Dear “church”: Our Culture Despises Truth and It Is Your Fault, Here’s Why

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see any number of posts or hear any number of churchgoing folk in our congregations lament the fact that our culture seems to despise the truth.
There are many today who claim that the physical equipment that develops according to the biological blueprint in our DNA cannot be said to be determinative of reality, but only our inward feelings.  We live in a society where we talk about “your truth,” and, “my truth,” as if contradictory statements about reality can both be “true.”  Related to this (and complained about nearly as often), is the fact the idea of “tolerance” has been twisted and mangled beyond recognition.
We live in a society where we talk about “your truth,” and, “my truth,” as if contradictory statements about reality can both be “true.”  …[and] “tolerance,” means you must be ready and willing to render … help and support even if you believe it harms the other person.
“Tolerating” a person and their idosyncratic lifestyle choices no longer means a resigned acceptance of a reality you wish did not exist.  Today, “tolerance” means that you must not only endorse and affirm that reality and be ready and willing to assist others in any way possible to actualize their perceived self.  “Tolerance,” means you must be ready and willing to render this help and support even if you believe it harms the other person.  You must even go so far as to help them mangle their bodies by cutting off or adding body parts or help make it possible for them to take dangerous drugs to interfere with the regular and natural development of the human body.
The members of especially “conservative churches” are vocal and strident in their opposition to these things.  But many are ignorant or willfully blind to the fact that it is their own history that has born this fruit of truth denial and self delusion.
… The fact is that for nearly every societal ill … there is a precursor and clear analogue within what passes for Christendom in these gray and latter days.
It has actually been a project within Christendom to destroy the concept of knowable truth and expand the requirements of “tolerance.”  Significant effort has been expended for the last 175 years within the church to to teach Christians to deny that we can have reliable and objective certainty about God’s truth revealed in Scripture and to force people to “tolerate” mutually exclusive truth claims by affirming, accepting and promoting them.
If you want to find the inception of the idea that truth is relative and you can have your truth and I can have mine and we can still claim to agree, you need look no further than the modern ecumenical movement of Christendom.
While the Edinburgh Missionary Conference of 1910 and the publishing of “The Fundamentals” (1912) are two of the more identifiable and important events that led to our current situation, the movement to remove the concept of objective truth and replace it with the validation of personal experience has been under way for much longer. These same groups are some of the first who manipulated the concept of “tolerance” by changing the meaning from “reluctant acceptance” to “mandatory promotion and aid.”
The groundwork was laid in the middle of the 1800’s.  That’s when truth-denying interdenominational and pan-christianish groups like the Young Men’s/Women’s Christian Associations, and the later establishment of the World Student Christian Federation, and the Federal Council of Churches came into being.
If you want to find the inception of the idea that truth is relative and you can have your truth and I can have mine and we can still claim to agree, you need look no further than the modern ecumenical movement of Christendom.
According to the philosophy of this movement, all Christians were supposed focus only on those areas of agreement and similarity and relegate any differences in confession of clear biblical truth into the dustbin of relativism, felt “truthiness” and historical conditioning.
But let’s be clear, it is not only a denial of objective truth that has it’s roots in modern christianish ecuminism. It’s also the insistance on a false notion of “tolerance” and the forced promotion of untruth. We can see it today in pan-christianish events such as “See You at The Pole” or “Take Your Bible to School” day where the relativists and ecumenists heap guilt upon those who make a clear confession of the truth and shame our young, faithful brothers and sisters into joining them in their prayer circle to a Jesus who apparently can’t make up His mind about what He taught us to believe.
Because of the nature of the event, unique denominational prayers are certainly prohibited “at the pole.”  And, we certainly wouldn’t want to actually open our Bible when we bring it to school.  We shouldn’t be encouraged to sit down and discuss why “your Jesus” says, “This bread merely symbolizes my body,” (found nowhere in the Bible) but “my Jesus,” says, “This is my body.” (Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22, Luke 22:19, and 1 Corinthians 11:24). We must not even consider holding any discussion why the apostles and first century teachers of “your christianity,” claim, “baptism is only an outward symbol,” (again found nowhere in Scripture) while the earliest teachers of, “my Christianity,” boldly proclaim, “baptism now saves you.” (1 Peter 3:21), and this precious working of God’s salvation is “for you and for your children,” (Acts 2:39). To have such discussions would be “divisive.”
It is not only a denial of objective truth that has it’s roots in modern christianish ecuminism. It’s also the insistance on a false notion of “tolerance” and the forced promotion of untruth.
Instead, we should tolerate each other’s “unique truth,” and I should permit you to require me, by guilt and the yoke of legalistic prescription, to affirm your false Jesus and help you teach others by supporting your missionaries and outreach efforts.  I should validate your personal delusions about Jesus’ teachings by joining with you in exhibitions of faux solidarity and sham unity and pretend that we are all unified in the Spirit under the Lordship of Jesus.  I mean, really, “time is short,” we can’t spend our time actually trying to figure out what Jesus really said and meant!  It’s not like Jesus actually says that if we remain in His word and study it carefully, “You shall know the truthand the truth shall set you free,” or anything like that (John 8:31-32).
And never you mind that, philosophically, there is no real difference between the modern media’s insistence that, “We can’t waste time getting our facts straight,” and the modern christianish ecumenical assertion that, “we must not waste time with incessant doctrinal purification.”
But if we look carefully, we see that doctrinal indifference is not the only place where christianish organizations have led the way into our modern societal chaos. Christianish people regularly point out that, “my body, my choice,” in the the promotion of the murder of pre-born infants denies both scientific reality and the basic moral fabric of civilization. But let’s be honest.  How different is, “my body, my choice,” from the idea that our lives are our own to do with as we please no matter what God’s will as revealed in Holy Scripture that has been at work inside our congregations for generations?  Where are the complaints from mothers and fathers, grandparents, aunts and uncles and other fellow Christians against this unholy mantra when within our worship communities we are supposed to “allow kids to be kids” and overlook their engagement in pre-marital sex?  Why is it unacceptable to murder a baby in the womb, but we are to be supportive and helpful to those who engage in the soul-murdering act of divorce?  How many of our christianish members in our so-called “churches” would accept disciplining either or both spouses for their decidedly unchristian action of separating what God has joined together?
Fathers … have been absent spiritually by … refusing to take up the mantle of teaching their children the faith. … Should we really be surprised at the epidemic of fatherlessness in society at large?
We can add to this list the fact that fathers (and their sons) have been absent from our pews for decades and have been absent spiritually by absolutely refusing to take up the mantle of teaching their children the faith.  So, again, let’s be honest.  Should we really be surprised at the epidemic of fatherlessness in society at large?
The fact is that for nearly every societal ill we lament and decry, there is a precursor and clear analogue within what passes for Christendom in these gray and latter days.
Indeed, we ought not be surprised.
St. Paul urged the Corinthians to, “hold fast to the word I preached to you,” pointing to Christ’s atoning sacrifice.  Jesus’ death for sinners and glorious resurrection are those things that are of “first importance,” but contrary to those who complain of “incessant doctrinal purification,” and the need to set aside our different understandings of Scripture and focus only on what we hold in common, the Apostle in no way intends to diminish the reality and truth of any of Christ’s other teachings.  The Apostle is careful to hand over the words of Jesus that teach the substantial presence of Christ’s true and substantial presence in body and blood in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper.  The Apostle is also adamant about the reality of baptismal regeneration.  He in no way precludes this precious gift of God’s mercy and grace, even for infants.  In fact, the Apostle whom Jesus “knocked from his high horse,” and sent to teach the Gentiles clearly teaches everything else that the One, Holy, Christian and Apostolic Church has unceasingly taught since time in memorium.
It is this same same St. Paul who told the pastors of Ephesus in his farewell address, “I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30) And, likewise, St. John as warns of the many anti-Christs in the world saying, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19)
there is no real difference between the modern media’s insistence that, “We can’t waste time getting our facts straight,” and the modern christianish ecumenical assertion that, “we must not waste time with incessant doctrinal purification.”
But the christianish ecumenical movement wherever it has made inroads has not only refused to, “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching,” but they have chastised and often ostracized those voices seeking to give heed to Paul’s admonition to, “Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16)
And now we see first hand, in less than 200 years of truth denial and “tolerance” in the name of ecumenism, how much damage a saltless and lightless church does in the world.

About Pastor Matthew Dent

I'm a life-long Lutheran who, prior to formal preparation for the ministry, learned most of my theology from good preaching, solid hymnody, and the consistent pattern of sound words found in the church's liturgy in a small church in Western, NY. A "first generation" pastor in my family, I took the "long route" to seminary, working in startups and small companies in the technology and internet sector for 10 years before completing my Bachelor of Arts at Concordia University, Ann Arbor in December of 2004 and continuing my studies at Concordia Theological Seminary, graduating with my M.Div. in 2008. I completed additional residential studies toward an S.T.M. at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, and was ordained and first installed in July, 2009. Since January 2014, I have been serving Jesus' Church as pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Standish, Michigan where I live with my wonderful wife, Kelli, and my two kids, Jonathan and Natalie.

Comments

Dear “church”: Our Culture Despises Truth and It Is Your Fault, Here’s Why — 13 Comments

  1. I’ve been told many times, by family no less, that Christians should agree to disagree, because we can’t really know who is right in the midst of this theological quibbling. I’ve responded that that’s a theologically leftist view, because it’s relativism. You’ve made the case far better than I. There’s much to unpack here, but for now, two additional thoughts, 1. Some of what you address has been going on in the church for much longer than 175 years. There were statements out of the Council of Trent that denied the ability to be certain in our faith. 2. I’m a former evangelical. Sat through some Bible studies where the question was posited “What does this verse mean to you?” No, no, take off the last two words, tell me what it means.

  2. One more thought: The Western church is so far gone that even when it recognizes the problem it has proven incapable of identifying the correct prescription. One such area is, as you identified, the lack of men in church. Earlier in the year I suffered through a book titled “Why Men Hate Going to Church.” Like you, the author recognized the abandonment of Sunday morning by the nations men was a problem, and while he did have a few good insights, he recommended every single solution except sound teaching and a laser focus on the Word and the Cross, at times even criticizing those things!
    Kyrie Elieson, we are in need of another reformation.

  3. A convicting piece, and true, especially about the matter of divorce. In modern evangelicalism it seems to be a norm, and heaven forbid you actually ask whether or not the reasons were scriptural. I get supporting broken families, but a bit of plain Scriptural speaking on this matter might prevent these breaks from beginning in the first place.

  4. @Michael Baun #4

    Because the true Church of God believes God clearly speaks and the true Church cares about proclaiming the truth revealed by God in His Word and doesn’t give into the ecumenical lies that truth is irrelevant or unknowable. The true Church realizes that the sinful nature rebels against the truth and will “feel unloved” when it is being most loved and cared for. St. Paul said, “speaking the truth in love,” not, “speaking the truth unless the other person says they feel unloved.”

    The problem outlined in the essay is a problem brought into being not by the one true Church, but by the false “church” and Christianish folks who, despite their claims and self identifications, either ignorantly or intentionally seek to strip people away from Christ.

    The true Church does not give up the truth when it is inconvenient. Neither does it shy away from the truth because others want to deny the truth but still be considered members. That is behavior of the false Church. Thus, the quotation marks.

  5. Well-said and accurate as far as I’ve observed over the years. Also very sad… come quickly, Lord!

  6. I have a solution. First don’t back down from preaching and teaching “all things, whatsoever I have commanded you” whether they are PC or not. Stop tolerating feminist ideas and feminists in your congregation. These will solve the lack of men in your congregation. I have noted that in many more conservative LCMS congregations, that single men are well represented. IMHO, they don’t like the touchy feeling service, but prefer traditional liturgy and orthodox preaching.

  7. In my opinion Steadfast Lutherans is an entirely self consumed group that blames society for not caring about the truth and others and is more concerned about this and their power than equipping the saints to proclaim the gospel. This is the straight up truth about the group and why many churches do not want a pastor from this group or trained by a seminary that produces the same attitudes found in this group. It is a very sad state of affairs. They need to examine their ways and repent – maybe then a truth and gospel loving church will call one of them. Until then I sincerely hope someone is not called with these attitudes to be a pastor by any Missouri synod church. It is almost a certainty they would lose more members and the the church would eventually close while they blame others for not loving the truth. All I am claiming will happen is what is already happening to the churches they pastor while blaming others and their own congregations for not caring about the truth as evidenced by this very post I am responding to. I don’t intend to dialog about this I’ve said my peace. Your move.

  8. @ Michael Baun #9

    In my opinion Steadfast Lutherans is an entirely self consumed group that blames society for not caring about the truth and others and is more concerned about this and their power than equipping the saints to proclaim the gospel.

    I have seen just the opposite. Being fairly new to this blogsite, I come regularly to see and hear the Truth on full display. The Truth is defended and proclaimed from every post by men of integrity who believe that the most important thing in the world is divine Truth; the word that comes from God. Men who believe we cannot understand history and ourselves apart from the divine perspective; men who understand ‘sin’ and its devastating impact on individuals and the culture; men who understand the ubiquitous capacity for humans to ‘self-deceive’. It is to this refreshing clarity of the Truth that I return often.

  9. @Steve Drake #10

    So do you think they can respect others as loving truth when they disagree with them? I don’t think do … they will dismiss them as hating the truth because they don’t see eye to eye. Steadfast Lutherans does not have a corner on people that seek and love truth – they need to mature and understand this. But I frankly don’t think they realize this. I had one conversation about immigration here — it is clear they are intensively anti-immigrant not even acknowledging the facts and asserted, with so called ‘evidence’ that was absurd, that LIRS was helping immigrants break the law. Incredibly misinformed group that refused to look at the facts concerning LIRS. And then there is the whole 9-11 syncretism thing. Research that and tell me if you hold the same opinion.

    Also pastors from this group promote closed communion as if it were the same thing as close communion. And would probably deny communion to someone from other districts. Not even respecting that they were a fellow LCMS Lutheran because they dared disagree with them and therefore obviously hate the truth. Even the current web site of the LCMS does not acknowledge a difference now – when there clearly is a difference. Erasing this difference is solely about power – nothing else.

  10. From Michael Baun post #9:

    I don’t intend to dialog about this I’ve said my peace.

    I’ll assume you’re not finished dialoging about this?

    From Michael Baun post #11:

    So do you think they can respect others as loving truth when they disagree with them? I don’t think do … they will dismiss them as hating the truth because they don’t see eye to eye.

    I think Pastor Dent had the correct reply to you on this in #5 above. What I’ve seen in many cases Michael, is a lot of opinion spread around by opponents here, but no cogent and logical defense of that opinion from Scripture. Lots and lots of opinions and emotive responses to issues, but no Scriptural backing. It’s as if the opponents have never read the Scriptures. They must not be reading them, memorizing them, eating them as a sweet-tasting scroll in the mouth, because they never use them in argument.

    Set aside the current division in our country over politics which is now, and has been more than ever before, entered our churches, and as Christians, go to the Word of God and see what it says. We can have better discussions when we use God’s commands, His directives, His divine insights, for they are the very words of God Himself. He gave them to us as a rule of life and conduct; right thinking, right action, right motive.

    So, whet are we left with then? Disagreements over the proper understanding of Scripture, no? This is inevitable in this sin-cursed existence we find ourselves in, and will continue until the remedial Theology 101 class we’ll all take at Christ’s return. In the meantime, we fight and defend and persuade and proclaim a position from orthodoxy of the Truth, and not of heterodoxy.

    We must also remember that love and justice go hand-in-hand. God’s love is paired perfectly with His justice. You cannot have infinite and Holy Love, without infinite and Holy Justice.

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