Truth is one of the most intriguing topics of our day. Whether you are debating whose truth is true or denying there is absolute truth, truth is a hot button issue. The "truth"is, we live in a culture which moves further and further toward a total rejection truth. Michael Duduit says it like this: "There is a sense that it is fine for us to sing and pray in our own little 'holy huddles' as long as we don't try to influence the culture or bring biblical morality into the marketplace." Our culture affirms the right to believe whatever you want, but it is a no-no to share biblical truth with our culture. So, where does the gospel fit into this paradigm? Do we have a right to proclaim truth? Is Jesus charge to baptize and preach the gospel to the whole world antiquated?
For most of the later half of the 20th Century there was a general attack on Christianity. Culture began to see the inadequacy of popular mainline religion which required nothing more than attendance and had grown due to a population explosion and not a focus on sharing the gospel. Biblical illiteracy has grown. Christianity's connection with society in regard to sharing the truth of God's plan of salvation was minimal and outreach focused more on social issues than the proclamation of the gospel Social issues are important and should be important to Christians, but without the truth they are just good deeds and lack the witness and reason for reaching out; our response to Jesus call placed on our lives and His salvation freely given to us.
In the post modern world of today, our culture has replaced truth with tolerance. Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Community Church in southern California and author of the popular book "A Purpose Driven Life" says this: "Because preachers are called to communicate truth, we often mistakenly assume that unbelievers are eager to hear the truth. They aren't! Unbelievers aren't that interested in truth these days. Today people value tolerance more than truth. People complain about crime, drug abuse, the breakup of the family, and other problems of our culture, but they don't realize the cause of it all is their rejection of truth. Moral relativism is the root of what is wrong in our society. But it is a big mistake for us to think that unbelievers will race to church if we just proclaim 'We have the truth!' Their reaction will more likely be, 'Yeah, so does everybody else!'. Proclaimers of truth don't get much attention in a society that devalues truth." Absolute tolerance has become the moral standard. And I fear the mainline church has lost her ability to be a prophetic witness to the truth of God' love shown to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
So, where are we in the midst of this cultural truth debate? It is impossible to turn the clock backwards and the communication of the gospel needs to be reinterpreted for today's culture. But I believe that doesn't change our call. We do have a right to proclaim the truth of the gospel. People are seeking truth. People are looking for a way through the chaos. People are searching for a foundation and the Truth of Jesus is what they are searching for even if they do not realize it. The gospel can never be antiquated because the message it bears for humanity is God's redeeming sacrificial love for us. This is not time sensitive. This is an eternal truth. Tolerance is not a virtue when it is at the expense of truth. Which is worse; being tolerant and watching a world die without hope or sharing the truth of God's redeeming sacrificial love respectfully and with humility to a world searching for truth?
Just some thoughts - Pastor Scott