As Christians, we possess a firm belief in absolute Truth. I spelled truth with a capital “T” to distinguish it from the relativistic notion of personal and private “truth” that is so popular in our post-modern popular culture. The great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards, defined Truth as “the consistency and agreement of our ideas with the ideas of God.” Thus Truth is objective, universal and constant. Truth applies to all people, for all times, in all places.
Evangelicals have no problem with the preceding paragraph, that is, until they attempt to apply God’s Truth to our public lives. Take marriage for example. We believe what the Bible teaches about marriage between one man and one woman. But when we are engaged in public policy debates about same sex marriage, we often privatize God’s Truth as if it only applies to those who happen to share our Christian beliefs. We compartmentalize our beliefs while we capitulate to viewpoints that openly contradict with Truth. To make matters worse, we keep telling ourselves that our compromise of the Truth is compassionate, kind and gracious.
I was recently reminded of just how prophetically accurate the words of the late Francis Schaeffer are to our times. In his best selling book, The Great Evangelical Disaster, he pinpoints the source of our cultural deterioration. He writes, “Here is the great evangelical disaster — the failure of the evangelical world to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this — namely accommodation: the evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age.”
The first compromise comes in our handling of the Scripture. He writes, “many who call themselves evangelicals hold a weakened view of the Bible and no longer affirm the truth of all the Bible teaches — truth not only in religious matters but in the areas of science and history and morality.” And I would quickly add government and public policy to this list.
When we lose our confidence in the authority, inspiration and integrity of God’s Word, we lose our courage to stand boldly for truth in the public arena. We have witnessed the slaughter of over 60 million unborn babies since abortion was allowed. We have seen marriage “re-defined” to accommodate same-sex unions. We are currently witnessing an open assault on sexual ethics and gender. Sadly, much of this cultural transformation has been promoted and celebrated by those who claim to love Christ and His Word.
And as Schaeffer warned, this accommodation has been costly. He writes, “We must say with tears that it is the evangelical accommodation to the world spirit around us, to the wisdom of this age, which removes the evangelical church from standing against the further breakdown of our culture. It is my firm belief that when we stand before Jesus Christ, we will find that it has been the weakness and accommodation of the evangelical group on the issues of the day that has been largely responsible for the loss of the Christian ethos which has taken place in the area of culture in our own country over the last forty to sixty years.”
It’s time to stand for Truth.
For the glory of God and the good of the people.