“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
Two very famous sentences that are (or at least should be) engrained into the psyche of everything that it means to be American. It seems however that there is an increasing level of hostility in our culture toward anything that makes any sort of claim to truth – whether toward the founding documents of our nation, or the very Scriptures that were so inspirational to the men who signed those documents. The truths that once were so “self-evident” are much less obvious in our post-modern society. We are undoubtedly living in a time when the very idea of absolute truth is under fire.
While we as Americans should be concerned about the tendency to challenge the intentions of our founders, we should not be surprised. This is the nature of a representative democracy. As John McCain said this past year, “Elections have consequences.” We are now seeing the fruit of our elections. As Christians, we have a choice. While we may be a political minority, we have absolute control over the message of truth as proclaimed in the Scriptures.
We must realize, however, that the greatest challenge we face today does not come from the secular scholar who refuses to acknowledge the virgin birth or the miracles of Jesus. It doesn’t come from other world religions who claim to offer a parallel pathway to God. It doesn’t even come from liberal denominations that have ignored a myriad of scriptures in order to create a “kinder and gentler” Christianity. The greatest challenge to Biblical truth comes in the form of those who claim to believe the Bible but refuse to live by it.
This was the problem that the Apostle John was combatting in 1 John. The Christian community to whom he was writing had received the truth, but there were false teachers in the community who were encouraging those truths. Seven times in 1 John, the apostle harkens the community back to the beginning. He reminds them about the foundations of their faith and the necessity to not depart from those things that had been taught to them from the start. In 1 John 2:4, the aging apostle reminded the community, “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.”
As if often the case, the Scriptures seem to speak directly to our context today. We are not in need of new interpretations and new revelations. We are in need of a renewed dependence on the same simple truths that have been communicated from the beginning. At the same time we are in need of a renewed dedication to obeying those truths. As long as we are willing to compromise on our obedience, we should not be surprised to see the culture refusing to acknowledge the truths that we hold “self-evident.”
Truth is under fire, and if we’re not careful, we might even be found striking the match.
Can You Handle the Truth?