Why Love Is Not Enough

Richard Hays in his now famous book The Moral Vision of the New Testament believes that three focal images are needed in order to understand Scripture. These three images are 1) community, 2) Cross, & 3) New Creation. He argues that Love and Liberation are not effective focal images. The reason for this is that community, cross, and new creation are the lenses that allow us to interpret what love and liberation should be. Left by themselves, love and liberation can devolve into many definitions and ideas. The focal image of community gives perspective to all of scripture by focusing us on the formation of a reconciling community. This stands in such contrast to our hyper-individualism. The focal image of cross gives perspective to our mission and what is called for. Christians are to walk in the way of Christ. The cross allows us to see the absurdity of what most people live for. The focal image of new creation reminds us that we have an eschatological vision of the world to come. God is trying to form a certain kind of world and we are called to act as if that world exists. Without such images, love turns into self-gratification and being nice. Liberation turns into violence and anarchy.

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