All You Need is…What?

15 01 2015

The date is June 25, 1967 and for the first time in history there will be a satellite broadcast to 25 countries. Never before could over 400 million people gather in front of their black and white TV and see the same event in real time. The BBC commissioned one of the hottest British bands at the time and perhaps in history to write a song for the occasion and sing it to the 400 million who would be tuned in.

I was probably one of them, being 12 at the time, a huge fan, and owning a b+w TV. This band, influential to the largest generation the world has ever known (the first generation with a name, known as the “Baby Boomer” generation), was the Beatles. The singer and song writer was John Lennon. The song was, “All you need is love”.
It was rather hastily thrown together, and meant to be an olive branch during the time of the Vietnam War. In fact, it begins with a couple bars of the French National Anthem, historic antagonists of Brittan. The lyrics are rather obscure with very poor grammar but to John Lennon, that was the beauty of it. Wikipedia reports that…”Lennon was fascinated by the power of slogans to unite people and never afraid to create art out of propaganda. When asked in 1971 whether songs like “Give Peace a Chance” and “Power to the People” were propaganda songs, he answered: ‘Sure. So was All You Need Is Love. I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.” He just wanted the phase “all you need is love” or “love is all you need” to stick to people’s sub conscious.

The song ended with couple bars from “Greensleves” and the chorus of one of their first hit songs, “She loves you”. In that production were Rock and Roll giants like Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, Eric Clapton, Graham Nash, Keith Moon. It was a hippie set-up, with long hair, colorful clothes, flowers, and balloons. And the world bought into this revolutionary philosophy. I did.

“Well what’s so bad about ‘All you need is Love’?”…see, that’s what I mean; it was accepted without question because it sounded soooo right. Really? Another John challenges that mantra. The 24th Book of the New Testament supplies to us a response to this widely held viewpoint. He begins his letter in 2 John 1:1-4: “The Elder, To the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.” The Apostle of love teaches that love needs to be tempered by truth. Without truth, love has no restrictions or guidelines. It would be subjective to opinion and without restraint.

Truth is foundational and like many foundations, you can’t see them. It is truth that makes love strong and genuine. It is a common sentiment among believers that doctrine divides and love unites. So let’s forget about doctrine and just love! I mean, all you need is love, right? And that is where error creeps in, no one wants to be critical of someone in error b/c it may be interpreted as being unloving. On the other hand, truth without love leads to coldness, and both extremes need to be avoided.

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