John Ch8 v32: And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
In today’s society it is hard to discern what is truth and what is in essence lies, only that the phrase lies has been watered down to phrases like post truths, alternative facts, fake news, white lies, an extension of facts all of which isn’t truth but lies but it’s usually what people want to hear / believe as people struggle to accept facts that don’t fit within their thought patterns and because they have a similar set of people in their echo bubble they fail to see the truth (see my previous blog Echo Bubble).
In some instances the truth is being distorted, by people who cannot tolerate people who don’t agree with them. Even people who are neutral on the subject will be subject to a barrage of accusations which causes distress, hurt feelings. As a society we are slowly losing the ability to ‘agree to disagree’ on issues that are not life and death.
Unfortunately scripture isn’t safe from the truth being distorted to suit various peoples ideologies, agendas, tendencies. There are Christians from all walks of life who like to ‘cherry pick’ specific Bible verses to suit their arguments / causes and they will use the same phrase that the serpent used with Eve in the garden of Eden “did God really say that you…….” only the people will say “did Jesus really mean…….” and to counter that argument can be tricky at the best of times.
The Classic example of this is Paul’s letter 1 Corinthians Ch14 v34 in that women should remain silent within the Church, from this some people believe that women are not to hold high level leadership roles within the Church. This particular letter was written to a specific Church community where a group of women were in today’s terms ‘getting above their station’. Throughout the Bible Jesus and Paul used women within their ministries to great effect (the first recorded evangelist was the woman at the well).
In our last Church there was a split in which about half of the congregation left, when we were in the process of leaving the Church the leader wanted to visit the wife and I with the Church elders (this wasn’t going to be social call). We declined their offer with my wife wisely saying that the Bible wasn’t meant for ‘tit-for-tat’ arguments which is how the visit would have turned out. One of the main causes of the Church split was that the Church leader had created a set of ‘non negotiable rules’ (rules that members of the Church had to sign up to), he had cleverly linked them to specific Bible verses but when I was listening to that particular service for the second time and got a crunch in the pit of my gut I knew they were not from God.
So what can we do in our lives to ensure that we are living, speaking and digesting scriptural truth?
- Study the Bible on a regular basis, as we learn and digest the scriptures we will start to instinctively know when someone is ‘expanding the truth’ / ‘cherry picking Bible verses’ for their purposes.
- Fellowship with other Christians and don’t be afraid to discuss issues, remembering to include people who you may not agree with. Remembering it’s ok to agree to disagree on issues that are not life and death, detrimental to the overall Gospel.
- Not being afraid to test or question what is being preached, said in the media or being said in a large group of people 1 Thessalonians Ch5 v20-22: Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
- Pray and seek the Holy Spirit’s counsel.
Thought for the week
When the time comes are you confident that you will be able to stand up for what you believe to be true and be able to back up your beliefs with scriptural knowledge with confidence and conviction?