In Age of Relativism, Christians Should Remind Ourselves: ‘This is the Truth. Deal With It.’

By Jim Tonkowich Published on March 8, 2017

The satirical Babylon Bee website hit it out of the park with this headline: “Culture In Which All Truth Is Relative Suddenly Concerned About Fake News.” The Bee “quotes” one man expressing his concern and goes on, “‘It just doesn’t seem right that they can publish stuff that’s just blatantly not true,’ added the man, who also noted his firm belief that everyone has the right to define their own version of truth.”

If all of the furor about “fake news” resulted in showing people the blatant contradiction in their thinking and forcing them to affirm objective truth and morality, it would all be worthwhile. But, alas, I suspect that critical thinking is too far-gone these days for most people to realize — and then admit — that they’ve been living an incredibly convenient lie: truth is relative whenever it suits me.

I was thinking about all this during church on Sunday. Last weekend our family slipped away to Salt Lake City to ski and attended St. Jude’s Maronite Catholic Church.

This is the Truth

The Maronites are from Lebanon and Syria, centered in Antioch where, the priest reminded us, “the disciples were first called Christians” (Acts 11:46). While the service was in English (Syriac and Arabic being the other two options), the words of consecration (“This is my body. … This is my blood. …”) were said in Aramaic, the language Jesus used at the Last Supper.

Now that is amazing, but what struck me most about the service were the words spoken by the priest after he read the Gospel of the day: “This is the Truth. Peace be with you.”

“This is the truth.” What a wonderful way to end any Bible reading in any church. Part of me, however, wants to change the “Peace be with you,” to “Deal with it.”

“This is the truth.” What a wonderful way to end any Bible reading in any church. Part of me, however, wants to change the “Peace be with you,” to “Deal with it.”

I say that because we are so accustomed to lies and spin that even the Gospel can seem a bit negotiable. As Anthony Esolen writes in his new book Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, “It isn’t just the sheer multitude of lies, or their weight, like a mudslide rumbling down the side of a two-mile-high volcano. It is that we really do not expect people to do anything but lie.” And that can’t help but influence how we read the Bible.

In the past, people may have wanted to broadcast lies as true, but, Esolen comments, “The spirit might have been willing enough, but the technology was weak.” Town criers, he points out, have a small audience. Mass education, newspapers, television, and the Internet, on the other hand, make spreading lies to huge swaths of the population a matter of child’s play.

And so even in the Church we could use the remider: “This is the truth. Deal with it.”

Deal With It

All sex outside of marriage — which is the union of one man and one woman for life — is sin. If left unconfessed and unrepented, it will incur God’s wrath (Matthew 5:27-30). This is the truth. Deal with it.

God created humans as male and female and that exhausts the options (Genesis 1:27; 5:2; Mark 10:6-9). This is the truth. Deal with it.

Working and living with the primary goal of what Francis Schaeffer called “personal peace and prosperity” places us in the company of those to whom Jesus will say, “Depart from me, you who are cursed” (Matthew 25:41). This is the truth. Deal with it.

No matter how many times you’ve prayed to receive Christ, no one enters Heaven without actually following and obeying Christ (Matthew 7:21-23; Luke 6:46; John 14:15, 21, 23). This is the truth. Deal with it.

To tell lies — any lies including lies in the interest of some presumed political, social, religious or personal good — is to side with Satan, the father of lies, whose condemnation is sure, certain and eternal (John 8:44). This is the truth. Deal with it.

No one loves Jesus, the Bridegroom, without also loving the Bride for whom He died, the Church. Solo Christians are living a lie (John 13:34-35). See above. This is the truth. Deal with it.

Peace Be With You

Now having said all that (and the list goes on), “Peace be with you,” is the inevitable result of hearing the truth and dealing with it, that is, changing our lives to accord with the truth. “Peace I leave with you,” said Jesus, “my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). Jesus offers us peace, but it’s peace based on truth, not lies.

As Anthony Esolen writes, “We must become tellers of truth again — and people who are willing to hear truths, too, especially when it hurts to hear them.” This must begin in the Church and among Christians. Only then can it (Please, God!) spread to a culture awash in convenient lies, wishful thinking, contradictions, and confusion.

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