Awhile back an anonymous commenter on this blog mentioned that they had prepared a one year study on the subject of love for their congregation after leaving the Stanton sect. I want to thank them publicly and provide the download for others to enjoy as well. I wasn’t sure whether I had permission to post it, but was assured in the comments that I did. So to the author: thank you so much for your efforts in writing this, and thank you for your kind words in the handwritten note that was attached.
I know nothing about the writer, other than the love that flows from the pages of this study. I received the study in hard copy format after providing my mailing address by email to someone who contacted me by email.
I don’t know when the author left the sect, or how long it took them after leaving to arrive at this much more Biblical understanding of love than the sect ever taught. I don’t know any of the author’s history, if we’ve ever met (if so, it was probably when I was a young child), or what sort of pain was endured during their time in the group. I just know that the author has chosen to reject bitterness and anger, and has chosen instead to follow diligently Jesus’ commands.
As the study so clearly shows, the author found their way to a deep understanding of the unconditional nature of Christlike love and forgiveness. It has blessed me, and I hope it blesses you as well. Perhaps you’ll be able to use this study to stimulate new ways of thinking about love that you hadn’t before considered. Maybe you’ll even be able to use this study to spur conversations and studies in your own congregations.
Not convinced? Think this whole topic of love is “soft” and smacks of “feel good religion” that is too good to be true? Try turning the tables on legalism. Take the Clean Bible Challenge and see “whether these things are so” for yourself.
As I posted in the comment thread that led to me receiving this study, if anyone doubts whether a one-year study of love is overkill, consider the words of this old hymn that you have no doubt sung many times:
The Love of God
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When hoary time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
If the love of God is truly “greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell,” and if we could not write it upon the sky, even if the sky were made of parchment and “every man a scribe by trade,” then I suggest a one year study is the bare minimum one ought to devote it. In fact, you could study this subject every day, all day, for an entire year, and still not exhaust more than a tiny fraction of all there is to know and comprehend about God’s amazing love and its implications for our life.
Learn it and live it, my friends. Waste no time, download this awesome study for yourself, and share your thoughts below!