One of our regular readers, Stephen, recently responded to my post last week, “What is Truth?”
“But how you (and other socially conservative Christians) commonly define “Truth” in rigid absolute right/wrong terms sometimes pushes me away,” Stephen wrote. “In saying that God’s “Truth” is absolutely clear-cut creates the Todd Aikens of this world.”
Todd Aikens, a former Missouri Congressman, has been an outspoken opponent of abortion in all cases. In 2012 he was defeated in a bid to unseat Senator Claire McCaskill. Aikens made national news with his remark that women who are victims of what he called “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant.
I deny that “Truth” “creates the Todd Aikens of this world!” A quick perusal of his biography tells me that I am not in agreement with many of his theological beliefs. However, what Todd Aikens has said or done does not negate Truth.
“Rather than Truth,” Stephen opines, “I think better words are humbleness, prayerful, always having a spirit of Agape when you may not agree with somebody.”
I agree that as we speak the truth it must be expressed in a spirit of love and humility. The Bible says, “Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Eph. 4:16, ESV).
Truth ought not to be hurled at others in a hurtful, hateful, or harmful way. Speaking the truth does not excuse rude behavior. Ungodly attitudes. Or sinful actions. Jesus commanded, “love your enemies.” Yes, even those who curse you.” Or “hate you.” Or “spitefully use you and persecute you” Jesus said to pray for them. Do good to them. And love them (Matt 5:43-48).
Yet, when we respond to the sins in society in a Christ-like spirit, the Truth still stands! It is unwavering. Uncompromising. And unchanging. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). That sounds pretty absolute!
When Jesus prayed to the Father prior to his death, he prayed for the apostles who would be His spokesmen to preach the Gospel. He prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (Jn 17:17-18).
However, the apostles preaching was not left to chance. Speculation. Or personal opinion. Jesus promised to sent them the Holy Spirit who would “guide (them) into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak” (Jn 16:13) The apostle Paul affirmed that the Holy Spirit revealed the truth, and he wrote it down in understandable words (Eph. 3:3-5).
So, if following the Spirit-inspired revelation is being rigid, I plead guilty!
Stephen further asks, “Could you from time to time, write not your opinion, but stories from our Bible when people of God found themselves having to choose (in society) between what seemed like the lesser of two wrongs?”
First of all, any personal opinions I hold are not the same as God’s Truth. Secondly, I’m having a difficulty with this request. When did Peter, Paul, or John ever write about such a situation? I cannot think of a single scripture where Christians are told to choose between “the lesser of two wrongs.” The New Testament letters constantly admonish Christians to choose right over wrong. Good over evil. Morality over immorality. And Truth over error.
Stephen suggests, “This is not about personal responsibility of our individual actions (which our Bible’s Truth is clear on). This is about interacting in a secular democratic society (that didn’t exist +2K years ago).”
God’s expects Christians to apply Truth to both their private and public lives. While the Roman Empire was not a democratic society, it was definitely secular. Carnal. Corrupt. And grossly depraved. In the midst of that moral abyss Christians are charged not “to be conformed to the world, but be transformed’ (Rom. 12:1-2). In it possible in live in the world, but not be of the world (Jn 17:14-15). To be a good citizen. Obey the rulers. Pay taxes. And live an honorable life (Rom. 13:1-8).
God’s Truth will cleanse our sins. Redirect our lives morally. Order the arrangement our families. Guide our ethics in business. Steer our relationships socially. Provide values for living in a wicked world. And teach us how to respectfully respond to our corrupt post-Christian culture.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
Tomorrow we will discuss the second great commandment in relation to the Christian’s attitude toward homosexuality.
5 responses to “Upholding Truth In A Secular Society”
Thanks Ken. Interacting in a secular world can be very hard at times. It helps to talk about this. Could you chat a little about my example of Peter denying Christ? Peter was forced to “play by Rules” that a secular society had made. In telling the “truth” (under the secular “rules”), Peter would have been arrested and crucified and not been able to accomplish all the great things he did in the Early Church. What can we learn (if anything) on this in a context of interacting in a secular world with secular “rules”? Clearly, Peter found himself between a rock and a hard place.
Thanks, Stephen. I intend to write an entire post on Peter. Thanks for the “fodder” you’ve given me for these posts! I appreciate it. And I hope most of all they are helpful.
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Too many people want to promote Unity over Truth. If this were true, we can be unified in going to Hell. Truth must be first.
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