TRUTH TO TELL--DOESN’T ANYONE TELL THE TRUTH ANYMORE?
“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
The Postmodern culture denies the very existence of True-Truth. The Christian stakes are enormous!
Genesis 3.5 - “You shall become like God.” The great lie!
I Timothy 6.3-5 - “warning against false teachers”
II Timothy 2.23 - “stupid and senseless argument”
Acts chapter 2 (Peter) ; 4.12; chp. 7 (Steven), chp. 17 (Paul) Romans 2.1-24; Ephesians, chapter 6
Three Crucial Questions:
1. Is there salvation in other religions?
2. Is there a second chance after death?
3. What about those who have never heard the Gospel? Is sincerity enough? (Read Acts chapter
12--”No other name”) (Charles Cochrine, Christianity and Classical Culture (1939); thought from Augustus to Augustine.
Taking Responsibility to Understand the Receiving Culture: Four approaches to relating Christ and Culture:
1. Christ against culture.
2. Christ identified with culture
3. Christ withdrawn from culture
4. Christ critically engaging culture
Taking Responsibility for True Truth: The Challenge of Two Broad Ways
1. Other worldliness (world?) God loved the world; “love not the world”
2. Anti-intellectualism (cf. Tim LaHaye, The Battle for The Mind Gathering troops for battle on the intellectual battlefield (Ephesians 6.10ff, “Put on the whole armor;” Romans 12.1,2--constant renewing of the mind; Page Smith, Killing The Spirit, Higher Education in America (Penguin Books, 1990).
a. Simple faith battling secular learning?
b. Satan’s strategy in the battle for the mind.
c. From Bible colleges to the universities.
d. Is the militancy paradigm unhealthy in our articulating the present conflict as cultural waves?
Taking Responsibility to Understand the Bible
1. Biblical foundation for our battle for the mind (I Cor. 10.5) “We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
2. The basic question is not whether, but how? and when? (Eph 6.10ff)
3. Preparation for battle requires that we understand that we are in battle for truth.
4. This preparation requires that we correctly identify the contending parties. If there is a cultural battle going, who are the parties in the struggle?
Taking responsibility to understand that the real battle is between God and Satan. These two are the “absolute” antagonists. If this is true, we must be very careful not to place human groups in cosmic perspective (e.g. Jonah 1.9) Jonah is on a pagan ship headed for Tarshish. Jonah encounters their superstitious practices but he is not afraid to bear witness to his faith. “I am a Hebrew and I fear the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.” The pagan sailors preached a much-needed sermon, that God is always truthful and Satan is always deceptive. Pogo’s proclamation states that “We have met the enemy, and they are us!”
Taking Responsibility to Choose the Right Armor:
We are called to light and God provides armor for the Spiritual Warfare.
1. Spiritual warfare is both inside and outside (Inner Life) Psalms 139.23-24 “Search me and try me.”
2. Many pacifists shun warfare imagery (Oz Guiness, David Wells and Walter Kaiser, et.al., are persona non grata because they do not shun spiritual warfare).
3. Positive fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5.22-23) “Patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” “Be transformed by the renewing of the mind.” Romans 12.2
Taking Responsibility from Mars Hill (Acts 17)
1. Paul knew the Athenian perspective on reality (dialogue includes two stages--listening and responding)
2. Paul probed for evidence of a spiritual quest
3. Paul looked for positive points of contact.
4. Paul invited them to turn to Christ in true repentance (pluralism, inclusivism, exclusivism, syncretism)
How to Fight for True-Truth: Audience Analysis
1. Audience’s view of the knowledge of God.
2. Audience analysis of Romans.
3. Audience analysis of Sin, Salvation and the Resurrection.
4. Audience analysis of the view of the unity of humanity.
Hearing and Seeing Christ (True-Truth) from Mars Hill for our culture seeking True Truth.
James D. Strauss, Professor Emeritus
Lincoln Christian Seminary
Lincoln, IL 62656