Book Review: The Love Revolution, by Gaylord Enns

With this post we begin our review of an important book that has become a personal treasure, The Love Revolution by Gaylord Enns. Our New Canaan Society (NCS) men’s group has been reading and discussing it for a few weeks. It’s changing  some of our lives. Goodreads rates it five stars, commenting, “Get ready! Love Revolution will rock your world!”

Hidden in Plain Sight Rediscovering the Lost Commandment of Jesus is the book’s subtitle. No, the author isn’t suggesting a lost command of Jesus has recently surfaced. It’s been right here all along. Gaylord simply points out that Jesus gave us his love command in John 13: 34, 35 and twice again in John 15:12, 17. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”

How did we miss it? After reading a chapter of the book, Dave, our group’s leader was aghast. “How is it that, after all these years, I didn’t see this before?” Well, he isn’t alone. Many believers will tell you that Jesus commandment is “Love God with all your heart, soul mind and your neighbor as yourself.” They wouldn’t be wrong, exactly. But think about it. These were Moses’ words, given to him in the old covenant. They don’t come from Jesus.

But Jesus said them, right? Yes Jesus did say them, but only as a quote from the old covenant. It occurred when an expert in the Law asked, “Master, which is the great commandment of the law of Moses.Jesus quoted Moses in his answer, but never owned the command as his own, never taught it to his disciples and it’s found nowhere else in the New Testament.

“Astonishingly,” Gaylord writes, “most of us, and I was one, have substituted the two core commandments of the old covenant for the two core commandments of the new.”

The crux of the book is that Jesus came to bring us grace, truth and love, paying for it with his blood. His joyous good news is that we are free from the harsh demands of the law, and this includes the command to love God and our neighborHold on now. Don’t jump the gun. Let’s give our author a chance to explain, which he does very well.

The Burden of the Law. With genuine honesty and humility, Gaylord shares his own struggles, trying hard to keep this mandate to love God with all of his being. Like many of us, he often felt a nagging guilt that he was never loving God enough. Many responsibilities “kept me from being as devoted to God as I should be”….feeling, “I should be spending more time in prayer and more time in the study of Scriptures.” Think of it! The demands of the law had put him in the awful bind of being torn between loving God and loving his family and congregation. I can relate.

Down the Rabbit Hole. Without knowing it, over the years, this burden took its toll. His faith was becoming a burden rather than a joy. In 2001 he fell into a hole, experiencing a breakdown. It took a full year to recover. But, thank God, during that recovery, he made the discoveries of a lifetime. When he was back, leading his congregation of 33 years, it was with fresh insights that changed his life and the direction of his ministry forever. He was, and is, on a journey rediscovering Jesus’ neglected command, not only for himself, but for his Jerusalem, which is the environs of Chico, California and even to the uttermost parts of the world, literally.

Why do we love God? This is the question Gaylord answers, not by reverting to Moses’ law, which puts the burden of love on the believer. Jesus gospel of a new covenant, places the burden of love on God.  Simply put, “We love Him [only] because He first loved us.” It’s shocking, isn’t it? Somehow, God’s love for us and his desire for us to return his love has been overshadowed by a law that demands we love him! How could we have slipped back into that bondage–turning the joyous good news that, “God so loved the world” into, “World, you better love God!?”

Trust and obey. Gaylord explains that Jesus, like Moses, had two core commands. “Trust and obey” describes them in a nutshell.  Our author identifies his first command, to believe in Jesus in John 3: 16. We also find it   throughout the gospels, especially in his reply to the people who asked, “What does God want us to do?” This time Jesus answers with his command, not Moses.’ ”God wants you to believe in the One He has sent.” His apostles also urged it, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

His second command, ”Love one another,” follows necessarily from his first. Gaylord stresses that love for God results from putting our trust in His son. New Covenant faith begins with trust, but doesn’t end there. It leads us to love God and others, not because we are ordered to, but because we want to.

Pastor Enns has helped me grasp once more, the simple truth that true faith in God must lead to love. And isn’t this true of any solid relationship? A great, old hymn makes it crystal clear. “Trust and obey; there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.”

How did we miss it?

In our next post, Gaylord answers an objection I’ve often heard to this teaching. He explains how Jesus’ two “trust and love” core commands, helps him to love God and his neighbors even more, not less. I would add that, as I continue to grasp this truth for myself, I’m more relaxed and more fun to live with—at least my wife said so today. It’s working!

We live for your comments. Please drop us a line or three.

Answers to Startling Quiz

In this Open Book Quiz, answers are underlined.  Score ten points for each correct answer.  Score a ten for completion questions if you covered the ideas in the answer. If you missed something, deduct five. If you think your answers are right and ours wrong, please show us how from scripture and earn full credit

  1. “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”(Galatians 6:1 What is Christ’s law? (Law is command (entole)  and) Jesus’ command is love one another as he has loved us so the world will recognize we are his disciples. (John 13: 34, 35)
  2. “Let us do good unto all men, but especially to the household of faith, family of God, and the church are all correct. (Galatians 5:10)
  3. Agree Scripture teaches believers have a prior obligation to each other than to the lost? (b) Why would that even make sense? Jesus promised that, if His people obeyed his love commandment, this would be evidence to  unbelievers that we are his disciples.  Moreover, in John 17:  21-23, he prayed for our unity, knowing being of one accord would impress the world towards faith. (Conversely our disunity produces the opposite effect.)
  4. In Matt. 5:13-16, Jesus spoke of worthless salt and hidden light. This refers to  (c) the church (b) From Scriptures in question 2, how may believers lose their worth both to Christ and the world?    When we fail to obey his love command and have dissension among ourselves, we fail to model Christ’s love and unity. As Jesus indicated, unbelievers would discredit and ignore us and we become of  no value to either Christ or the world.
  5. In Acts 1 2: 1, 42-46, we notice how “tight” church members were and how they helped each other. They did this because the apostles taught (e) All of the above.
  6. In Acts 9: 3-4 we read the words “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Paul replied, “Who are you, Lord?” And the Lord said, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting..
  7. Who is Paul really persecuting? _His people or the church or body of Christ. Why does Jesus say this to Paul? Because Jesus identifies fully with his church. It is virtually his body on earth—his only hands, feet, ears, eyes to the world,
  8. (Extra Credit) List two of Paul’s terms for the church found in Ephesians 1 and 2 (a) body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23; 2:16–see 4: 4, 16 and 5:30) ; (b) God’s household or family (Ephesians 2: 19  (c) God’s habitation Ephesians 2:22
  9. Paul writes (I Cor.11: 28-29) “Let a man examine himself and then let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he that eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” (I Cor. 11: 28-29). What body is Paul particularly referring to here? From context, best answer is the body of Christ, His church, the family of God. But give yourself five points if you said his body on the cross. 

TOTAL POSSIBLE SCORE _100_ With extra credit: 120  YOUR SCORE__________     Please let us know if some of the answers surprised you or where you disagree with them.

Startling New Testament Quiz? You Tell Us

Open Book Quiz Score 10 points for each correct answer. Answers appear on March 26th post.       Suggestion: Answer questions from your knowledge and recollection of texts. Then go back    and answer by looking up the passages listed. Either way correct answers get full credit. (We apologize for failing to format numbers at left margin. We are contacting this site about difficulties with its new editing scheme.)

1.“Let us do good unto all men, but especially to  ___________________(Galatians 5:10) 2.“Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ”(Gal. 6:1) What is Christ’s law  _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________(Appears ____________________________________________Found in John 13: 34, 35)        3.Paul and Jesus both taught that we believers should love everyone, but we have a prior obligation to each other than to the lost? Explain from John 13: 34, 35; John 17: 21-23 how that makes sense. __________________________________________________________________________________

____________________________________________________________________________________   4.In Matt. 5:13-16, Jesus warns that when salt loses its saltiness, it becomes worthless. Here He is warning the (a) Jews; (b) apostles; (c) Individual Christians: (d) The church/ body of Christ?       5.Christians can lose their worth and value to Him and the world by failing to (a) read their Bibles and pray; (b) obey his love command in John 13. (c) attend and give to our church (d) win others to Christ; (e) model unity to the world; (f) both (b) and (e) (Read  John 13: 34,35; 15: 12-17; John 17: 21-23)                                                                                                                                                             6.In Acts 1 2: 1, 42-46 we find church members “dedicated to the apostles’ teaching” and also how they took care of each other. That’s because the apostles taught them  (a) to obey Christ’s love  command  (b) to practice agape among themselves to make a good impression on unbelievers; (c) God will respond by “adding to the church” as Jesus predicted. (d) All of the above.                                                                                                                                                             7.In Acts 9: 3-4 we read, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting ______.” Paul replied “Who are you, Lord?” The Lord answered “I am Jesus whom _____________________.                                                                                                  8.Who has Paul really been persecuting?_____________ Why does Jesus tell Paul in this way? __________________________________________________________________________      9.(Extra Credit)List two of Paul’s terms for the church in chapters one and two of Ephesians            (a) ________________________________ (b) ___________________________  10.Paul writes in 1 Cor.11: 28-29, “Let a man examine himself and then eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he that eats and drinks unworthily eats and drinks condemnation on himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.”What bodyis Paul referring to here?___________ _____________ _________Compare your answer with the context, especially verses 18-22, 33.                                                                                                                    TOTAL POSSIBLE SCORE _100_   WITH EXTRA CREDIT:_120       YOUR SCORE______        

Please let us know if any answers surprised you  If any of your answers differs from ours, show us how from scripture and earn full credit






United We Stand

Divided we Fall. Lincoln was so committed to the idea  of unity, he went to war to keep America one nation under God. Along the way he freed an enslaved race. His ideal came from Jesus, from whom he learned, “A house divided against itself cannot stand. (Mark 3: 23, 24).

Blind Spots. We Christians need to adjust our mirrors to see a glaring blind spot. We  celebrate that we are a united nation under God, yet happily engage in our own separate ministries, ignoring the work of our brethren down the street. Accordingly, we are plagued with a plethora of sects, denominations, non-denominations and churches next door who rarely speak. Sadly, we have not only distanced ourselves from one another, I have heard folks celebrate our separateness. In fact…

I played my part in this absurdity, teaching that our schisms were a part of God’s plan to meet the many different needs and wants of various people.  I once said, “It’s true that we have many divisions, but we are still one army.” Foolishness! Many pastors such as myself went our own way, laboring to preserve our turf, our traditions, our denominational ties and our own ballyhooed doctrinal viewpoints.

Cooperating or Competing? We never admitted or were probably not aware of it, but we were virtually  competing with one another for members. We did make vague genuflections in the direction of cooperation with fellow churches. But our goal was to keep our own institutions alive and well.

What Would Jesus Say? Would he applaud our divisiveness or would he say, “It’s just as I told you! Divided against yourselves leads to failure.” And we did fail and we are still failing. Many churches have had to close its doors. But the real tragedy is our failure to fulfill Jesus  mission to  “Seek to save those who are lost.” Millions in recent generations remain virtually untouched by the good news of Christ’s love and forgiveness, lost not found.

How to Lose a War Without Hardly Trying I was shocked recently at a documentary about Nazi Germany’s invasion of the USSR in 1942. Again and again generals, on both sides, led their men into disastrous defeats  with casualties in the millions.  Often it was due to poor cooperation and coordination. Even more millions died by the failures of both Stalin and Hitler to listen to their commanders on the  ground. Despite the pleas and advice of their generals, these dictators made horrendous decisions based on their whims. The loss of life was unprecedented. In the end, Russia’s winters and vastness prevailed, leading to Germany’s disastrous defeat.

United Stand and Prevail In stark contrast was the war effort of the allies, named  the United Nations, although these nations were far from united. Operation Overlord, led by Generals Eisenhower and Bradley, ultimately won a great victory over Nazi Germany. They had a tough job. You can imagine difficulties heading up the military of a polyglot of 38 different nations, each with their own agendas and viewpoints.In addition, some of their most brilliant generals, with giant egos, competed and jockeyed for position and glory.  But Ike and Omar would have none of it. “Work together and get along,” they were warned,”or we’ll find those who will.”  The cost was great, but no where near the millions killed and wounded in Russia. This was due in large part to the superior strategy, including their  demand for unity among their leaders.

Another plus was the unanimity between them and their political leaders.  Churchill and Roosevelt were not only on the same page as their generals, they placed full confidence in how they conducted the war. Like Lincoln, unity was demanded and expected on all fronts.

It isstrategy that wins wars and a strategy Jesus mandated as well.  We know this from his prayer in John 17: “Father may they be one with each other as we are, that the world may believe.”

How can we go and do likewise? Please join the conversation.


United We Stand

Divided We Fall. Lincoln was so committed to the idea  of unity he went to war to keep America one nation under God. Along the way he freed an enslaved race. His ideal came from Jesus,  “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” (Mark 3: 23, 24).

Blind Spots. Are we Christians able to adjust our mirrors to see our glaring blind spot—the absurdity of rejoicing over being one nation, yet happily engaging in our own little ministries, while disregarding the work of our brethren?  From this we have many Continue reading

Collaboration and the Kingdom of God

Was Jesus a Collaborator?. He chose 12 very different men to accomplish his purposes, then  gave them the gift of his Spirit, commanded them to love each other, sacrifice their egos, unite in love and change their world.   Collaboration wasn’t just important to Jesus. It was paramount. “Father, may they be united as you and are united, that the world will believe.”

Paul, the Great Collaborator “We are one body, but many members.” Paul practically invented the concept of teamwork. He grasped the divine truth that God’s great mission to change our world happens only when we combine our gifts and cooperate in the way members of our bodies do and must.

Quotes on Collaboration:

“Individual commitment to a group effort— is what makes a team work, a society work, a civilization work.” —Vince Lombardi. P.S. what makes God’s kingdom work.

“Alone we are but God’s glimmer. Together, we shine as His world’s beacon of love.”–Wade Nye

“Success, whether in a band or on a team, requires compromise. If you care about what you’re doing and each other, what you lose in compromise, you gain a hundredfold by collaboration. —Mike Rutherford

“Collaboration requires personal sacrifice, but it makes you grow as an individual”.—Brian Eno

“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself. —Henry Ford

“A great idea brewing in a single mind grows best when transplanted into the minds of others. —Oliver Wendell Holmes

“If I have seen further than others it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants.” —Isaac Newton

“I never accomplished anything for my people on my own. What I achieved was done with others who united with me in our cause.”  —Golda Meir

No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helped you. —Althea Gibson

“The strength of the team is its member. The strength of its member is the team.” —Phil Jackson

“Coming together is a beginning; staying together is progress; working together is success.”. —Henry Ford

“The spark of genius generated in a solitary mind, shines brightest when united with other minds”. —Thomas Carlyle

“Gettin’ good players is easy. Gettin’ ’em to play together is the hard part.” —Casey Stengel

We’re in this together. Uniting  and cooperating  may be the key to humanity’s survival. —Jeremy Gilley, TEDTalks lecture

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” —H.E. Luccock

“The ability to direct individual efforts toward a combined effort is the fuel that allows everyday people to attain uncommon results” —Andrew Carnegie

None of us are fans of this next guy, but what he says is so true on the biological level and the spiritual. “In the long history of humans as well as animals, those who learned to collaborate and improvise have prevailed. —Charles Darwin

Prayer: Lord teach us how to love as Jesus did, by laying aside our egos and versions of truth for the sake of Your Glory and Your Kingdom.

What do you think? Please join the conversation.


Charity begins at home …but it mustn’t stay there.

How to Win the Lost There is a conviction among many Christians that our first obligation is to the lost.  There’s a Christian couple I know who are in ministry, whose husband’s parents are believers; the wife’s parents are not. The couple caters to the wife’s parents over the husbands since, “It’s our Christian duty to lead them to Christ.” They put them first, leaving the husband’s parents feeling neglected at times.

WWJD?  I understand the couple’s attitude, but is it biblical? The couple answers, “Of course! There’s the great commission. Our obligation is to witness to the lost.” But is this what Jesus meant by witnessing? Once, while ministering to a crowd, he was told that his family was outside, wanting to speak to him. They had not yet accepted Him as Messiah. So, you would expect he would run out to them, lest he put a stumbling block before them. He did the opposite.  Pointing to his (believing) disciples, he said“Here is my family. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:49). How rude, you say? Yet it was fully consistent with all he taught and did.

Sheep and Goats Often we hear justification for feeding the hungry out in the world by reference to Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats. He welcomed the sheep because, “Even as you did it to the least of the lost, you did it to me?” No? Right! He was clear…as you did it to the least of my brethren.” It’s a great thing to feed hungry people, but not if we jump over and exclude the needy among us. That is NOT what Jesus would do.

While overseas I participated in bringing food to Buddhists. A few did get baptized. In time these came to be known as “rice Christians,” because they were attracted to the rice, not to Christ.  We can’t bribe people to follow Christ, but we can incarnate his love among ourselves. Let’s face it, it’s easier loving people we only brush shoulders with than those we must deal with in everyday life.  It takes the power of God’s Holy Spirit to do that.

Attraction not Promotion. Jesus had a crucial point to make to his disciples. They would soon have the  job of leading His church. Love and loyalty towards fellow members, just like in any family, was priority. Jesus knew the key to bringing others into a family, is not to cater to them, but draw them by being a loving example of what true family life is all about.  

Growing up, I had a neighbor friend, Judy, who was an only child. I rarely saw her parents smile. While we were far from perfect, she saw how my Dad spent quality time with us and had fun with us. Later she wrote, “How often I wished I was in your family instead of mine. ”This is consistent with Jesus’ New Covenant command, “Love one another as I have loved you.” It is by our mutual love, not our worship, doctrines or outreach programs that draws people to Jesus. Loving one another means embracing brethren from other traditions and co-operating with them in ministry.

Lift Jesus Higher. “If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself.” (John 12: 32 ). Jesus refers to his death on the cross, the supreme act of God’s love. The Greek word (elkow) means I attract fish into a net. To be fishers of men requires the right bait. Jesus knew the best bait of the kingdom, is the love we show each other and then to others. The meaning of the Greek word “lift up” (hupsow) is “I exalt.” We do exalt Christ through worship. But we also exalt him when we model His love among ourselves. I used to think our worship could somehow draw others to Christ. But that’s plain silly. The world neither sees nor cares about our prayers and sermons. But they would sit up and take notice if they witnessed extreme examples of Christ’s sacrificial love being lived out among us.

What the World Needs to See is love sweet love.  John hits the nail on the head when he says, “How can I say I love God who I can’t see, if I don’t love my brother who I can see.” (I John 4: 18)

Pray with us for this message of Jesus neglected command to be published abroad.