How Truth Changes

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
Bible-Finger.jpgAllan Bloom writes, “There is one thing that a professor can be absolutely certain of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.”/1
Will this soon be true of our own children in the Church?
Progressivism in the denominational world seeks to move past Scripture and to be free to find truth in a variety of methods and resources. We see a measure of this growing within Churches of Christ. Progressives, as a whole, do not wish to be restricted from finding truth where ever and in whatever form they desire. Freedom is the centerpiece of their hermeneutic.
A debate raged at a Worldwide Anglican Conference years ago on the subject of Biblical authority. Eventually, the African bishop asked in exasperation, “If you don’t believe the scripture, why did you bring it to us in the first place?”/2
As the culture changes, their truth evolves to match up with the new reality. Accordingly, they try to get Scripture to accommodate the changing views related to the culture.
In the field of ethics, an enormous divergence of beliefs exists between liberals and conservatives.

“A Gallup poll showed overwhelming liberal support for homosexual activity (83%), premarital sex (89%), illegitimacy (83%), abortion (67%) and doctor assisted suicide (73%). Liberals support polygamy, adultery and cloning humans at an exponentially higher rate than conservatives.”/3

This discrepancy can only be explained by differing presuppositions. Why else would there be so much conformity on these issues in such large blocs within these two philosophical views? They are approaching the world with opposing perspectives. They can each look at the same object and see completely different items.
Sadly, progressives are being successful in their methods because many are being influenced into accepting the liberal worldview on ethical issues.
We see the world changing around us, but certainly not for the better. Everyone, it seems, is beginning to do what is right in their own eyes. It was just as destructive in the days of the judges as it is today (Judges 21:25). Except now, the stakes are higher because Christ is our king and if we abandon him, we have nowhere else to go but to Satan.
We must return to Scripture and remind ourselves that God’s Word is absolute truth that cannot be changed. “Forever, O Lord, Your Word is settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89, NKJV).
“The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8).

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

We must stand humbly before God’s Word lest we be “found fight[ing] against God” (Acts 5:39). Accordingly, we must resist every effort to allow emotions to overpower our love for God. Satan is the father of lies and he has an endless supply of tricks to use to pull people from the truth. The denunciation of absolute truth is becoming one of Satan’s greatest ideas.
Whether we will accept the requisite isolation and fall prey to his ploys will depend on how powerful a bond we have with God and his people. We must remain armed with his power (Ephesians 1:19). The spiritual armor of God is our greatest defense (Ephesians 6). Prepare for battle.

_________

1/ Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1987), 25.

2/ http://tinyurl.com/yvykov

3/ Ibid.

12 Replies to “How Truth Changes”

  1. Amen brother Richard. You are chopping at the root of all the other issues we in the church have struggled with. Once the authority of the scriptures have been stripped down to only a doctrine absent shell of what it is meant to be, it then will offend no one. Yes the number of bodies in the assembly may increase but the saved souls decrease.
    What a dreadful plague this is.

  2. Richard,
    Like Steven, I think you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. For the last 20 years as a youth minister and minister I have attended High School Commencements and have heard valedictorian after valedictorian say something along the following lines, “Now that we have finished this part of our lives, we go out into the world to make our mark. As we go, as you go, look for YOUR TRUTH and live true to yourself.” Many times that speech came from Seniors who were members of local congregations of God’s people.
    The idea of a concrete moral absolute is foreign to the world and is rapidly becoming foreign to Christians. We must continue to stand up for God’s truth as the standard of our lives and our eternity.

  3. Thanks, Scott. These kids grew up hearing “Look within yourself” all of their lives. I think it is a law that it must be almost every Disney movie. We have to question our kids and see what they really believe.

  4. It’s a bit scary to think that Bloom’s words are from over 20 years ago! How much more true are they now?
    I’m teaching on of the required Bible courses at ACU this semester. It’s amazing to me to see the biblical illiteracy. No concept of the difference between the gospels and the other books of the New Testament, for example.
    It’s a whole new world.

  5. Tim,
    Great point about how old Bloom’s words are. I have had Bible studies with Christians and almost all of them don’t know where the books of the Bible are. We must do a better job in our homes and churches.

  6. Richard – you say it well in your next to thelast line: that we must have a powerful bond with God and his people.

  7. I think your statement, “We must stand humbly before our God’s Word” goes to the most core level of this issue. In my opinion, the dynamic at work is that while it may be that some are granting relevancy a higher priority and a controlling influence over scriptural content, I am going to assume that they at least want to appear to cling to the semblance of being biblical. This is achieved in many cases by waving the banner of grace, albeit not a biblical flag of grace, but one specially tailored to dismiss normative teachings. But grace does not transform what was previously unacceptable into suddenly being divinely approved. Grace teaches us to conform to godliness. But as long as Self has not died in order to serve Christ, this dynamic certainly won’t change. You are right. There is the need for those who claim to follow God to stand humbly before God’s Word.

  8. Brother Mansel,
    Can you name one “progressive” church of Christ on planet earth whose members espouse these views?
    “A Gallup poll showed overwhelming liberal support for homosexual activity (83%), premarital sex (89%), illegitimacy (83%), abortion (67%) and doctor assisted suicide (73%). Liberals support polygamy, adultery and cloning humans at an exponentially higher rate than conservatives.”
    The far left wing of the Democrat party might, and even some religeous groups but not any “progressives” I know. If you can find one let me and your readers know. If you can’t you shouldn’t lead people to think it is true.
    Royce Ogle

  9. Royce, I write at the beginning of this article:
    “Progressivism in the denominational world seeks to move past Scripture and to be free to find truth in a variety of methods and resources. We see a measure of this growing within Churches of Christ. Progressives, as a whole, do not wish to be restricted from finding truth where ever and in whatever form they desire. Freedom is the centerpiece of their hermeneutic.”
    I am discussing progressivism in general in these articles so we can see the germs of the movement that is in Churches of Christ. You could find people in the church who believe all of these things because they espouse some measure of progressivism.

  10. Richard, I appreciate the follow up.
    I know scores of people who would likely fall under the classification “progressive”. In almost 50 years of working in and with many different Christian groups, including churches of Christ, I have yet to meet even one person who gives any support to “homosexual activity (83%), premarital sex (89%), illegitimacy (83%), abortion (67%) and doctor assisted suicide (73%)” much less “overwhelming liberal support” for those grievous sins.
    Again, can you cite any examples in progressive churches of Christ? Clearly you cannot and again you shouldn’t lead your readers to believe it is true.
    Regards,
    Royce Ogle

  11. Royce, I have explained this already. Gallup did a survey of progressives and their beliefs. I never once claimed that Gallup surveyed only progressives in Churches of Christ. I described what progressivism is. This is where progressives in the church will be headed, like it or not.

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