Agape or Eros?

19 06 2012

There are two basic types of love—agape and eros—according to Scripture. True love, and fallen love.

C.S. Lewis has highlighted the four loves—agape, eros, philia (friendship) and storge (affection)—mentioned in Scripture. However, in the light of God’s love in the cross of Jesus Christ, Christians, filled with the Spirit of God, are now to live from and in and out of, agape love—in the Spirit’s enabling power.

Eros love is the pseudo-love, that which is in the world as a result of the fall. We might say, ‘fallen love’, following the fall into sin and death (Genesis 3). It is unfortunately the natural default position, for all of us who are fallen, sinners.

Recently here in Australia, a militant, homosexual lobby have taken it upon themselves to attack the public policy, leadership, and participants of the Christian group known as The Salvation Army—’the Salvo’s’.

The ‘Salvo’s’ are an non-discriminatory, free, ministry of mercy and kindness, to the needy in the whole community.

But their views of marriage, do not conform with a new, militant regime, demanding that all parts of society adopt the new ‘anthropology’. Salvo’s hold that celibacy is the true way for all outside of marriage. They hold that only Marriage—between a man and woman—is the legitimate context for the expression of sexual union—a traditional, Christian approach.

I think time would be well spent in understanding the huge difference between ‘agape’ love and ‘eros’ love. Self-giving, or self-getting. Agape love is the free, saving, atoning, suffering, self-giving love of God. Eros is ‘fallen’ agape. It can masquerade as true love, but it is not the agape love of Jesus Christ, of the Triune God.

The Salvation Army members honour, love, serve, proclaim, minister and represent Jesus Christ. Their ministry of mercy in giving to others freely, is consistent with the meek ‘agape’ love seen in the cross of Christ Jesus. This is the true serving, self-denying, forgiving, redeeming, agape love which lays down one’s life, for the benefit—now and eternally—of another. It is God’s redeeming agape love for the world.

Jesus said to ‘agape’ love your enemies and do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who persecute you.

Much talk of love today is of ‘eros’ love.  It is not the same thing as ‘agape’. Tricky thing is, that in the human scene, ‘eros’ seems noble. While ‘agape’, an act of the will can seem weak.

“The crowd”, as they demand ‘rights’ and pressure organisations at the expense of true community, and of personal lives, miss this true agape love—saving love!  May the Spirit of God, make it known in the midst of a militant-legal approach towards the community, and this current fierce focus upon ‘the Salvo’s’.

“Thank God for the Salvos”!

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