What Is Truth? – An Evangelism Conference Unlike Any Other

January 24th, 2014 Post by

Quid est veritas?We all recognize the question asked by Pontius Pilate in John 18:38, (my Latin students ought to recognize the question as Quid est veritas?) “What is truth?”. Observers of Western culture might note a shift in how the teachings of the Church are being attacked by the world. Where once the Church was challenged on whether our distinctive truth claims, such as the virgin birth of Christ, His atoning death, His resurrection, His return again in judgment, etc., are in fact true. Now, many attack the Church as arrogant, ignorant, or elitist for claiming that we have the truth, that we claim that other “truths” cannot also simultaneously be true, and even that we believe truth can be known at all.

This is a real threat to the faith of all Christians, particularly those of the younger generations whose peers have absorbed ideas about truth that run counter to Christian truth claims and the heritage of Western civilization in general.

The Wyoming District of the LCMS annually holds their “Tell the Good News about Jesus” convocation, a two-day event both for pastors and for laymen, to equip the saints to speak in an informed and loving manner about the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This year the convocation is being held January 31 – February 1 at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Casper, Wyoming, and the topic is “What is Truth?” Here’s a list of sessions:

  • SESSION #1—Rev. Matt Richard
    How does truth affect worldview, language,
    and emotions?
  • SESSION #2—Rev. Kenneth Mars
    What science can teach us about a good and
    gracious God—and what it can’t
  • Banquet—Rev. Matt Richard
    How do Christians evaluate truth claims that
    compete with their own?
  • SESSION #3—Mr. Jim Pierce
    What can the atheist know about God?
  • SESSION #4—Rev. Matt Richard
    How does absorbing a new truth affect how a
    person views reality, speaks, and feels?
  • SESSION #5—Mr. Jim Pierce
    My personal journey from atheism to
  • SESSION #6
    Guided panel discussion

Regular readers of the BJS blog might note that two of the presenters are Rev. Dr. Matt Richard and Mr. Jim Pierce, both contributors to this blog, and the guided panel discussion will be moderated by Rev. Joshua Scheer, associate editor. Rev. Kenneth Mars, who is presenting about what Christians can learn about science, is a pastor within the Wyoming District and has a background that enables him to speak with some authority on his topic.

The convocation is open to anyone, and registration materials can be found at the Wyoming district website. Registration is $25 per person, and the banquet is $20 per adult.

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  1. Joe Krohn
    January 24th, 2014 at 20:52 | #1

    For those who can’t make it, will the presentations be offered here? I am particularly interested in a few of them. Thanks!

  2. RJ
    January 25th, 2014 at 02:24 | #2

    This is very timely and important. Right now, this kind of bad logic is being used to attack the doctrine of sola scripture. If God’s word can be placed in doubt, trust in His promises of salvation crumble. The reasoning using this “all truth is relevant to the person” lie is being promoted in all the mainline liberal churches – especially the ELCA. The claim is that each person has “there own interpretation” that is equally as “true” and when enough people “socialize” their own “personal truths” in the “community of faith” we then can “democratically vote” to deny clear portions of scripture or add to scripture in any way we like! In other words, humans and human institutions sit above God (who is the Word). They deny that believers can clearly understand ANY part of the scripture thus they cannot rely on ANY PART of God’s Gospel promises. They spout pithy slogans like “the opposite of faith in not doubt but certainty”. Because they are now uncertain and in doubt about God’s Word in Gospel, they begin to look for some form of works in the place of grace and faith since they think that God “will honor anyone trying to strive for social justice, peace, etc.” The usual alternative presented is a form of self-chosen, legalistic “works righteousnes” called “social justice” which they say is “required” by “God’s law of love” – which of course is defined study groups and votes! What it is in reality in mainline denominations is strident support for economic Marxism. Doesn’t this sound a lot the a certain Anti-Christic Apostate Church in Rome claims about scripture (only their officals can understand it) and works (they are required for salvation) and who also happen to have a new “Vicar of Christ” who has been outspoken against free enterprise and in favor of “social justice”. The attack of Satan is always the same. Its a version of two questions: “What is truth?” and “Did God really say that?”

    Remember, Sola Scriptura is the KEY doctrine that Satan must ALWAYS attack first!

    If the enemy breaks down trust in God’s Word or your ability to clearly understand God’s Word (you can if you are Baptized into the Holy Spirit who will guide you to truth), then he can swiftly cast doubt on Grace Alone – Faith Alone.

  3. Rev. James T. Batchelor
    January 25th, 2014 at 05:13 | #3

    @Joe Krohn #1
    How about making this available on VIMEO or YouTube or even a DVD?

  4. Amy
    January 25th, 2014 at 11:00 | #4

    Pastor Hinton states:

    “This is a real threat to the faith of all Christians, particularly those of the younger generations whose peers have absorbed ideas about truth that run counter to Christian truth claims and the heritage of Western civilization in general.”

    This conference material could be used as a 6 week study for parents and their youth (see Rev. Ramirez’s recent post on Youth Work 1-B which discusses having parents more involved with youth education) or even as a 6 week bible study for all members.

    @Rev. James T. Batchelor #3

    What a great idea! Please let us know if this material becomes available.

  5. Joe Krohn
    January 26th, 2014 at 18:30 | #5

    I have someone very close to me who has fallen away from the faith, so this is quite timely.

  6. Paul of Alexandria
    January 29th, 2014 at 10:30 | #6

    What I need is a short, one or two paragraph, summary of the Christian faith that I can present to people who ask me “what is Christianity about”. I have gotten the question twice, each time from native-born Americans who were brought up in modern, secular U.S. society and have no clue about any religion.

    I believe that I defended the faith properly, but it’s difficult to tell people about Christ when you have to first introduce them to the concepts that A) there is a God who B) created the universe and everything in it, and C) humans (with the aid of Satan) messed up and require salvation. Not only that, but I have to do it and not sound like I’m reciting cheap science fiction or fantasy out of a book by Rick Riordan.

    Debating people of other faiths – or even atheists – is one thing. But how do you present to a modern secular humanist, who has no concept of God at all, either positive or negative, without sounding like a complete nut?

  7. Paul of Alexandria
    January 29th, 2014 at 10:35 | #7

    An aside: I forget where I read it, but I recently read an article in which the author pointed out that Pilate’s “what is truth” question was actually a rhetorical quote. Pilate – who, after all, was trying to release Jesus without executing him – had decided that He was not a rebel against the Roman government as the Jews said, but was simply another Philosopher after the Greek tradition, rather like Diogenes. “What is Truth” was a rather standard question in those circles.

  8. Matthew Mills
    January 29th, 2014 at 12:11 | #8

    @Paul of Alexandria #6
    Just one (probably unnecessary) warning: Paul basically tells us that when the old Adam hears the Gospel he will naturally conclude that you ARE a nut, but that God will use the weak foolishness of the cross to make disciples when and where He pleases. The basic error of the “church growthers” is that they don’t want the old Adam to think that they are nuts, and so they use modern marketing techniques to make the Gospel seem less foolish and more powerful to the current crop of Jews and Greeks. Unfortunately at that point it ceases to be the Gospel.
    Paul says go ahead and preach the weak foolishness of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, even though the old Adam is going to think you are a nut. It is the only Word that can save.

    Pax Christi+,
    -Matt Mills

  9. Rev. Robert Mayes
    January 31st, 2014 at 06:10 | #9

    Friends in Christ:

    Pr. Kenneth Mars is a fine pastor who I met years ago in the seminary, and also have been aware of from a distance. He is a former geologist, and worked in this capacity for some time before coming to the seminary as a second career pastor. He would be quite knowledgeable about speaking on this issue (as well as many more – I have some good papers by him written after he was a pastor that are on the Book of Concord and doctrinal issues as well).

    God be praised. Blessings on your conference.

    In Christ,
    Rev. Robert Mayes
    Beemer, NE

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