Apologetics Ethics Evangelism Faith Logic Worship

Truth and Consequences

For apologists, arguments matter but not for arguments’ sake. All arguments should be made for the sake of the truth.

Truth is the kind of thing that just won’t go away. That can be pretty inconvenient, especially when it comes to arguments. When you make a bad argument the truth often comes back to haunt you.

Sometimes it returns in the form of an innocent question. Sometimes it sneaks in through a self-contradictory remark of your own. Sometimes it’s the rebuttal of an opponent that smacks you right in the mouth. That is the truth and consequences.

Divine truth is immortal, and although it may allow itself to be taken and scourged, crowned, crucified, and buried it will nevertheless rise again on the third day and reign and triumph in eternity.

Balthasar Hübmaier[1]

No matter how its resurrected though, truth establishes itself as something that cannot be ignored. As Greg Koukl puts it, it is the wall of reality that world-views constantly bump up against.

For Christians though, the reality of truths immanence is a huge advantage. It is the out of bounds toward which we can force all discussions. It’s the anvil on which we can forge all arguments. It’s the suicidal sword on which we can assume all other world-views will fall.

The truth is our standard and the canon by which all ideas are measured.

Truth is unforgiving though and it is also a sword that cuts both ways.

But, Truth is always the hill worth dying on and likewise if something is not true, believing it is the epitome of ignorance and possibly a waste of epoch proportions.

Often, when I used to introduce apologetics to high school and middle schoolers, I’d be very blunt and hopefully shockingly honest. “I want to know if Christianity is true”, I’d say. “If it’s not then I want to stop wasting my time and yours. But if the Bible is true, if Jesus really did walk out of that tomb, then that changes everything.”

That’s the gravity of the truth. It has the potential to alter the trajectory of a person’s life. It can push communities toward seemingly unattainable goals. It can move nations to war.

Truth is that important.

So why is it that sometimes we make decisions not based upon truth but other factors? For Christians to do that is a betrayal of Christ as well as idolatry. Whatever a person hinges an argument on, bases an important decision upon, or acts according to, if it is something other than truth then that thing becomes an idol.

Whether you excuse truth to the advantage of being accepted, the almighty dollar, or political correctness, you have slighted Christ and established a savior of your own. You have shown your faith to be shallow and the power of God to be inactive in you.

We should seek the truth without hesitation; and, if we refuse it, we show that we value the esteem of men more than the search for truth.

Blaise Pascal[2]

How is a betrayal of truth a betrayal of Christ?

That’s simple. Christ is truth itself and all truth is from God. He is the hinge upon which all knowledge swings. He is the canon by which all ideas are measured. To betray that truth, as it were, is to betray him. To mislead others by avoiding or ignoring truth, even if it leaves them happier or feeling better about themselves, is to dance to the Devils delight. To make arguments opposed to truth, even to save face or to present yourself as ‘Christian-like’ is to raise yourself above truth and ultimately above your King. Even if you argue for the good of the Church, doing so in opposition to truth is not only oxymoronic but self-defeating of Her purpose.

All truth is from God; and consequently, if wicked men have said anything that is true and just, we ought not to reject it, for it has come from God. Besides, all things are of God; and, therefore, why should it not be lawful to dedicate to his glory everything that can properly be employed for such a purpose?

John Calvin[3]

All of this is to emphasize your duty as an apologist. You are not merely a defender of the Bible, Gods existence, or the Resurrection. You at your very essence are a defender of truth.

Do so. Never shirk that duty and God will be honored.

No matter what you argue, how you make your apologetic, or why you do it, always do so for one purpose-to expose the truth.

The business of the truth is not to be deserted, even to the sacrifice of our lives. For we live not for this age of ours, nor for the princes, but for the Lord. To admit for the sake of the princes anything that will diminish or vitiate the truth is silly, not to say impious. To have held fast to the purpose of the Lord is to conquer all adversaries.

Ulrich Zwingli[4]

 

[1] Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[2] Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Donnie
I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice
http://www.southernbyhisgrace.com

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