What Is Truth? Tell Me What I Want to Hear.
Pontius Pilate: The Great Question
What Is Truth?
The Truth was standing before Pilate but he had no interest or desire for the answer. This is "true" of the majority of mankind and sadly, such is the same mindset found among many of those who claim to be Christians.
I knew what my subject matter was going to contain but I was struggling with coming up with a title for my blog that would make sense to me and my readers. God "truly" works in mysterious ways: last night and into the early morning hours of today I was literally overwhelmed with a very oppressive bout of depression of which I had not felt for years. Eventually this brought me to recall an event from 47 years ago to the day. As a young Marine, I went home one last time to see if I could find anything that would make living worthwhile. Late on the evening of 9/19/68 a man I greatly respected introduced me to the Truth and I was set free. I was NOT set free from the trials and tribulations that life can bring while in this flesh and on this side of heaven, but the from oppressive weight of sin's ultimate end: the second death.
I was also set free to pursue the Truth embodied in the person of Jesus Christ and clearly taught in His Word. I can "truthfully" say, that I have spent the majority of my 47 years (hey, today is my eternal birthday) in honest pursuit of knowing the Scriptures and grieving over what I see and hear coming from those who should "know" better.
Rick Warren's Definition
Enemy of the Truth #1 - Pragmatism
Webster's super unabridged definition is: "a philosophical system or movement stressing practical consequences and values as standards by which concepts are to be analyzed and their validity determined". My interpretation is; "If it works, it must be right." I am not a Rick Warren fan but he hits the nail on the head with his take as it concerns believers. We live with pragmatism in almost every part of life whether it deals with home, work, sports and personal relationships. The problem with this belief system, it usually comes with a "shelf" life. What worked 20 years ago may not be valid today. For example: hexachlorophene was the staple in hospitals until a study showed that it could cause brain damage or death. It then disappeared from hospital store rooms and was replaced by a less volatile substance. Unfortunately, infections and deaths in hospitals rose sharply and when you see the remote odds of hexachlorophene being a bad boy; I believe most thinking people would take their chances with the old guy. Pragmatism working in reverse.
There is a huge problem with pragmatism when it comes to the Truth as it deals with spiritual matters. The Western "church" has been radicalized over the last 50 years or so by this very seductive philosophy, such as:
- Bigger is better....
- Newer is better....
- Younger is better and so on....
The game is afoot!
Is Bigger Better?
The Illusion of "Bigness"
I have spent the majority of my Christian "church" experience within Baptist circles. They seemly all practice a philosophy of inviting as many lost souls; loved ones, neighbors, co-workers, etc to join with believers for Sunday ?worship?. You ask, what is wrong with practice? Christians alone are encouraged to not forsake the fellowship of believers; why? To encourage one another unto love and to good works. (Hebrews 10:24-25) Some observations of the fallout from not following the Truth are:
- It is a numbers game played by the pastoral staff to validate their ministry by the numbers that walk the aisle to become new believers. It improves their resume' within their denomination. The Word is watered down and it becomes an evangelistic service which starves the real sheep who need the meat of the Scriptures. Did anyone ever notice: shepherds don't make sheep, sheep make sheep. Feed the sheep and you just might end up with healthy growing lambs. A pastor is NEVER validated by numbers but by his faithfulness to his Lord and His flock.
- The extent that churches will go to attract people is also a major detriment to worship. Beautiful edifices which include coffee services, snack bars and yes, even some with eateries. How worshipful we are when in one hand we hold a latte and it the other a tasty pastry. No need for a Bible, the overhead will supply your every need in that department. If someone thinks this honors Jesus; maybe there will be a "Starbucks" in heaven so we will feel relaxed when we are judged.
- Somehow I do not think these incredible buildings are a monument to God but to a "super" pastor. On a given morning when the chief pastor is not present it is easy to note those who are absent. To paraphrase C.H. Spurgeon, he saw a day coming when the shepherds would cease to feed the sheep and be replaced by clowns entertaining the goats. He wrote this in the latter half of the 1800's as he looked around the England of his day. History truly repeats itself and an ocean is no moat for protection from practical heresy in the form of pragmatism.
there is coming a time when bigness will be a very present danger to the real believer. we must worship as if only believers are present and depend upon the holy spirit to convict the few unbelievers that would attend such an assembly. Consistent teaching of the truth is a two-edged sword, either driving them away or drawing them to jesus. this is god's plan, simple and straight to the point.
Versions for Everyone, Gathering Dust
If Newer is Better, Why?
It is amazing to go into a Bible book store and look at the latest hottest Bible versions that are available. Now being a little "pragmatic" myself; I notice that the smallest section with the fewest selections available is the KJV which I hold near and dear to my heart. A Bible which has been the standard for nearly 400 years and the chief tool of missionary societies and bible translators for this same period. I am currently a KJV only for myself, a convert from the NASB. Some of what I find troubling about the new versions are:
- Footnotes in some versions claiming better documentation; not a fact but an opinion.
- Footnotes that stretch the limits of Truth telling, oh, a lie.
- Bibles based on only two extant manuscripts whereas the KJV is based upon 100's.
- One version eliminates one of the words of "fasting" and "prayer" from being in the same Scripture passage.
- The new versions are the most under read bibles as evidenced by lack of memorization due to the new "wordiness" found in many.
- The testimonies of those who put the KJV together are amazing; whereas some of the editorial staff of other versions do not believe in the Trinity and have some other troubling doctrinal issues.
- The only two Bibles that actually are the closest to being "translations" are the KJV and the NASB which due to translation from Hebrew and Greek into English do require some italicized words to complete the passages. Most of the others are paraphrases in one form or another which truly are opinions in themselves.
ask someone who does not use the Kjv to quote john 3:16 and inevitibliltiy they will quote the KJV because they do not know how their version records it.
The Great Lie, The Youth Movement
Caution: Do Not Look Below the Surface
I Was There When It Began
The "Jesus Freaks" as they called themselves, a very clever ploy of the Devil, was the beginning of sorrows for the Church in the Western world. I was there at its inception, I saw it grow almost exponentially and I witnessed it apparently dying out. Unfortunately, the cancer and the damage it left behind is very much with us today; sadly most church goers including pastoral staffs are clueless. It is kind of like a mess left after a big event but this one will only be cleaned up when Christ returns. What did I witness?
- Spontaneity and a lack of decorum replaced orderliness in the services. Our God is a God of order NOT disorder and HE commands worship NOT entertainment. Spontaneity wonderful in the right setting but we have forgotten why WE gather.
- Civil dress and modesty went out the window. I saw less flesh at the riverside when I was in high school than I have seen in too many churches and official gatherings, like weddings. No one is talking about men having to wear a suit and tie, but I find it interesting when a special noted speaker comes to our church, the staff suddenly find their better clothing for this event. I guess the Creator is not worthy of our respect on Sunday mornings. Probably because the unsaved crowd would not come or feel as relaxed in a more respectful service.
- On the heels of the lack of modesty follows promiscuity among the "church" family members. How many out of wedlock babies were born to members or children of members of your congregation in the last few years? I remember the loving freaks of the 70's also believing in "free" love. J Vernon McGee once stated that for the first 30 years of his ministry, he knew of NO pastor falling from grace due to adultery but he knew of 5 who had fallen in the past year alone. (This was years ago.)
- The icing on the cake: the invention of the "youth" pastor. A seminary trained adult who endeavors to never grow up so that he could better identify with his surrogates. Just find the statistics for youth group attendees ten years later and any intelligent organization would know that they have a very inefficient program that needs a major overhaul. There are schools that teach rock climbing, kayaking, camping and the like to fully arm today's youth pastors. The other problem with this movement is that the parents are bypassed and allow the "trained" to usurp their responsibility to their own children. I have nine children and I have spent many an hour deprogramming them after "church". Many of them are now on their own and successful in their own right.