Friday, March 24, 2023

Drifting Away from the Truth

When I was 16, my high school band played a concert on the island of Maui. Rather than flying back to Oahu with the other students, I decided to sail home on a friend's 35-foot yacht anchored in beautiful Lahaina harbor.

We set sail at daybreak and threaded our way between Lanai and Molokai before entering the Molokai Channel, also known as the Ka'iwi Channel. It's known as one of the most treacherous channel crossings in the world. In the 26 miles between Molokai and Oahu the ocean plunges to 2,300 feet below sea level, creating unpredictable currents. Just get 1 degree off course and in a little while you'll be way off course. At last, a small dot appeared on the horizon. It was Diamond Head, and I knew we were safe. 

There are 4 types of dangers to the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are the sheepstealers who say, "Come to us. We alone have the truth. We alone do it right." There are the peacebreakers who sow confusion within a congregation and rob it of its unity and peace. There are the sidetrackers who take the curiosities of Scripture and turn them into centralities. And there are the truthwarpers who offer 95% truth and 5% error. In Galatia, these people were the teachers who were adding circumcision to the finished work of Christ. In Corinth, they added gnosis, esoteric knowledge. Today, our leading universities, even some claiming to be Christian, are the locus of the most amazing brainwashing in leftist identity and the most amazing violations of academic freedom. Agree with the controlling elite -- or else. In our quest for academic respectability, academics try to be players in the wider society, not recognizing that the wider society couldn't care less what the Bible really says, unless it is to support what the culture thinks. And so churches tend to drift from the truth. But even being off course by 1 degree can have disastrous consequences. Pastoral passivity is often justified as an appropriate response for leaders in these churches. But as both the Galatians and the Corinthians proved, it is all too possible to do evil sincerely. Faulty theology always leads to faulty spirituality and faulty ethics. 

This is why I teach Greek. I do not tell my students what to believe. My hope is that I can equip them with a tool that will enable them to arrive at the clear and certain truths of one's Christian faith, including the divinity of Jesus Christ, the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible, and the evangelical mission of the church as willed and founded by its Head. God wants us to discover the difference between a Sunday School faith and a living, gutsy belief that is more than skin deep.