At the Gate: The Power of Love

Sitting at the gate, I see the power of love–the power to create, sustain, and redeem. It is the power inherent in the nature of God (1 John 4:8), manifest in Jesus (John 14:1), given to us through the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and intended to be the way we live our lives (John 15:9-17).

An article by Roger Wolsey today brought all this to mind, and his belief that “omniamo” (all loving) should be added to the three classical omnis (all-knowing, all-present, all-powerful) is one I embrace. Thanks to Roger, I want to add “omniamo” to my list of God’s allness qualities. Here are his own words, which have captured my attention,

“I would like to introduce a new “omni” quality for God, perhaps to override the “omnis” that have been displaced or reinterpreted – “omniamo” or “omniamore”) – all loving. If there is one essential and consistent theme throughout the whole of the Bible it is God’s love. We see that God loves us unconditionally like a protective parent, like a wooing lover, and like a committed lover. God loves us incarnationally, down to earth, and relationally. God loves us like a friend.” [1]

And like Roger, I want to go on to say that “all loving” is the supreme quality, the one pervading the other three–indeed, that the absence of love in the list makes the other three far less, perhaps even dangerous in some ways. Like Roger, I want to plant my flag in the soil of a theology of love, rooted in God’s powerful love.

Along with so many other Christians who embrace an all-loving God, we come by this honestly. I have pointed to it in Scripture, though there is much more in the Bible to further confirm the centrality of God’s love. But it is also a core theology in the Christian tradition, particularly emphasized in the Wesleyan tradition, where I have my theological home. [2] Indeed, I believe John Wesley’s statement of early Methodism’s mission “to spread scriptural holiness across the land” means the spreading of love everywhere.

Today, reading Roger’s article, I am reminded of the power of love. Sitting at the gate, I see the all-loving God at work directly through the Holy Spirit and indirectly through those filled with the Spirit. It is a power which transforms–enabling people to believe things about themselves (i.e. their inherent worth as God’s beloved children) which others have not ascribed to them, choosing instead to replace the truth with lies which shame and shun them. Instead, we see in God that the power of love is the ultimate unifying reality, moving Paul to write, “nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38). Nothing.

With this bedrock revelation, we respond via the two great comnandments, as Jesus told us to do, loving God and loving our neighbors, refusing to engage in the fallen-world’s never-ending project of “othering” so that supremacies can be enthroned (social and ecclesial) and the few can be enriched (monetarily and in other ways) at the expense of the many. So, we resist evil (the absence of love) and advocate justice, where love prevails in fairness, equality, inclusion, and the common good.

Sitting at the gate, I see God’s all-loving nature and activity as the source for our hope that God is at work “to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things of on earth” (Ephesians 2:10) [3]

Today, I cast my vote for adding all-loving to the list of God’s omnis, and I cast my lot with those who are walking the path that brings us ever nearer to the cosmic truth, “all are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

[1] Roger Wolsey, “All Loving–A Better Doctrine,” Progressing Spirit, 1/19/23.

[2] I am indebted to many for teaching me this theology of love through their writings and friendships: Mildred Bangs Wynkoop, Tom Carruth, Frank Baker, Randy Maddox, Thomas Oord, and Paul Chilcote–to name a few.

[3] Jürgen Moltmann links hope and love in Christology, in his book, ‘The Way of Jesus Christ.’

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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