Monday, June 30, 2008

The Problem with Truth

There are at least two problems with truth for those who despise, disdain, and reject it and one problem with truth for those who love, receive, and proclaim it: for those who despise, disdain, and reject truth, it is too clear and too convicting. For those who love, receive, and proclaim truth, it is costly. "But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them" (Acts 5:33).

"When they heard this"; there was no ambiguity or uncertainty about what the apostles were saying. The Council heard and understood. The problem with truth is its clarity. Jesus said, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed” (John 3:19-20).

Truth is clear – too clear. People do not reject truth for intellectual reasons but for moral reasons. Truth reveals and condemns sin. Therefore, “everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.”

This is why men would rather have ambiguity, mystery, and uncertainty - all attempts to overcome the clarity of the light that shines from truth - so that they will not be seen as either anti-intellectual or immoral.

"They were cut to the quick"; the Council was exposed by the light of the truth and it was very painful to them. Men are not cut to the quick through ambiguous, mysterious, and uncertain concealings but by clear and convicting revealings. Light (truth) reveals and darkness (falsehood) conceals, therefore only truth can convict.

Rather than plainly preaching God’s Word in a way that unleashes the power and truth of it, many of today’s church leaders try to “package” the message to make it subtler and more appealing to the world in order to remove its offense – its conviction. The most compelling question on the lips of these many false prophets who have gone out into the world and speak as from the world is not “What’s true?” but rather “What works?” Evangelicals these days care less about theology than they do about methodology. Truth has been replaced by pragmatism and earnestly contending for the faith once for all handed down to the saints has been replaced by earnestly contending for cultural relevance. That is why pagans and unbelievers and servants of the devil can sit through church services these days without ever being cut to the quick. They are never under the conviction of the truth because the truth has fallen in the streets.

"And intended to kill them" - the Council heard and understood what the apostles were preaching because truth is clear and they also were cut to the quick because truth is convicting. Since the truth was clear and convicting and the Council did not want to come to the light unless their deeds were exposed, they were going to attempt to overcome the light by extinguishing its primary source at the moment - they intended to kill the apostles. Truth causes problems for those who love, receive, and proclaim it - they are persecuted for the sake of righteousness/truth.

Truth is clear, truth is convicting, and truth is costly.

2 comments:

jonny said...

"Evangelicals these days care less about theology than they do about methodology."

This is most clearly demonstrated in the literature that is produced by the evangelical church today. It seems that historically the church produced more theological literature. In a Christian bookstore today one is hard pressed to find a contemporary theological work among the mountains of books about the latest method of church growth or the latest insights into how to be relevant in the culture. I think that methodology has become contemporary theology. If humanism is the driving force, then methodology must necessarily be its theology!

The Spokesman said...

jonny: In a Christian bookstore today one is hard pressed to find a contemporary theological work among the mountains of books about the latest method of church growth or the latest insights into how to be relevant in the culture. I think that methodology has become contemporary theology. If humanism is the driving force, then methodology must necessarily be its theology!

Bull's-eye! Since methodology flows from theology you cannot separate the two. There are some today who claim that you can hold theology tight in one hand and methodology loose in the other. That is a false dichotomy.