Saturday, February 25, 2017

"What is Truth?"

As I sit down to write I have a main purpose in mind, it is a hope that in some way I will be able to convey something in this writing that will be helpful to the reader in bringing strength and increase to the graces of understanding and patience.

Though that purpose spans all who might read, I do have two specific audiences in mind. One would be a new believer having most recently come to faith in Christ. The other would be a none-believer of whom an interest has been stirred by some means to the precepts and hopes of Christianity.

The title "What is Truth?" is beyond the scope of the Human mind, it is most frequently a reference to Pilate's sarcastic response to Jesus's statement in  John 18:37, "To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."

But do we not find ourselves as we look into the regions of religion and see so many claims, asking, "What is Truth?" If you are new to Christianity you will soon, if not already, encounter someone with another view of Christianity that assures you that their group knows the truth or has a better understanding than the group you are associated with. If you are a non-believer inquiring into Christianity and have asked more than one person, you also may have encountered multiple persuasions concerning Christianity. So what are we to make of these differences and how should we respond? How do we let these things affect us?

The little country church sometimes reminds us of simpler times in America, and to some degree perhaps so, but I hope we can discover we are not alone in history as we face the plurality of the American Christianity we see today.

I have journeyed nearly 45 years down this road of Christianity, this lends me no credentials other than as the old saying, "Even a blind hog will stumble upon an acorn every once and while" and I have had a while to stumble.

I hope to address some issues directly, effort being made not to be offensive, yet honest and without compromising truth. I do this because I am fully aware of the confusion that error can bring. I am also acutely aware how easily error can be introduced, received, embraced, applied and then diffused. Many if not all the people who introduced error into my Christian thought over the years were loving and sincere people who truly loved God and wanted to please him and help me. And most likely they had received error via the same process, and so it goes. Once error has entered the system, it is almost impossible to remove, for it continues to diffuse itself under color of truth. It travels familiar roads, loving friends, family members, people who influenced you of whom you respect, that have also in many other ways impacted us, making it all the more subtle as it attaches itself to our lives.

By now you may be thinking, making sense of all this sounds like a job for Superman! I am afraid even Superman will have met his match here, for this stuff called error is full of Kryptonite and weakens the truth and its effectiveness.

There is one remedy, but it must be used ever so diligently and with great care.

2Ti 2:14  Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.
2Ti 2:15  Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16  But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.
2Ti 2:17  And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
2Ti 2:18  Who concerning the truth have erred, saying . . .
[and many say many things]
2Ti 2:19  Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

Let me assure you, there is a word of truth, and with effort and care, it can be rightly divided. With this as our guide, let's add another pillar of support to build our confidence.

Jud 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Scripture speaks of a faith that was once delivered to the saints. This once delivered faith is the word of truth from which we derive all our doctrine and practice.  But this is not as easy as it might seem, for everyone, even those in error will attempt to point to scripture and convince us they have the true understanding. The process of rightly dividing the truth is not an easy task for new or old believers, but it is a necessary one.

When it seems even the good guys can't get along in this world, we are tempted to just give up and say with Pilate, what is truth? Who can know it?

I have heard folks make statements like, why can't Christians just get along? Why are there so many different churches? I don't believe we can understand the Bible, even Christians can't agree on what it says!

Here's reality, conflict is a part of life, therefore it will be a part of Christianity as well. To use these things as an excuse to avoid Christianity, or avoid the diligent search of truth is truly an unjust approach and will prove to be damaging to our lives. These things exist because of the nature of fallen man, every area of our lives have been touched by this brokenness. The scripture tells us we are greatly hindered by our understanding, it is weak and feeble. Care  must be taken over time as we work our way through these things by the work of the Holy Spirit and the renewing of our minds to begin to think rightly.   Tit 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Rom 12:2  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

You find a conflict of views in politics, work, family, and even in our entertainment and games, in every aspect of our lives we struggle with our disagreements. But when it comes to Christianity for some reason it seems we expect everyone should just mysteriously have no disagreement or difficultly with understanding. Take courage my friend, these difficulties work for us great benefits and build in us the things God desires in our lives.

2Co 4:17  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;   

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The purpose of this first post is to identify the fact that, yes, conflict exists, even in Christianity. Yes, it is unpleasant, but should not discourage us as we come to understand the reasons for it. As time permits, in the following post I want to examine some of our difficulties and differences and how with work of the Holy Spirit and prayer, the word of truth can guide us through them and give great assurance to our faith. I want us to see that the Gospel is clear and concise throughout scripture, yet there are great  mysteries and depths of revelation to uncover of an infinite God, of His Being and His works of redemption. I want to touch on the concept of solo scriptura. I want to point out some things to avoid and their dangers. I hope you find them helpful as you grow and increase in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,

David