09-25-16 Drowning In Culture: Theological Liberalism

I’m sure many of you are lamenting this week’s weather, but I’m loving the cooler temperatures.  In fact, I helped take some friends on a tour of Illinois State University’s campus yesterday, and it was so much nicer than it would have been last week.

Of course, it was still terribly hot for Eric and Sara Diemer’s wedding on Saturday -- even within the church building itself.  One of our thermostats had a faulty battery, so it was already nearly 80 degrees in the foyer by the time the first guests were arriving.  The sanctuary was more or less okay, but the rest of the first floor was a little unpleasant for everyone to hang around in.  Nonetheless, the wedding was a fun, beautiful time, and it was great to see everyone (including little Lydia) having a blast dancing at the reception later on at Childers.  Praise God that even with all of the kidney stone issues that she’d been dealing with all week, Sara was still healthy enough to enjoy herself.  It took a lot out of her, though, so the last thing I heard, they were postponing their Cancún trip and having fun in Galena, Illinois... which is sorta near Mexico...

On Sunday, we continued to work on understanding our own culture, so that we can better understand how to be missionaries to reach our potential brothers and sisters within it.  This week, we talked about the nature of liberal theology -- not liberal in a political sense, but liberal in the sense that it throws out what’s come before and looks for new, clever, and individualized ways to read and interpret Scripture (“let’s read the Bible from a Marxist perspective!” “a feminist perspective!” “what it means to me!” etc.).  At the core of this way of thinking is that truth is a fluid thing, not an absolute.  They say the Bible doesn’t mean anything intrinsically -- it only means what we decide that it means.  What Paul meant (or more rightly, what God meant through Paul) by a verse or passage is at best secondary, if not irrelevant, to the modern reader.  It was only relevant to people 2000 years ago, so how could it be relevant to us today?  So we read our own meanings into the text instead of starting with the Word and finding meaning from it -- and the Bible becomes less of a source of wisdom and more of a mirror, reflecting what we’ve already decided to believe.

But see, Truth doesn’t change.  It can’t change.  Our perception of it can change with experience, our application of it can change within different situations, but the truth itself never changes. 

And perhaps that’s why some people consider the church to be increasingly irrelevant -- not because we hold so unswervingly to a solid, objective Truth that never changes, but because we so often try to change our little, subjective truths to match what our culture’s itching ears want to hear... and the church’s voice just gets lost amidst all of the other cultural wannabes.

We all have the opportunity to be Bible translators today -- not translating the text from Greek into some foreign tongue, necessarily, but translating God’s wisdom from a Biblical mindset into a vernacular and a perspective that our own, broken culture can actually understand.

How can you take a stand for God’s Truth today?  How can you and I specifically show those around us that Truth never changes?