the need to play doctrine and love against each other and then say that love is the thing. 1 John 3:23 clearly says that we’re commanded to both believe in Jesus and love each other. So it’s a both/and not an either/or.
Double bottom line: the main question isn’t which route you’re going to take to get to God, whether believing the right thing or loving in the right way, because both ways are bound to fail. The question isn’t how we will get to God, but how God has gotten to us. He came to us with grace and truth, with love and right doctrine. We need them both, right?