"It [He, the Truth, Jesus] is absolutely Divine"
Have you ever driven and gotten lost? Dumb question on my part, I'm sure. We all have experienced this dilemma at one time or another. Years ago, I fretted every time we had to visit State College or Altoona simply based upon the busy highways and burgeoning population. I hated the thought of getting lost in downtown Altoona (Insert your snicker here). Living in rural Clearfield County and seeing 6 cars go by the house in a day's time constituted gridlock traffic. lol
Over the years I have been brought face to face with my fears having driven around Harrisburg for 4 years while attending seminary, then serving in a small town south of York city for eight years. Route 83 through York introduced us to Altoona on steroids. In time, we made peace with the busy area and learned to adapt. It wasn't easy but it was necessary. Country folk like myself driving in and around major high-traffic areas has always felt like a subtle form of persecution.
Acclimating to new things requires change and change is not something high on our list of treasured events. At least it isn't for me. Speaking from a troubled heart, I share my uneasy feelings about the place we find ourselves in 2021; not only in the church but in our world. Relativism, post-modernism, and pluralism have commanded the culture in which we reside and dramatically have diminished cogent conversations to a degree never thought possible. Or, maybe not.... I often struggle with the following passage.
Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king
of the Jews?” "Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me.
What is it you have done?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my
servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is
from another place.” “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I
am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.
With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a
charge against him. (John 18:33-38, NIV)
The topic of truth is God's domain and it is God that sets the boundaries for it. Pilate pried Jesus for answers and Jesus bluntly responded with truth. God's truth. ("the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.") Pilate snidely asked, "What is truth?" Apparently this new culture of relativism, post-modernism, and pluralism isn't as new as we would like to think. Pilate and the Roman Empire were already deeply ensconced in it.
I have suffered the scars of cultural 'Everests' (post-modernism, pluralism, relativism influences) in my venture through Lock Haven University. More than once in a number of classes, I spoke out on the notion of absolute truth to the guffaws, snickers, and audible groans from my 18-22 year old classmates and more than a few professors. I was written off as a brontosaurus way out of touch with current culture. I was backed into a corner by more affluent, intellectually brilliant, and enlightened folks. I was made to feel shame for my beliefs and often was marginalized the same.
I kept the faith and completed the time of learning at LHU graduating magna cum laude. I held firm to the truth of biblical scripture (which is God's word and not mine). There was at the time of my strained interactions at LHU a veiled attempt to squelch my voice and disallow me from sharing my convictions about something as simple as truth. All this took place on a university campus promoting itself as a place of free thought and expression. Looking in the rearview mirror of my life, I can discern that what was veiled in 1999-2005 toward me has now become full-blown common practice toward classical biblical theology Christians. The voice of biblical truth doesn't exist in many circles of conversation. More accurately, the voice of biblical truth is not allowed to be expressed in many circles of conversation. How did we get here and how have we lost our way? I feel like I am eighteen years old again fretting over downtown Altoona.
Ironically, the vehicle that was and has been championed by liberal arts colleges and universities to promote the notion that there is no such thing as absolute truth and that truth is subjective has brought us into the murky world of 'fact checkers'.
My conundrum in this new place I find myself is to ask the question, "If there are no absolute truths and truth is whatever you want it to be, then how are 'fact checkers' able to discern when someone says something that is untrue. I am struggling here. If truth is whatever you want it to be, does anyone have the authority to question your stance or beliefs? Pilate implemented the first quasi 'fact check' when he asked, "What is truth?" Biblically speaking, there is a place to stand that is fortified by God's truth. To alter it is to diminish or maybe even eliminate the place of standing for conversation. Conversation is in fact eliminated for the greater good of an enlightened society. All to our demise, I am afraid. It is here that I realize with greater understanding the biblical warning of persecution of all believers that has occurred, is occurring, and will occur (Acts 8, Matthew 5, and John 16:33. Among others). Christianity has always had opposition and has endured through 2 thousand years of it. The Church is God's idea and God's entity. God will not let it be defeated since His Son is the Head of the Church.
Which brings me to this resting place for our discussion. Truth is God's doing and the Holy Bible is God's, the truths found there are not ours to reconfigure, twist, or sever for our own stance and devices but they are eternal and stand firm as guides and instruction for a sinner to realize Jesus is the Savior and a transformer of broken lives. Jesus' words to Pilate energize the notion that truth is a thing and he came upon the earth to address it, talk about it, and be the champion of it. His pledge in John 14:6-7 rings true. "Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.
If persecution, silencing, and canceling is my future as a believer in Christ, then Amen...."So Be It". In the words of Joshua:
But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day
whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or
the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household,
we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15, NIV)
”It [He, the Truth, Jesus] is absolutely Divine.
"A Musing Pastor"