Julia Farmer has graciously accepted the invitation to be a guest blogger. May you find her words as glorifying to God and as edifying to the Church as I have.
Last night before I went to bed I picked up one of my favorite little books and read it again, “How Do You Kill 11 Million People? Why the Truth Matters More Than You Think” by Andy Andrews. Cover to cover, this book is a little over 80 pages in length. A truly powerful and inspiring read that gets to the heart of the matter and leaves you thinking about a little word, truth, a virtue people have believed important for generations. However, within our post-modern, humanistic culture, truth is readily compromised without thought of the consequence. Today, absolute truth is dismissed as harsh, critical, judgmental, divisive, exclusive, unloving, counterproductive, etc. Instead, many in our culture readily embrace the philosophy of pragmatism. What is pragmatism? Simply, it is the idea that “the end justifies the means”. In other words, if the desired result is “A” and not “B” by all means do whatever is necessary to guarantee “A” as the result. The problem, “the whatever” may require compromises, in truth, principle, standards and/or virtue, but to the pragmatist, the means do not matter as long as the desired end is obtained. As a Christian, we know that our sovereign God uses “means” and that we are a part of the “means” HE uses to accomplish His Work. In God’s economy, the means used are as important as the end goal. However, inside the church, there is NO place for pragmatism. Why? Would God have His bondservant compromise truth, principle, right standards and/or virtue to accomplish His work? No. This is not to say that the omnipotent, omniscience, all sovereign God of the universe can not use our sin and compromise in His plans and purposes, HE can, for HE is sovereign (Proverbs 16:1-4), but do not mistake that while our holy God can do this that somehow this justifies sin and compromise in the life of the believer, for it does not. Furthermore, pragmatism simply places the end goal as if the result all depends on man. The Christian has been given faith through Christ, a gift from God, and understands outcomes do not depend on us; they are a part of God’s sovereign plan for the universe. So we can walk by faith, not by sight, choosing the narrow way of truth, principle, right standards and virtue (the means), leaving every end result/outcome to God.
2 Corinthians 4:7, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”
Moreover, truth matters, irrelevant of the popular philosophical, cultural trends and methods that society has turned to, hailing them worthy. You see, truth has fallen in the streets of our culture, being viewed a lesser commodity in application for those who even value virtue, perhaps because there is something they value more than truth. In today’s american-evangelical culture, error is wrapped in lovely Christian paper so it has the appearance of truth; this error is knocking on the doors of our Christian homes and churches; it is being invited in and welcomed; even worse, it is being accepted as the truth, applauded as useful in God’s Kingdom. Oh the irony, while Christians are fighting for absolutes without compromise in political and moral action, when it comes to rightfully dividing the Word of God they are readily accepting almost anything that has the wrappings of Christianity whether it be in books, music, TV, radio or movies. Evangelicals stand together and proclaim, “Abortion is murder. We cannot compromise on life.” I whole-heartedly agree with this statement, but what is its basis? Why is Abortion wrong? Why is murder wrong? Abortion is wrong because all life is knitted together by God (Psalm 139:13) and God declared the taking of life to be murder, the 6th Commandment (Exodus 20:13). Abortion is murder, no matter how small or large the life, how healthy or how sick, whether it is wanted in this world or not, makes it no less a life and no less sacred in the eyes of God. This is a foundational principle of the Christian, biblical worldview, it is TRUTH. Clearly, we do not get to pick pieces out of the Bible and declare this is true and this is not. Either it is all true or none of it is true. The Holy Scriptures are not an experiment on the table of this world to be dissected and remade by men. A man is a fool who thinks he knows better than God.
So, as Christians, are we to listen to fools who think they know better than God or are we to listen to God? Christian, is it man who saves the lost or is it God? If you say God, then why do you not use His sword, His Truth, instead of the cardboard imitation, the opinions of men? The word of God declares in 2 Timothy 3:16,
“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
From Genesis through Revelation, it is the inerrant Word of God for our God is without error; HE is holy, without mark or blemish. Do you believe that God is without error? Do you believe His Word is without error? Then why are you silent, even worse appeasing, when His Word is maligned in error? The duty of man is to proclaim the Word of God in spirit and truth,
2 Timothy 2:15-19, “15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Verse 19 goes on to explain, “19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’”
Our iniquity is our sin; even regenerated with the new man of Christ our battle is sin. The old man wrestles with the new man in Christ. (Romans 7:21-25) Not just the sins of an immoral lifestyle, lust, adultery, promiscuity, but murder, stealing, gossip, sloth, vanity, greed, covetousness, the sin of bearing false witness, which is lying, the sin of blasphemy, so many more. Remember, that which is untrue which may seem small even, bears false witness and when it comes to God’s Word this is no small matter. You see biblical error, even small, leads to the misunderstanding of biblical truth, which can lead to larger and larger doctrinal errors that can ultimately lead a person away from the God of the Bible. Study church history, this pattern is seen from the beginning, a little leaven may go unnoticed, it may even be tolerated and accepted, but it spoils the whole lump. The parable in Matthew 13 uses leaven to represent evil and error, which is at work against truth and all that is good. This is the Christian battle in this world, the truth vs. the lie, evil vs. good. Which side are you on? God instructs us through His Word to rightly divide the scriptures, to defend the truth and expose error wherever it is found, especially when it is found among God’s people. (Jude 3-4; 2 Timothy 4:2-3; Titus 1:13) Again, which piece of ground are you standing? The one, which appeases and flatters men in their error or the one who stands with God in His truth? While politics may have middle ground where there is truth on both sides, there is no middle ground when it comes to the Word of God, there is truth, and there is error. Finally, error must be exposed so the light of Truth, the Word of God, may shine upon it so a hungry, thirsty world may know it.
To conclude, when we rewrite/rethink biblical truth, we replace the Word of God with the wisdom of men. Our culture is filled with the opinions of men justifying their opinions with opinion. For the Christian, what is the standard of truth? The standard is God for God is truth. Without God how would we even know truth or know error? Psalm 31:5 and Isaiah 65:16 tells us our God is known as the “God of truth.” Psalm 33:4 tells us “all His work is done in truth.” Which begs the question; if the work is not done in truth can it be of God? Naturally, the question of motive, heart intent, comes to play, however, the scriptures are clear, God delights in His truth, God hates every false way and God requires His work to be done in truth with a heart motive intent on glorifying Him alone. Let’s take this further; truth can be used to glorify God. Can the same be said of error? Did Ananias and Sapphira glorify God when they lied? (Acts 4:32-37) The consequence for their actions, they died instantly one after the other at the feet of Peter. The lesson in this passage is for the church, then and now. The Bible tells us that God hates sin; this includes lying. His anger burns against the wicked every day, and those who plot evil in their hearts will be destroyed in an instant. (Proverbs 6:12-17; Psalm 7:11) Furthermore, 1 Corinthians 2 tells us as Christians, the Church, to have the mind of Christ. Versus 12-16,
“12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 ‘For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?’ But we have the mind of Christ.'”
Verse 14 instructs us not to teach with human wisdom and when we twist the truths of scripture, leaving things out in the name of political correctness, rewriting the story to fit our desires, our understanding, our opinion, what we are left with is human wisdom, which is foolishness to God. (1 Corinthians 3:19) The truth is, Christians in America would make far better use of their time defending truth with the Word of God, instead of using the opinions of men to make room for error. When it comes to the Word of God, the Word of Truth, truth glorifies God; error does not. You may not like it, but it’s biblical and that is the ground on which the Christian, the Church, the Bride of Christ stands. Amen.