When the serpent, “that old serpent called the devil and Satan” (Revelation 12:29), tempted Eve to take the forbidden fruit, his first tactic was to question God’s word. “Hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1).
The devil’s tactics have not changed throughout all human history. Still today his first attack is “Hath God said?” Is God’s Word true? It is not possible to overstate the importance and urgency of knowing and believing God’s Word
From the middle of the 18th to the early 20th century Bible Believing Christians were ridiculed by scholars and clerics who aggressively taught that the Bible was simply a man-made book. Unlike their skeptical predecessors these cynics doubted not only the accuracy of the texts, but the authority of those who authored the Bible. “Higher Criticism” as this approach to the Word of God was called, undermined the confidence of millions of professing Christians.
In the middle of the last century, Bible Believing Christians were ridiculed as unscientific and unreasonable. The creation account, Noah’s flood, and the miracles of Scripture were all discounted as moralistic fables. It is noteworthy that even in many of the Evangelical and Conservative Christian colleges and universities, the possibility that “God breathed into man the breath of life” is no longer considered factual.
And today, at the dawn of the 21st century, we are met with the spectacle of “The Emergent Church.” Their leaders have managed to fuse the dominant philosophy of our generation, “nothing is certain,” into a basic theological tenet. For them, “truth is not a destination, it is a journey.”
Their leaders write:
“We are half finished, half-baked, and not driven by the need to find final and definitive answers.” - Jason Clark
“Modern foundationalism, with its emphasis on the objectivity, universality, and absolute certainty of knowledge, is an impossible dream for finite human beings whose outlooks are always limited and shaped by the particular circumstances in which they emerge” - John Franke
“Moving from Absolute to Authentic” - The subtitle of the book Stories of Emergence
“The problem with the critics [conservative Evangelicals] here is that they think they have a superior, timeless gospel that floats above any culture…” - Brian McLaren
Of course we are humble enough to know that we do not possess all truth. We have never made such an outlandish claim. But we do believe that Jesus is “the truth.” (John 14:6).
We reject the notion that Truth is unknowable, for we know Him! He bears witness of the Truth. (John 18:37) Pilate, the same who ordered Christ’s execution, wondered aloud, “What is truth?” But those who crown Christ King know Truth.
While we acknowledge that the life of faith is a journey from the City of Man to the City of God, it is certain that no one will make it to heaven without Him who said, “I am the door!” (John 10:7). Only those who definitely and unreservedly commit to Christ will be saved. No one can be admitted into the City of God who fails to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. He is the Way!
And we reject the idea that since we can never know all the Truth, we should not commit to the Truth that we do know! That would be like saying that since I do not understand calculus I will no longer believe the multiplication tables.
Truth perfectly corresponds with reality, but it is more. It is propositional, but it is also personal. “The Word was made flesh…and we beheld His glory…full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14) “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)
And we believe that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is superior to any and all cultures—American, Roman, Greek, or any other culture on earth. Let God be true and every man a liar. We are Christians first. He is the Life! (John 14:6)
Ours is a generation that would rather discuss all the options than commit to a specific truth or person. We love to talk. We loathe commitment. But it is this unwillingness to commit that lies at the heart of all that troubles our soul—our churches, our politics and our culture.
Leaders would rather waffle than clearly state their positions. Men are afraid to commit to be loyal husbands. Women are hesitant to commit to be faithful wives. Young people are unwilling to commit to virtuous living. Pastors are afraid to say “Thus saith the Lord.” We’d all rather just go along and see what happens than commit ourselves to another person, to a particular choice or to an idea.
Many are hoping that what they lack in commitment they can make up in sincerity. They imagine that so long as they are sincere they will “live happily ever after.” How tragic. When the President Kennedy’s son JFK Jr. was flying his wife and sister in law to Martha’s Vineyard he sincerely thought he was heading for a safe landing but his inexperience cost him and his passengers their lives.
Actually, when we fail to commit or when we justify our lack of commitment we are in fact making a choice. We are choosing to believe that the cost of commitment is greater than the cost of failing to commit. But it is not. When it comes to the most important commitment a person makes—the choice to believe Christ—our eternal destiny is at stake.
Moses urged Israel to choose: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Joshua made his choice: “If it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15).
Elijah challenged Israel to choose: “Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye
between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. (1 Kings 18:21).
Jesus said, “6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)
The Apostle Paul knew that half-hearted commitment would not suffice at judgment. When King Agrippa testified, “Almost thou persuadest me…” the Apostle urged, “I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, (Acts 26:28,29).
If Paul had been an “Emergent Christian” he might have said, “Agrippa, I know you are on the journey so that’s fine. Just keep searching around.”
If Paul had been an “Emergent Christian” he would have written, “I am pretty sure whom I have believed, and I’m sort of persuaded that He is able, to keep that which I’m considering committing unto Him against that day,” instead of “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2 Timothy 1:12
If Paul had been an “Emergent Christian,” he would have concluded his ministry with, “I have struggled with what I should fight for, I think I’ve come quite aways down the track, and I have kept my heart and mind open,” rather than “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).
May God grant that we will not be changed by the wrong-headed, weak-willed, rebellious Spirit of this Age, but that by God’s Spirit we will change the spirit of our Age!