Posts Tagged ‘Truth’

Church Problems

Posted: December 6, 2017 in Blog
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In the last post I considered the Westminster Confession of Faith, and C.H. Spurgeon’s threefold critique of the church. The WCF presented the church as always on the earth to worship God, and the church will be imperfect until glorification at Christ’s return. Spurgeon posited that the three major problems he dealt with in the church were lovelessness toward God, each other, and the lost.

The problem of the church being arranged into these groupings is that in some way there is a failure to recognize that her problems are as myriad and pronounced as there are members of the body. Meaning that the problem of the church is the people. The ministry would be great if it wasn’t for the people! Don’t get distracted by a stupid pastoral pun. It’s equally true that pastors are the problem, because they are part of the church, and are themselves people.

The church is the bride of Christ who is flawed, but who gathers for the sake of worshiping in Spirit and in Truth. This corporate worship exists for many important purposes, one of which is consecration, meaning that gathered followers of Christ are being transformed from one degree of glory to another, in turn bringing glory to Christ. We gather to grow as a corporate whole, and individually; we gather for the glory of Christ; we gather as the redeemed who are not yet glorified; we gather as the imperfect & flawed bride, whom Christ accepted and loved.

This imperfect gathering of Christ followers looks to the hope of future perfection reveling in the promise of heavenly glory. We seek to mature in Christ, build one another up in love, for the glory of Christ.

It is much easier to point out the problems of the church rather than deal with your own issues. Really, who wants to gather with the church to hear about their faults? Gatherings in Christ are  not for the sake of paying penance or expiation for weekly misdeeds. Nor is it for the sake of merely gaining information. An important purpose in gathering is for hearing the Word of God preached, by which the aroma of life creeps into the dark caverns of life exposing darkness to the light. If in Christ wereceive the Word of God meekly implanted it will save our souls, (James 1:21) purifying the spotless bride of Christ, (Ephesians 5:25-27).

Over the next few weeks we will examine our imperfections, taking time to think biblically about the flaws of the church: a want of love to one another; a want of love to souls; and a want of love to Jesus Christ.

While contemplating truth, along with the manner it is held, an important consideration is humility. Understanding an unmovable conviction regarding truth can be expressly humble. Today however, humility is defined  in a manner befitting of one descriptor—arrogant. GK Chesterton gives a superb explanation of such humility.

“It is only with one aspect of humility that we are concerned. Humility was largely meant as a restraint upon the arrogance and infinity of the appetite of man… But what we suffer to-day is humility in the wrong place. Modesty has moved from the organ of ambition. Modesty has settled upon the organ of conviction; where it was never meant to be. A man was meant to be doubtful of himself, but undoubting about the truth; this has been exactly reversed. Nowadays the part of a man that a man does assert is exactly the part he ought not to assert—himself. The part he doubts is exactly the part he ought not to doubt—the Divine Reason… But the new sceptic is so humble that he doubts if he can even learn. Thus we should be wrong if we had said hastily that there is no humility typical of our time. The truth is that there is practically a more poisonous humility than the wildest prostrations of the ascetic…

We are on the road to producing a race of men too mentally modest to believe in the multiplication table. we are in danger of seeing philosophers who doubt the law of gravity as being a mere fancy of their own. Scoffers of old time were too proud to be convinced; but these are to humble to be convinced. The meek do inherit the earth; but the modern skeptics are too meek even to claim their inheritance.”

Let’s not confuse the confounded-humility of today. The humility of man today has an insipid lack of genuine meekness and modesty. Man’s intellectual ability to doubt everything is elevated to the level of divine reason. Humility, right ordered, where one thinks less of themselves than they ought, will produce a healthy doubt in their own abilities; all while producing a healthy conviction of the things of God. Humility regarding the truth is not a doubting of the truth, and trusting in ones own ability to determine such truths, rather it is rightly grasping who we are while trusting in God. We can walk in genuine humility holding firmly to truth and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

truthWhat is truth? Well, truth is proclaimed, it is followed, it is argued about, it is disbelieved, and it is often forgotten. Truth is factual information. Yet it is so much more than just information, it is the real and accurate descriptor of life. Life is oft described philosophically, while truth is more than a mere philosophical abstraction. Truth operates in reality, as reality, and not as the fanciful imaginings of the human intellect. Even so, not everyone seeks the truth. A plague on human existent since the deception in the garden. And not all agree upon the nature of truth—yet another blight on human existence. Even in John 18:38 Pilate asked Jesus this very question, “what is truth?” Demonstrating the conflicting ideas regarding truth.

I know, it seems a little too philosophical, nevertheless, as believers in and followers of Jesus Christ we must be be concerned with truth. Why? Because Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the very essence of reality. He is the one who created everything. He is the one who upholds everything. If we are not thinking about the truth then we are not thinking about Jesus.

Now, this is not a call to dig into old school books and think upon measly information. Nor is it a call to intellectual hardheadedness or philosophic snobbery. Rather, we must dwell upon truth, fixing our minds on Jesus Christ. Jesus is the way the truth and the life. If we want to know truth we must know Jesus. If we want to know Jesus we must know the truth. Followers of Christ are sanctified in truth, and as His Word is truth. Imperative for those in Christ is to meditating upon the truth found in the Word. Truth about ourselves, truth about the condition of man, truth about God, truth about reality; these truths about humanity are founded in Jesus. This isn’t a call to some esoteric exercise for the super spiritual, but a simple plea to seek The Truth.

So what? What’s the point? The point is this — Followers of Christ walk in light of God’s Word. A Christian’s life must stand in concert with the truth of God’s Word, and with The Truth who is God. If the concern for truth only extends as far as our own personal eternity, a warmed over version of the American Dream, without a regard for the destiny of others, then we need examine our self and see if we are in the faith. If our concern for the truth exists in regard to being right, while proving others wrong, then we need to examine our faith. Finally, if our concern for truth is content to allow others to wallow in their error, while fatalistically claiming God will work it all out in the end, then we need to learn by faith to speak the truth in love.

Let’s not get caught up in the debates of the age regarding truth. Rather let’s speak the truth in love. In the end followers of Christ must have a concern for the open statement of the truth. “But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”  2 Corinthians 4:2