Kia Ora! I write this from the lounge at the River Lodge in New Zealand and I heartily recommend you find your way here as God guides and provides for you to do so. Whether it is the fresh air or faithful atmosphere, I find myself breathing a bit more deeply and thinking a bit more clearly. (For more information on the Koinonia Institute Resident Study Program, visit riverlodge.co.nz/rsp)
My presentation at the tenth international Strategic Perspectives conference in Coeur d’Alene Idaho last October opened by focusing the listener on the phrase “Jesus is the Truth and Satan is a Liar.” Satan’s words to Eve in the garden “Hath God said?” (Genesis 3:1) endures as his primary strategy today. His wiles — both to deceive “if it were possible even the elect” (Mark 13:22) and to disguise himself “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) — know neither continent nor century. Solomon wrote, “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and we are wise to apply this to Satan’s strategy of deception today. Among Paul’s final words to Timothy he said, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3–4). The Berean believer maintains a diligence to protect and profess the Truth. The Word of God is Truth (John 17:17); Jesus is the Word (John 1:1–3,14); Jesus it the Truth (John 14:6). A mathematician quickly sees the “transitive property” in the previous sentence which can be summarized: If A is B and B is C, then A is C. The three — Jesus, the Word and the Truth — are inseparable and any assault on one is an assault on the other two.
We exposed this three-faceted assault on the Truth by the public education system during previous conference presentations and Personal Update articles. The enlightened Gnostic challenged by John in his New Testament epistles now occupy all sorts of academic positions and hold all sorts of academic parchments. School curricula and scholastic culture marginalize the truth about the Truth. Satan pursues the same foothold in kindergartens today as he did in the “Eden-garden” long ago. The erosion of truth through our public schools today masquerades as revisionist history, evolutionary science, values education, diversity tolerance, multicultural awareness, and situational conundrums. C.S. Lewis wrote in his book The Abolition of Man, “(T)he old (education) was a kind of propagation — men transmitting manhood to men; the new (education) is merely propaganda.” The picture of this assault on the Truth is completed by adding to this academic progress the ongoing political and bureaucratic “reforms” to replace teachers with technology; parents with co-parents; common sense with Common Core; and local regulatory control with federal money and mandates. Since the conference, President Obama signed into law the most recent reauthorization of Johnson’s 1965 bill dubbed the “Elementary and Secondary Education Act” or ESEA. We do well as parents and as taxpayers to monitor the trajectory and tactics of the school reform movement. Few public policies have such a direct and daily effect on our families and on our faith.
Which one — Jesus, the Word or the Truth — is being attacked in John 8 wherein families, specifically fatherhood, served as the topic under debate between Jesus and the Pharisees? In verse 19 the Pharisees ask Jesus, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus concludes His response with “You are of your father the devil (who) is a liar and the father of it.” The Pharisees wanted to discredit Jesus because nobody could identify His biological father. The Pharisees twist the fundamental doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus — hinted at in Genesis 3:15 (“the seed of the woman”) and revealed in Isaiah 7:10–15 — beyond recognition. Isaiah records a conversation between God and Ahaz in which God gives a miraculous and unmistakable sign of the identity of the Messiah. “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Of course the identity of the biological father of the Messiah would be unavailable; this passage makes clear no man will hold a legitimate claim to that title. And yet the learned Pharisees changed the sign of the Messiah into a suspicion of Him. Which one is under attack — all three are under attack because Jesus, the Word and the Truth are inseparable.
History credits Plato with developing the Correspondence Theory of Truth which essentially proposes the truth or falsehood of a statement is determined by its correspondence to the reality in the world around it. Bertrand Russell reduces succinctly this theory to the idea that a belief is true when it corresponds to a fact and it is false when there is no corresponding fact. While this seems axiomatic it fails to align with the popular notion of truth today.
Consider the following four examples:
- Despite an objective measurement called Body Mass Index (BMI) which suggests otherwise, some people suffer from eating disorders when they, despite having a low BMI, identify themselves with overweight people.
- Despite every gene in the body identifying the gender of the individual, society defends the right of the individual to self-assign a gender identity.
- Rachel Dolezal made headlines in 2015 when, while holding the title of the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), she was white instead of black as she claimed. She explained, “I identify as black.”
- A lesser known example of what may be called “identification truth” occurs when otherwise healthy individuals maim their arms or legs because they identify with disabled people. These so-called “transabled” individuals go beyond mere identification and actually make themselves disabled.
Not only would these conflicts between the truth and the facts likely chafe Bertrand Russell, but society’s response ranges from calling one a disease, another dishonest, yet another dauntless, and the last one disturbing.
So where do we go from here? This begins a multi-part series designed to equip the serious Christian to embrace the obligation and opportunity evident when Paul described the Church as “The Church of the Living God which is the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15). In the meantime, you might want to take a look at several Koinonia House products featured on the following pages. Next month we anticipate bringing you an article titled, “The Evidence of Good Evidence.” Please send comments and questions to email@example.com.