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Walking in Truth in an Age of Lies

We live in an age of lies. Our culture is manufacturing and selling lies at a breakneck pace in eforts to reshape culture. 

The culture that is emerging is one in which God does not exist, or, if He does, He is very much like us and is little more than a Great Cosmic Mr. Rogers Figure who loves us just the way we are and approves of almost everything we do. 

Sin and guilt in the historical since are antiquated ideas. That is not to say there is no longer a concept of sin, because there certainly is in this Brave New World. To not fully embrace the new morality, the new spirituality, the new ethic, meaning, to not embrace The Lie, is the great sin. In this emerging world, the only way the culture or a person can be on the path toward 'redemption' (being embraced by the culture) and forgiven for the new transgressions (as defined by intersectionality, the new social justice movement and Critical Race Theory), or at least find one's new and proper place in the larger scheme of things, is to fully embrace The Lie.

The Lie is a term I am using to refer to the ideologies that produces the ever growing number of lies that are infiltrating the culture, and, alarmingly, evangelical churches across the country. 

It should be noted that everything The Lie touches has produced bondage, fragmentation and harm to both individuals and communiites. The Lie is contrary to the gospel, so the misguided attempts of some professing brothers in pulpits across the country to 'merge' woke ideology with the Word of God in the name of 'relevance' has produced 'another gospel' that is no gospel at all, something the apostle Paul warned the early church quite strongly about when he wrote the following in Galatians 1:6-9 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.  "

 

God takes the gospel very seriously. We are not free to 'alter' it to 'fit the times,' and yet, we see more and more pastors and churches (some subtly and some not so subtly), trying to do just that. 

The pressure to conform and to bow to and buy The Lie, is quite strong. We must be honest here. The culture is increasingly hostile to biblical Christianity. Christians are increasingly deemed 'hateful,' or 'intolerant' or 'biggots' if we do not modify our beliefs and our lives to accomodate The Lie. 

What the culture does not understand is that the Truth sets us free. The gospel offers not only salvation and reconciliation to God, but also to our neighbors, to all people. The gospel is powerful and transformative. Jesus still changes lives. The culture does not understand that Christ calls we Christians to love our neighbors, not to hate our neighbors, and in that love, we are to love enough to speak the Truth in love. 

This is where we find ourselves as Christians at a crossroads: do we go along to get along or do we walk in Truth (and do so humbly and lovingly)? Do we seek to accomodate The Lie, or do we remember that we know the Better Story, The Truth, and we must not only walk in Truth, we must share that Truth? 

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the former Russian dissident writer who experienced the Gulags of Russia during the Cold War was a prolific writer. One of his essays is well worth taking time to look up online and read. It is entitled 'Live Not by Lies.' Much of Solzhenitsyn's writings speak strongly to us today as Christians, have great relevance to us as Christians. As one reads his essay 'Live Not by Lies,' it is impossible to not see the parallels between the pressure to conform in the old Communist Soviet Russia, to by The Lie being forced upon the citizens of Russia, and the pressure we face in our culture to likewise embrace ideas we know to be untrue. 

Solzhenitsyn argued that the only way the Soviet people would ultimately be free from these lies being forced on them daily by the government and the ruling elites, was to refuse to participate in The Lie. He would argue that if one went to a play and in that play The Lie was being sold, it was the obligation of all who would be free, to walk out of the theater. Likewise, if one were listening to a lecture and The Lie was being proclaimed, the honorable person who wanted to walk in freedom had the obligation to likewise walk out of the lecture. Wherever The Lie was being sold or told, it was the responsibility of every individual to refuse to participate in it. Solzhenitsyn believed that as more Russians refused to listen to The Lie, in time, The Lie would be seen for what it truly was, and would die. The Lie can never thrive under the light. It only thrives in the shadows. It requires belief to exist. As people walk away from The Lie and choose to walk in Truth, the Lie dies. 

As Christians, we must face the fact that we are on the cultural margins and the response of most in our culture is that we are either the worst of people, or, outdated and irrelevant and superstitious and any number of things. The pressure, as stated above, to conform, is very real. The idea that if we go along to get along we will be liked by the culture and therefore, we can survive as the church, or perhaps thrive again as the church, is another one of many lies that comprise The Lie. 

We must not live by lies. 

Christians have always been expected to be countercultural people. The Scriptures make that very clear (see Romans 12:1,2). Jesus talked about two roads or paths: one that most everyone was on (the broad road leading to destruction) and the narrow road that few were on (the one that leads to life). We Christians have always understood that we are not to be like the culture. In following Christ we are not bowing to the culture. 

This is not to say we take a hostile approach to the culture. We are indeed called to love our neighbor, and everyone is our neighbor. We are to engage the culture with the Truth, the gospel, and in that, God will save some. People in bondage will be set free. And yes, in walking this path, we may well be hated. It might be costly for us. Jesus said we should expect such things (see John 15:19) if we belong to Him. 

So, the challenge for us as people who have been set free by Christ, is to not use our freedom for wrong, but to use it for good, for God's glory and the blessing of many, and to never subject ourselves again to any form of bondage. Make no mistake: The Lie (as do all lies) only brings bondage and pain. The challenge for us is to understand that we are to walk in Truth, to be a people of Truth. We cannot live by lies. We cannot bow to the spirit of the age. 

So, what will that look like for us on an individual level? I do believe Solzhenitsyn has much wisdom for us today: when you are in a context where The Lie is being proclaimed, do not sit by and go along to get along. You can walk out. You can walk out of a movie (yes, you paid good money for those tickets), you can walk out of a lecture, a training seminar at work, and you can refuse to support those things that prop up The Lie. 

You can do all of this and still love people around you. We must. 

Could such actions, such a refusal to bow bring us discomfort or even be costly? Yes. It may well. Might it cost us friendships? Probably so. Will, however, God honor us if we honor Him? Absolutely (see John 12:26). Will God ever forsake us? Never. 

The times are dark. The lies are many. The pressure is great. We cannot deny these things. But, we must remember that our God reigns, that He gives grace and power and love to stand firm and to do so honorably, and we must continue to follow Christ and trust Him completely. We must walk in Truth. We cannot live by lies.

May we do so for His glory and the blessing of many. Our culture may not realize it, but the healing and miracle it so desperately longs for is only found in Christ.  

 

Shine brightly. 

Grace to You,

Pastor