Declarations are a dangerous thing.
When Jesus declared “I am the way, the truth, the life” it ended up getting him killed.
When Martin Luther made his declaration by nailing the 95 theses (specific declarations of Biblical truth that countered the beliefs of the religious establishment of his day) to the Wittenberg door it brought the full force of politics and religion againist him.
Whitefield, Wesley, Spurgeon, Moody and many, many other key Christian leaders who made powerful and clear declarations got into a lot of hot water with the big dogs of their day.
As a matter of fact church history is littered with the corpses of martyrs who spoke the truth and suffered emotional distress, verbal attack, ministry exclusion, physical battery and even execution.
The green grass of theological orthodoxy that we stand on as believers in Christ has been watered by the blood of the martyrs of the early New Testament church and the blood of Christ himself.
What’s my point? Don’t pee on the grass.
I was talking to a seminary professor not too long ago who was going on and on about how evangelical Christians are arrogant in their theology because of their unflinching boldness in proclaiming truth as truth to a postmodern culture that doesn’t buy it. He waxed eloquent on how we as Christians need to deconstruct our theology and start questioning our time tested theological grid (AKA “the creeds of our faith”). He preached a “humble theology” of deconstruction instead of the “arrogance” of proclaiming “Thus saith the Lord” in a world that rejects the entire notion of absolute truth.
I reminded him that peeing on 2,000 years of church orthodoxy under the guise of “relevance” is even more arrogant.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe that we need to preach the truth drenched in humility and love. Too many times too many Christians are like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time that “swallow a camel and strain out a gnat.” They focus on the letter of the law and leave out the Spirit of the Lawgiver. They focus on the creeds to the exclusion of the people. They preach every doctrine (major, medium and minor) as if they’ve been to heaven, asked Jesus about his view on all of the subpoints of all these doctrines and came back with the answer sheet.
Nobody likes a Pharisee.
But heretics are just as bad.
Check these passages out:
“Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jude 3
“Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene.” 2 Timothy 2:14-17
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” Acts 20:28-31
The age of the apostles was filled with false teachers that were attacking the faith of the early Christians from within and without. These attacks ranged from a requirement to add circumcision as a prerequisite for salvation to the propogation of a belief that “deeper knowledge” of God was gained through ritual, mysticism and community (hmmm). The entire book of Galatians was about attacking the “cut first ask questions later” heresy and 1 John was totally about the second group of hairy tics.
When entire books of the New Testament are dedicated to attacking heresy and helping Christians think clearly about truth then you know that theology is important to God. If God inspired the Bible then his priorities are articulated in the words of Scripture. And the words of Scripture (especially the epistles) deal with the importance of guarding the faith against false teachers again and again and again.
There are those in our midst right now who are tearing the very foundations of our Christian faith under the guise of progressive thinking and cultural relevance. They say they love Jesus but mock the body of truth that the Spirit of Jesus delivered through his disciples.
Why do I tell you this teenager, youth leader, pastor or parent? Because truth matters. God’s Word matters. In a postmodern world full of fuzzy, futile thinking we have the truth of God’s Word that can deliver us and others from it. The very word “repentance” means “a change of mind.” We need to help everyone around us change their thinking about who God is, how salvation is received, that Jesus was truly God and fully man. We need to do this in love, humility and the power of the Spirit, but we need to do it.
As for those who are distorting the truth while pretending to have “a conversation” I love you but please get off the lawn. You and your bodily functions are grossing us all out.
And for those of you who love the truth, take off your shoes and socks. Let the grace green blades of his truth go between your toes and cool your feet. The field of faith that has been “once and for all delivered to us by the saints” is beautiful and refreshing.
Just watch out for the brown spots.