Last time we looked at the idea in the first part of this century stemming from postmodernism (which was in motion far before then) that truth was relative to the individual and that we should somehow tolerate that idea and each other’s truths. We also looked at some of why that didn’t and doesn’t work out well. Today I want to look at how we might lead as Christians in the current context resulting from the failure of that idea.
First as a society, Christian or not, we need to understand this. At this point, we either have to figure out how to rescue absolute truth or we will have a continual war between the “truths”. Those truths will battle to become the absolute truths of society. Because that is how it works. Always.
As Christians what we need to do is a couple of things. Mainly we need to lead with actual Christian truth. All of it. Not part of it. Not the parts that line up with my “truths” but all of it.
One of the things that postmodernism sort of introduced in our culture is the idea that your truth is yours and mine is mine. This was sort of the battle cry of tolerance that was taught in early 2000’s (which now seems like a really long time ago). The idea at the time seemed to be that I’m ok and you’re ok. We’re all ok as we are. What we feel is ok. What we see as true is ok. We should tolerate differences not only of experience but we now could say that our different perspectives and experiences were actually different truths that were ok to live out of. Back then it was ok for everyone to not agree. In fact the idea was that no one should impose their belief or truth on anyone else.
Many in the church sort of went along with this. I don’t mean to say that most church leaders agreed that truth was relative. But I think the idea was that to get along and work in this new culture we should just sort of let that go and be loving and understanding. This idea of loving and understanding everyone isn’t a bad thing as far as it goes but by not standing up stronger we gave a lot of things that aren’t true a lot of ground. The results are that now even more believers are of the belief that there is no absolute truth and that half of millennial evangelicals think evangelization is wrong. After all that would be forcing our truth on others.
All of this has backfired spectacularly both inside and outside of the church in our culture.
This last weekend I was leading a discussion that centered around the idea of that we are not to be OF the world. In the world yes, but not of it. We were discussing 1 John 2:15-17 which tells us not to love the world. But if we are not to love the world, then we have to know what the world or “Spirit of the Age” is. If we don’t name it, then it is very easy to get lulled to sleep and passively get sucked into being a part of it. We came up with three Spirits of the Age: Busyness, Tolerance (which really means accepting anything as truth) and Consumerism.
As I’m sure you can figure out, these worldly trends have a huge impact on us when it comes to singleness, dating and marriage. Now I’ll spend some time on each of these in different ways in the following weeks but for today, I just want to mess with us a little in case you think these things aren’t impacting where we are going.