As we close this short series on Doctrine during the Christmas season it’s only fitting we speak on the Word of God becoming flesh. Jesus was born as the incarnate Word of God. It is all about Him! Our ability to know and teach right doctrine will be commensurate to our level of intimacy with Jesus. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life (Jn 14:6). In our world and in our pulpits there is a war taking place as to what constitutes Truth; we as believers better get it right.
Have you ever considered the extreme contrasts found in John 8? On one hand we have the familiar verse of knowing the Truth and being liberated by it (John 8:32). We then see Satan mentioned as the one who is the father of all lies with no truth abiding in him (John 8:44).This conflict and tension is manifesting itself in full measure in today’s world. The term “fake news” is being injected into the daily discourse of life but who really is its author? Does this have any relevance to the church?
The origin of fake news can be sourced back to the Garden of Eden. God spoke “Truth” with regard to the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:16-17). Satan wasted little time in seeking to redefine God’s truth (Gen 3:4-6). The sobering reality is this; man bought into the lie resulting in devastating consequences. Is this still happening today?
The danger of a virtual world is that perception can become the new reality. A good example of this can be seen in the current USA political scene. The recent presidential election is still being contested on the unsubstantiated claims of a certain country’s hacking into the USA election process. Almost all news agencies coupled with government officials are stating that this is truth. The average consumer of news quickly comes to the conclusion that this is the truth even though there is no evidence to support the allegations. This perception of truth has now become the new reality! There is significant risk of civil and or international unrest if this is taken to its length.
This article is not intended to be political but rather make the point as to how truth has been redefined in today’s culture. Is this also taking place in our churches; is it possible that the enemy is establishing a dangerous narrative in redefining the absolutes of God’s moral Law and Ways? The stated words of Isaiah should serve as a wake-up call:
Isa 59:14 And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.”
What do we do with the Truth? One of the keys to David’s success was his willingness to be transparent before God; he allowed God to search his heart for anything that would defile. He understood that God desired truth in his inward man (Psa 51:6). What about us; are we willing to acknowledge and embrace the truth or will we find ourselves susceptible to some of the “fake news” narratives found in modern day teachings and doctrines.
Let us not forget the tactics employed by Satan in his overtures to Eve. He minimized the consequence of sin (Gen 3:4) while presenting the tree in a sophisticated and appealing manner which was at variance with what God had established (Gen 2:16-17). He presented Eve a shortcut with the promise of becoming like gods if she would only subscribe to his narrative (Gen 3:5-6).
How do the tactics of Satan play out in the modern church? How does he go about redefining the absolutes of God? One of his greatest targets is God’s Law as seen in in his very first words to Eve (Gen 3:1). In most cases it is not blatant but rather subtle playing out over the course of time. Do not underestimate the long term objectives of the evil one; he will take his time by chipping away at the absolutes of God’s Law one small step at a time.
In the late 1950’s many Americans began to express outrage as to how music was beginning to influence society. Music became a medium whereby messages of free love, rebellion, liberation and self-expression began pulsating against the fabric of morality. The introduction was subtle by modern day terms but over time gained traction resulting in the transforming of culture. That which was forbidden and taboo has now become acceptable. Does this sound familiar; is this not what took place in the Garden of Eden?
Let me illustrate this by two songs that were popular in the late 1960’s. “I fought the law and the law won” by the Bobby Fuller Four and the song “Indiana wants me” by R. Dean Taylor. Both songs speak of rebellion and wrongdoing but in the end justice prevails. What can be wrong with that? It was ok having these songs marketed because the overriding message was that crime does not pay. My how things have changed as we fast forward 50 years since these subtle music changes began to take root. Can you think of any song that honours justice and proper law enforcement officers? Now it’s all about killing and demeaning the men and women of law enforcement. The same trend can be seen in sexuality and other forms of lawlessness. Our culture has been totally redefined as the prince of this world has been allowed to cast his spell upon a fallen world. What then does this mean for the church?
The subtle chipping away at God’s moral Law is no different. Things that would not have been tolerated from pulpits just a few years ago are now deemed acceptable. Allowances are being made in the church to accommodate the cultural narrative that is defining today’s world. This is oftentimes achieved through doctrines that discover “loopholes” or exceptions that opens the door for greater lawlessness. You will often hear terms like making judgements on challenging issues on a case by case basis. That may sound good and non-threatening at the beginning and there are situations where this happens but don’t forget those songs above? All the enemy needs is a breech in the wall of God’s protection (Law) to begin to influence and change the narrative. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil is soon presented on his terms (Gen 3:1-6). Where are the priests; where is the Fear of the Lord?
Pro_24:21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
Mal_3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
The father of lies even approached the Lord with the Genesis 3 approach after his forty days in the wilderness (Math 4:1-10). He offered the Son of Man an easier way that would circumvent the way of the Cross. Jesus subscribed to His Father’s narrative by responding each time with the following words; “It is Written.” The Word of God defined His ministry and His doctrine (John 7:16). The nearer Jesus came towards His destiny with the cross the fewer the people who actually followed him. Sadly, history is indeed repeating itself.
Today’s cultural landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. How does the modern Christian adapt and remain relevant in light of these changes? The prince of this world is hard at work in creating a narrative of perceived truth that many in the church are buying into. What Isaiah saw in his day amongst his people concerning the failing of truth is taking place today. God will allow delusion and deception to come upon those who do not have a love and embracing of truth (2 Thes 2:11, Math 24:24).
Now more than ever the call is to be that man, that church that will stand in the gap and be valiant for Truth; to be a voice that brings clarity in the midst of confusion and “fake news” narratives. So then what is the key in coming to know Truth? Let’s go back to John 8 for our answer!
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
|The plumb-line of God’s Word is the standard that will enable us to know and stand for Truth.|