We who call ourselves Christians like to think that we are always on the side of Truth. "You shall know the truth and the Truth shall make you free (John 8:32)."
But in all honesty, we know our thinking is two-sided, contradictory that is. We want the Truth, but we don't want it. We close our ears hearing Truth that challenges our opinions, and we deplore the Truth when a pastor---in particular our pastor-- chooses to speak what he believes to be the Truth in Christ as applied to the major issues of the times.
Our two-sidedness has been going on for a long while; one could even date it back to when Jesus' disciples wanted to have it both ways as Jesus was being crucified.
More recently, our ambivalence toward Chrisitan Truth has centered around Trumpism and the abortion issue. We believe one thing; our minister and other leaders often believe something else.
Can each one of us be right? I think not. The Truth in Christ stands by itself, speaks for itself, and itself directs its application.
Consequently, our so-called Christian Truth has many sides and many voices these days. In fact, we the people probably have more varieties of Truth thrown at us than we could ever possibly count--mainline, progressive, evangelical, traditional, liberal, conservative, moderate --you name it, Truth has multiple expressions in the 21st century.
Meaning we, as individuals within a body of faith, we are in serious danger of losing our ability to discern the Truth that sets us free. And sadly, many among us have given up on even trying. We want Truth to be what WE think it to be.
I know. I am a minister. I spoke from the heart what I believed to be the Truth of Christ the Sunday after January 6. I said, what I saw was "horrible. unchristian. unChristlike; and therefore, unacceptable.!"
Wow! Did I ever get a response. "A preacher should never say anything about politics" was the theme of the bitter criticisms that came my way.
Really now? Does the Truth only apply to our personal relationships? to interpreting the scriptures without application to controversy?
I believe not. The prophets of the Old Testament, the apostles, Jesus himself - they all spoke "against the stream," proclaiming the Truth regardless of the consequences.
Well, "let's be realistic" is likely to be a reader's response. If a minster wants to keep his job, he must stay away from the controversial issues.
So, we often do, avoid speaking to the controversial. We ministers, we usually have families to support; we need a job for which we have been trained and to which we believe we have been called.
Consequently, the Prophetic Voice is spoken all too softly these days, and very seldom really heard.
Many among us "followers" now see the obvious: Christianity has waned in influence over the past two centuries, especially since WWII. The Prophetic Voice is no longer declared in a manner demanding the attention it deserves.
And the world suffers from not knowing the Truth.
--Andrew Pate, Jr., Th.D.
Deecember 26, 2022