John speaks a great deal about sin, the danger of false teachers (anti-Christs), that love for God is not some amorphous feeling but is rather seen in obeying his commands and the fact that the world hates Christ and his teaching. Bishop Curry ignored all of that and spoke as though the Bible was just saying all we need to do is love one another and live lives of love so that we will live in Nirvana. He didn’t mention that we can’t do this without Christ. The gospel is not that we need to follow Christ as the most perfect example of ‘love’. It’s rather that we need forgivenss for our sins and that we cannot love without Christ. If he dared to say what John says, I suspect the reaction to his message would have been somewhat different.
As one atheist tweeted: ‘I admired his enthusiasm but, humans are perfectly capable of expressing this level of emotion and love without any of the 100’s of gods invented over the years.’ And that is precisely the message that the world took from it. You don’t need God. All you need is love. And you are perfectly capable of love. The redemptive power of love in his message was not about the redemptive power of the cross, but rather the redemptive power of any love. Equating my love for my wife, children, friends, society, self with the redemptive love of Christ, takes away from the power of the cross. We preach salvation by faith alone in Christ alone, through the cross of Christ. We don’t preach salvation through our own redemptive love copying that of Christ.
I don’t deny that God could use this sermon to reach people. A sovereign God, who has used a donkey and a pagan king in the past, can surely use even the smatterings of his word that were part of the bishop’s sermon. But we need to be realistic. Nobody heard the gospel – except those who already knew it. Nobody (except evangelicals) is talking about Christ – they are all talking about Bishop Michael Curry and Meghan’s dress. The evangelical response in grasping at the crumbs from the bishop’s table shows how desperate we have become – and how wedded we are to our own culture. We are not walking on the water of our culture. We are drowning in it.