Friday, November 20, 2015

We Must Not Sacrifice the Truth for the Sake of Unity

The church is this country is largely in disarray. One of the primary reasons for this is its turning away from the truth in the name of unity.

If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I'm actually a proponent for unity within the body of Christ. In part because of this I acted as editor of Simple Church: Unity Within Diversity.  Since Jesus Christ is for the unity of his church, I'm for the unity of his church. It's that simple.

A massive problem within the church today is that some local bodies have sacrificed gospel truth for the sake of unity. Numerous denominations (see the Episcopal Church, the PC-USA, and the UCC for examples) have either watered down or outright rejected biblical teachings on the truth of the good news. They desire togetherness over truth. They are full of unregenerate people who see no need for repentance and faith. The cross is an offense to them.

Other bodies of believers, while not rejecting the gospel itself, have caved in on other issues. The two most common are women pastors and homosexuality. These folks have given in to secular culture, letting outside political pressures make decisions for those inside the church. This is all done in the name of unity. I call it cowardice.

Christianity is a belief system based in facts. It is true. Facts and truth are not popular today since they are so offensive to so many. Political correctness wages a constant war against any metanarratives, crying and whining about anything resembling absolute truth. Because of this, many who claim to follow Jesus have turned from the truth.

Despite this cultural nonsense, truth and facts stand the test of time. We learn these facts primarily in one place: the bible. Truth is a stream that runs throughout the pages of scripture. Psalm 86:11 says, "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name." Psalm 119:160 tells us, "The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever." Later in this book we read, "The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth" (Ps. 145:18).

In Proverbs 12:19 we learn, "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment."

What about the New Testament? Did those writers care about the truth? Let's see if we can find any examples:

"So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, 'If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free'" (John 8:31-32).

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6).

"You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" (Gal. 5:7).

"Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ" (Eph. 4:15).

"Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth" (I John 3:18).

Truth does not change. God's facts do not change. In order for us to embrace Jesus Christ, we must embrace his truth and facts. Even while society wars against the very idea of truth, we must stand firm. We cannot bend either to increase perceived unity within the body or to coddle a politically correct Thought Police.

I will admit that the church, at least in this country, has a tendency to divide over some nit picky and/or stupid issues. Many reasons Christians separate are of no consequence. This needs to stop. However, what also must stop is the sacrificing of truth, especially gospel truth, for the sake of unity. The consequences of this failure are eternal.

In John 18:38, Pilate famously asked our Lord, "What is truth?" Our society is asking that same question today. However, it is not seeking an answer but rather making the massive (and ironic) truth claim that truth itself does not exist. We must reject this notion. Salvation depends upon it.

4 comments:

Arthur Sido said...

Permitting women as elders is the gateway drug to homosexual normalization.

Aussie John said...

Eric,

Absolutely! And as John 14:6 says, Jesus Christ IS the truth!!

Tim A said...

I see 2 barriers to unity among believers.
1. Institutionalism. The belief that every church must have a brand name that separates itself from other institutions.
A. Believers are separated from their sense of being members of the one church Jesus is building. Now their focus is on an institution with a brand name and a set of mostly external objections to other institutions.
B. Every institution is now competing for giving dollars to build primarily their local facilities and Bible expert dependency.
The devil has tried institutionalism to protect unity for the Mormons, Muslims, etc, and it doesn't keep unity there either. Jesus is after real unity on the heart level focused on Him.

2. Clergyism - The belief that every local group must have at least one hired expert. He will be seen as the solo local shepherd. He will funnel God's will to the dumb sheep. He will maintain the sheep on a dumb level so they are rarely able to articulate truth to others. Very few will ever learn to "speak the truth", much less "in love".

Both these two "isms" severely compromise our ability to grow in truth and unity. We must confront very specifically the false substitutes to truth and unity. We can't "run the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..." until we first "throw off the things that hinder and the sin that so easily entangles".

Kevin Spangler said...

I agree with your post. The main line churches today are throwing out universal principles of the Bible to appeal to people and the convenience of the world. Its no longer about what the inspired Word of God says but its about appeal, mass crowd, money, politics and pleasing people. God help us.