What Is Truth?

June 28, 2019 by Discerning Dad

In John’s gospel, chapter 18 verse 38, an educated and affluent man asks Jesus Christ: What is Truth? Every day, as Christians, we are faced with people at work or in the store or in our own families who have different values that seem to be at odds with the shared beliefs in Christianity. I’m not talking denominational differences within Christianity. We can explore those in another blog. I’m talking about the significant differences between Christianity, Mormonism, Islam, Agnosticism, Atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism or New Age. Christianity through Biblical revelation makes a claim to the truth, one that is logical and reasonable: Jesus Christ is the Son of God and came to save us from our sin.

Whether “religious” or not, every human being has a philosophical way they interpret truth in world; sometimes developed at a young age through church attendance or from the lack of anything spiritual. Sometimes that worldview is developed through the pains and trials of life or sometimes worldviews are developed through perceptions and feelings regarding the world around us. When used to interpret the world around us, post-modern thinkers don’t base their conclusions on logic or reason, but rather on emotion and relative truth. (1) This presents a significant challenge for us as Christians who should approach our worldview with logic, reason, and faith. More often than not, Christians get wrapped up in the idea that nothing outside of Scripture can be true. This is a gross misunderstanding and misapplication of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura. (2)

As a strong example, Romans 1:20 says: “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (NIV) The Apostle Paul is telling us that we should be using experience, logic, reason, faith, and science to evaluate our worldview. Frankly, I cannot comprehend how Christians can be so quick to ignore or discount the reality of science and truthfully, when we do, we hurt the validity of Scripture because science points to God, not away from Him.

Apologetics is a fancy word for the practice of defending someone’s belief or worldview usually in a religious or faith-based context. For Christians, this idea is derived from 1 Peter 3:15: “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (NIV) There are men and women who devote their lives to the practice of Apologetics like Dr. Ravi Zacharias, Dr. Frank Turek, and Dr. Douglas Groothius (grew-ties). Apologetics focuses mainly on answering the questions surrounding our faith. Sometimes these answers are clearly found in the Biblical texts, not always. Sadly, apologists spend as much time defending Christianity to professed Christians as they do non-believer. All of these men have written many books including one of my favorites I don’t have enough faith to be an Atheist by Dr. Turek. Dr. Zacharias and Dr. Turek both have significant presences on YouTube, and I’d encourage anyone reading this to take a look at their pages! (3)

When discussing worldviews, many people in the world around us will say things like “you live your truth” or “the Bible is your truth” or “don’t force your truth on me” but these statements cannot be true because truth is not relative to the individual claiming the truth. It is not surprising that the idea of truth has been intellectually addressed and is agreed to by secularists and Christians! Christ himself makes a truth claim in John 14:6-7 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (NIV) Simply because someone doesn’t accept this as truth doesn’t mean it’s false. There are plenty of valid but relative claims! I can make the relative but valid claim that BMW makes a better automobile than Honda, but it is not valid to claim BMW and Honda do not make automobiles.

We’ve seen how Jesus addresses the issue in one verse and in the world of philosophy, we have great thinkers such as Aristotle who codified the Laws of Logic. In the world of science, we have laws of physics and other laws that dictate how the world works. Science and philosophy and their associated laws aren’t in contradiction to God’s law. They work in concert with God’s law because HE is in control!

Ravi Zacharias has a 3-4-5 approach to evaluating the truth worldview and Douglas Groothuis outlines a nine-step approach. Groothuis’ process is a bit heady and hard to comprehend in less 500 words, but Ravi puts forward a fantastic and simple system. Truth is by its nature a claim to exclusivity and Zacharias’ method is a great to way evaluate a claim’s possible validity as a truth.

1. Origin: how does the worldview address (or ignore) the questions of origin? Is it purely based on mysticism or mystery or is there empirical evidence? Has the answer stood the test of time? Has it been scrutinized or heavily examined?

2. Meaning: how does the worldview or truth claim address meaning? Can the worldview answer the question: why are humans here? Why were we made? How and when did we begin to think for ourselves and about ourselves? WHEN and HOW did we begin to question our meaning?

3. Morality: how does the worldview address right and wrong? Can the worldview make a claim on what is right or wrong?

4. Destiny: how does the worldview address life outside of or after the current life? Is there any claim to truth about the afterlife?

Zacharias goes on to affirm that no matter the answers to these questions, they must be logically consistent, empirically adequate, and relevant to shared experience.

“When submitted to these tests, the Christian message is utterly unique and meets the demand for truth. God has put enough into this world to make faith in Him a most reasonable thing. But He has left enough out to make it impossible to live by sheer reason alone. Faith and reason must always work together in that plausible blend.” Dr. Ravi Zacharias. (4)

Chad Roche
Guest Discerning Dad

References:

1- I wholeheartedly hate using this word because it’s a concept that cannot even exist; either truth is true or its not; the law of non-contradiction.
2- This is one of the pillars of salvation from the protestant reformation collectively known as the Five Solas: Sola Gratia (through Grace alone), Sola Fidae (by faith alone), Solus Christus (through Christ alone), Sola Scriptura (by Scipture alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (to God the Glory).
3- RZIM Ministries and CrossExamined.org
4- https://www.rzim.org/read/just-thinking-magazine/think-again-deep-questions

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Watch Your Heart, not Your Words

May 17, 2019

 

Matthew quotes some rather sobering words of Jesus in his gospel. Matthew 15:18 states, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.”

Those words hit hard for me because my mouth is often my biggest enemy. I think it safe to say that most of the time I’m in trouble it’s not because of my actions, it’s because of my mouth. Jesus’ brother, James offers no help. He points out the dichotomy of both fresh water and bitter water coming from the same well.

Cleaning up our language is treating symptoms, not causes. The root of a foul mouth is a dirty heart. There. I said it. I don’t like it, but from my knowledge of scripture I believe it to be true.

We use God’s name in vain because we fail to see him as he is. We ridicule others because we fail to see them as creations of God. Yep. Even the guy who cut you off. Even the sports official who is totally oblivious to the rules of the game. Even the server at the restaurant that is more interested in their phone than your empty drink glass. We make off-color jokes because our brand of holiness is governed by culture, not the plum line of a Holy God.

The worst part about words unwisely spoken is that you can’t reverse the results. You can be forgiven, but poorly chosen words are like a cancer to the soul. They can lie dormant for years but are always lurking in the memory banks of time.

Holy God, forgive us for the wounds unwise words have caused. Cleanse our hearts so that the words we speak build up where lives have been torn down. Heal the wounds we bear at the tongues of others. Amen

https://builtwithgrace.wordpress.com/2019/05/17/watch-your-heart-not-your-words/

No, God Doesn’t Love Abortion, And If You Say So You’re Not A Real Pastor

The Atlantic’s headline writers must have envisioned people concluding abortion might not be so bad if a pastor thinks it’s moral. There is no other reason for the story. It’s certainly not newsworthy.

No, God Doesn’t Love Abortion, And If You Say So You’re Not A Real Pastor

May 31, 2019 By Glenn T. Stanton

The left has been on a frantic jag the last few weeks to get us all to remember just how wonderful and important abortion is. One of the most despicably desperate efforts was a recent New York Times editorial by a particularly infamous late-term abortionist explaining (and this is not a typo) “Pregnancy kills. Abortion saves lives.”

Pregnancy: Very bad. Abortion: Very good. But of course, 100 percent of everyone who has ever existed does so because a pregnancy did what it naturally does and an abortion didn’t. The craziness of this editorial is a dramatic demonstration of just how paralyzed with fear these folks are about losing their cherished right to be free of children.

The Atlantic recently published a less dramatic, but equally desperate, article entitled “A Pastor’s Case for the Morality of Abortion.” Three trigger words here are supposed to create a confused dissonance: Pastor. Morality. Abortion. A case for the morality of abortion by a pastor. We imagine The Atlantic’s headline writers envisioned so many of us concluding abortion might not be so bad if a pastor thinks it’s moral. There is no other reason for the story. It’s certainly not newsworthy.

This pastor, Jes Kast, is not well-known. She is extremely fringe and not particularly influential. She didn’t recently change her position on the issue through dramatic soul-searching. And she’s a United Church of Christ pastor, a denomination that never saw an abortion it couldn’t celebrate. She also describes herself as a femme queer lesbianwho wants us to “queer this sh-t” we call our lives.

She serves on Planned Parenthood’s national Clergy Advocacy Board and talks endlessly about the need to protect “reproductive rights,” as if she’s pro-fertility. She’s not. She’s a woman who’s proudly political even in her choice of lipstick.

Every day I put my lipstick on, it is a form of protest. When Hitler took over and the war was going on women who were fighting back against the Nazi infiltration would wear red lipstick. Hitler apparently hated it when women wore red lipstick. So for me, it’s an act of protest to put red lipstick on.

This is the person The Atlantic chose to make the moral case for abortion. On top of all this, she doesn’t even make a decent case, as if there is one, much less from a Christian perspective. But let’s give her the respect of taking seriously what she says.

Abortion For Any Reason Is Totally Moral

First, she is very clear that she is all-in on abortion. When asked if she perceives any instance under which abortion is immoral, she says definitively, “I don’t. I really don’t.” These are the words of a fanatic. That’s not an accusation, but a fact. She believes that snuffing out the life of a pre-born child is such an inherent good in and of itself that nothing should override it.

Not the abortion of a girl because a boy was desired, which happens by the millions around the world. How does a feminist square that? Not because one has a cruise coming up in six months. Not because the mother just wants to. These and any other reason are more weighty than the life of the child. That is pure fanaticism.

If Kast thinks the above are extremist examples, then she shouldn’t justify abortion by bringing up the rationale of the 12-year-old rape victim, which she does. It’s the reddest of herrings. Tragic as this would be, the extremely abortion-friendly Guttmacher Institute tells us that only 1 percent of women who get abortions do so because of rape and less than 0.5 percent do so because of incest.

But these make up perhaps 98 percent or so of the reasons folks give for why abortion should be legal. According to Guttmacher, 74 percent say they had their abortion because having a baby would dramatically change their lives or because they think they can’t afford a baby right now.

The Jesus Who Allows Whatever I Want

So what is Kast’s theological case?

Most anyone would agree she’s quite creative with scripture. In her rationale, she quotes Jesus saying, “I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.” It’s a wonderful statement from the savior, but you should sit down for her commentary on how this makes abortion moral.

What Jesus means here, she explains, is that “God’s plan for our lives is to actually have a meaningful life with loving contentment and satisfaction.” She continues, “Because of that—because I value life, and I believe Jesus values life—I value the choices that give us the type of life we need.” Claiming that access to abortion is a part of why Jesus came and the abundant life he offers is abhorrent and blasphemous. Has she no shame?

But she’s not done; “When people talk about, ‘Our body is a temple of God, and holy,’ I see that as, I have the right to choices over my body, and the freedom to make the decisions that are right for me.” Apparently she thinks this is compelling. That is the fullness of her case for the morality of abortion. Basically, she is giving the precise rationale for abortion that prosperity preachers give for why God wants you rich.

The True Christian Story Starts in the Womb

What this pastor misses is that which is at the very center of Christianity—Christ Himself. She must know where His story starts.

The Christian story begins with God becoming fully human, not in the Christmas manger, but nine months earlier as a human zygote in the womb of a teenage girl who was not yet married. This is quite a dramatic introduction to Christianity, and it says everything about the morality of abortion for the Christian.

If God enters the world as the smallest of unborn human life, the smallest of unborn human life is very significant indeed. Christianity’s savior grew every day from that moment of his divine conception in Mary’s fallopian tubes, nestling and growing in her womb, never becoming anything more than what he was at that moment—fully God and fully man. Thus, Christianity has always taken an extremely high and unique view of the unborn, more so than any other religion or philosophy. This cannot be overstated.

Our pastor misses that this is precisely why the earliest official collection of Christian ethics and morality—found in the “Didache,” or “Teaching of the Apostles”—clearly states that no one “shall murder a child by abortion, nor kill them when born.” This is in the same list that prohibits adultery, fornication, stealing, murder, lying or speaking evil. (Chapter 2:2) Abortion is immoral.

The First Worshippers of Christ Understood This

Our pastor also fails to appreciate who the first recorded worshipers of Jesus were, and where this all took place. It happens in a very wonderful and intimate place—another woman’s womb. Early in her pregnancy, Mary, Jesus’s mother, goes to visit Elizabeth, her close family member who is also with child. The moment Mary walks through the door of Elizabeth’s home, something remarkable happens in utero.

The child growing inside of Elizabeth, none other than Jesus’s cousin, John the Baptist, leaps with joy at the arrival of his savior. Likewise, Elizabeth reveres the one who is in Mary’s womb. The first worshipers of Jesus are a pregnant woman and her unborn son. The womb and its natural bounty are very sacred and fundamental parts of the Christian tale.

Thus, no pastor can remain faithful to the belief system he has supposedly dedicated himself to serve, teach, and proclaim, yet dismiss the inestimable value of life in the womb from the moment of conception. A life exists there because God delighted in creating and sending that wholly unique life into the world as a gift and blessing. A life that bears God’s very image and likeness.

People who contend that ending life in the womb is moral have made themselves God, telling Him they reject His gift and know best. They have denied who Christ was and became. It is to dismiss the wonder of His own history and essence. Any pastor who teaches this has denied the center of his own faith.

This pastor says she follows “this guy named Jesus who said, above all … love your neighbor as yourself.” She believes protecting so-called “reproductive freedom” and “women’s health” does this. She refuses to appreciate that the unborn is the most vulnerable of neighbors that lives right under a mother’s heart.

There is no moral, Christian case for abortion. And there’s no space in Christianity for pastors, in direct violation of the Lord’s apostles , who teach that there is.

Glenn T. Stanton is a Federalist senior contributor who writes and speaks about family, gender, and art, is the director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, and is the author of the brand new “The Myth of the Dying Church” (Worthy, 2019). He blogs at glenntstanton.com.

Photo keskieve / YouTube

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Christianity, NC, the Mecklenburg Resolves and Freedom

By Dr. Mark Creech – May 19, 2019

Rev. Benjamin Morris was a Congregational minister, who lived from 1810 to 1867, pastored churches in Indiana and Ohio, and other places. When his health failed, he retired from ministry and moved to Washington, D.C.

Morris developed a deep concern that America was drifting from her spiritual moorings and spent a decade writing Christian Life and Character of the Civil Institutions of the United States. 

Morris’ book, which has been reprinted by American Vision, is 1060 pages of masterful documentation showing, as Archie P. Jones, says in the Forward, that:

“it was Christianity – not paganism, ‘religious neutrality,’ or secularism – which produced freedom and justice in the West and in America…He sought to give Christians and Americans a true vision of the hand of the Lord in our history and of the crucial, foundational place of Christianity in our civil government and public life…for the good of the people of the nation, for the cause of Christ, for the future, for Christian liberty and justice, and for the glory of God.”

One section of Morris’s work succinctly records the colonial history of North Carolina and the basis of her institutions on Christianity. He charts the movement of fugitives from Virginia seeking refuge from the “rigid, intolerant laws of that colony, which bore so heavily on all that could not conform to the ceremonies of the established Church” to the “Scotch-Irish Presbyterians, who formed so large a proportion of the people of North Carolina, and molded its religious and political character…”

Morris writes:

“The religious creed of these Christian immigrants formed a part of their politics so far as to lead them to decide that no law of human government ought to be tolerated in opposition to the expressed will of God. Their ideas of religious liberty have given a coloring to their political notions on all subjects – have been, indeed, the foundation of their political creed. The Bible was their text-book on all subjects of importance, and their resistance to tyrants was inspired by the free principles which it taught and enforced.”

Morris sites, as an example, the instructions given to the delegates of Mecklenburg County:

“which constituted the celebrated Mecklenburg Convention of North Carolina convened in 1775.”

The delegates were instructed to “assent and consent” to the Christian religion:

“as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament…to the exclusion forever of all and every other (falsely so-called) religion.”

Morris writes:

 “This political paper declares that the people of North Carolina believed the Bible, and from it drew their principles of morals, religion and polities. To abjure the Christian religion would have been, with them, to abjure freedom and immortality. They asserted in every political form the paramount authority of the Christian religion as the sole acknowledged religion of the state and community.”

During the Mecklenburg Convention, which met on the 15th of May, 1775, delegates also learned of the battle of Lexington, which precipitated the Mecklenburg Resolves five days later on May 20th.

The Mecklenburg Resolves would later become to be known as the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. Its claim to fame is that it was the first declaration of Independence made by the Thirteen American Colonies during the Revolutionary War period. It was written a year before the United States Declaration of Independence.

Its original copy having been lost in a fire, the existence of The Mecklenburg Declaration is contested by some. But in 1829, the state legislature ordered a select committee to investigate and settle any controversy surrounding it. The committee heard compelling testimony from eye-witnesses who were said to be men beyond reproach. Many of these men were decorated Revolutionary War heroes, and two were ordained, Presbyterian ministers.

Although not acclaimed as it was by earlier North Carolinians, the state still recognizes The Mecklenburg Declaration. Its date is on the state flag and state seal. Its story was at one time printed in elementary school books and taught in public schools. Moreover, in 1881, the North Carolina General Assembly made May 20th a legal holiday to commemorate the Mecklenburg Declaration. Presidents William Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Gerald Ford visited Charlotte to participate in “Meck Dec Day” celebrations.

Morris contends that the Mecklenburg Resolves were:

“a noble monument of the patriotism and piety of the people of North Carolina.”

Morris writes:

“The colony of North Carolina is particularly distinguished for the large number of able and patriotic ministers who were diligent laborers in the fields of intellectual and Christian culture and in sowing broadcast the seeds of liberty and of future independence…These men were the pioneers of freedom and independence, and in all the measure preparatory to the coming revolution they were the foremost leaders.”

Monday, May 20th, marks a historic day for North Carolina. North Carolina was first in freedom. And is it any surprise that the religion of the Great Emancipator, Jesus Christ, would be at the heart of it?

As seen here at Christian Action League of North Carolina. Posted here with permission.

 

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