Letter from Pastor, Newsletter, & Calendar
If you had been within earshot of me the other day, you would have heard me lament quite out loud: "No one stands firm on anything anymore! Everyone is so wishy-washy! " I know my little tantrum was an over-exaggeration born of my frustration. I confess I was afflicted with a bit of an "Elijah Complex," feeling as though I was but one lone voice in a world of people afraid to speak the truth. Objectively, I know there are still other people of integrity and backbone left who stand firm and speak up for what they believe to be true. I’m confident that you, like me, are not willing to allow yourselves to be blown around by every fad, bit of political correctness, false teaching, or latest way-out philosophy blustering through our pop culture. You still believe there is such a thing as right and wrong. You still acknowledge that everyone is answerable to our Creator God. You strive to live your lives in conformity with God’s will as contained in the Natural Law He placed in the hearts of all people. It is specifically revealed and delineated in His Written Law, the Ten Commandments. You still believe and publicly confess that there is no eternal salvation apart from faith in Jesus Christ alone.
At the same time, you and I acknowledge that, unfortunately, most of our society is not firmly anchored. They like to think of themselves as being progressive. For them, the most pragmatic and personally pleasing argument, philosophy, or worldview holds sway over them. Our nation prides itself on being governed by the will of the majority. The prevailing notion seems to be that something is only true if the majority holds it to be true.
Of course, this is total nonsense, both in light of God’s revelation to us in the Holy Bible and sound logic. Truth is not established by opinion polls. In fact, by its very nature, truth transcends human opinion. Truth is reality, whether any human being acknowledges it as such or not. If it is true that the earth revolves around the sun, then no amount of human opinion to the contrary will make the sun revolve around the earth!
It’s becoming increasingly clear that our world is not interested in actual truth but only in its perception of reality. Examples abound. Despite the undeniable fact that humanity is composed of two distinct sexes, which are anatomically quite different, and that the union of both sexes is necessary for reproduction, our society demands that the basic unit of a family, marriage, be composed of two males or two females. That not only defies simple logic and sound biology, but it also goes against what every society of human beings has considered marriage to be throughout the thousands of years of recorded history. Speaking of the binary nature of humanity and its essentialness to human reproduction and viability, how can people embrace the perverted ideas associated with the whole transgender movement? It certainly does not square with nature. And what about the pervasive unconcern for truth regarding the plight of the unborn? Our society decries the murder of the innocent, and rightfully so. It is abhorrent. However, some of the same people who cry foul when an innocent bystander is gunned down by a raving maniac with a gun, defend the abortionist who kills an innocent baby in the womb by decapitating it with a pair of forceps, insisting that the fetus is not human but only a piece of tissue of the mother. All this is despite the clear fact that, by every scientific measure, the fetus is a sentient human being.
I have purposefully avoided citing what the Holy Bible teaches on these topics because a society that rejects what is revealed as truth in the natural realm cannot be expected to accept anything as truth that is taught in what it considers to be some ancient book purported to be the very words of some unseen and undetectable deity. But, just as God's Book of Nature is being ignored and even excoriated for being incongruent with what our current culture believes to be true, God's written revelation, the Holy Bible, is being placed on the shelf of things unacceptable by many. (Continued on the next page)
Unfortunately, this denial that there is such a thing as transcendent truth is just as prevalent among those who claim to be members of Christ’s church as it is in secular society. Much of theology today is done not by examining and holding to what the Holy Scriptures clearly say, but by making judgments upon the veracity of the Scriptures by what experts in the fields of language, sociology, history, physics, or any number of other scientific endeavors say it has to mean. Sermons are being preached, books are being written, and Bible classes are being taught based not upon a careful, faithful study of the Biblical text but upon flawed human reasoning, biased interpretations, and false claims of direct revelation from God, which by their very nature are beyond all scrutiny by others. The result is little to no doctrinal discipline and the acceptance of everything. Pluralism abounds. Universalism (all sincere people of faith, no matter what they believe, are saved) is the new Gospel.
You and I can certainly lament this war on the truth and the proliferation of falsehoods among us, but we ought not to be surprised. Already in his day, the apostle Peter warned in his second epistle: "But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Peter 2:1, ESV). Here we must also keep in mind that this invasion of falsehood is not without God’s consent. It serves his ultimate goal to fully manifest the truth to all. The apostle Paul wrote two millennia ago: "For there must also be heresies among you that those which are approved may be made manifest among you" (I Cor. 11:19, KJV). Where falsehood fully manifests itself, it becomes the perfect place for God to test the sincerity of His people’s love for Him and His truth (Deut. 13:3), as well as provides the platform for the truth to be made most clearly evident to all by those willing to boldly witness to it.
Therefore, instead of bemoaning the prevalence of falsehood in our society as well as in the church today, we ought to recognize that God has provided us a great opportunity to make our stand for His truth. It’s our moment to join in solidarity with the apostles of the Lord, who, in the face of death threats and commands from the leaders of the Sanhedrin to stop preaching the name of Christ, boldly confessed: "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4:19-20). It is our time to stand with Martin Luther, who, as he was being pressured by not only the Pope but also the Holy Roman Emperor to recant of all that he had written and preached under threat of being executed as a heretic, proclaimed in full confidence, "I cannot and will not recant. I cannot do otherwise. Here I stand. God help me. Amen. "Now is the time for us to stand shoulder to shoulder with the layman, Elector John Frederick, who commissioned Martin Luther to write what became the bold confession known as The Smalcald Articles. Frederick courageously maintained, in the face of the war against his lands for confessing the truth of the Gospel, "We cannot yield without becoming guilty of treason against God, even though property and life, peace or war, are at stake" (Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, CPH, 2005, p. 281).
We don’t stand here now in this 21st century simply as a vestige of days gone by, as though we are some irrelevant social organization with nothing to say or to offer our generation. It is quite the contrary. The fact that we are still here is a testimony to God’s grace in Christ and His desire that the truth of Christ and the salvation of sinners in Him still be boldly confessed and witnessed in this place. There has never been a better time to be that voice of truth in the face of so much deception. May our legacy be that we courageously stood firm in the face of all the falsehood of our time and age and proclaimed the Truth, the Truth that became flesh and dwelt among us, Jesus Christ, saying, "Here we stand! God help us!"
Your fellow confessor of the truth,