When I was in my first pastoral internship I would go out with the associate pastor and do evangelism. We would ask five questions, ranging from what they thought about God to what they believed about heaven, but we would always finish by asking them, “If you’re wrong about anything, would you like to know the truth?” I was surprised that 90% of the time the answer was, “No.” I would have thought that with eternity in the balance people would want to know if what they believed was definitive or not, but it wasn’t so.
I write a lot here at WOTG on the issue of Truth. It’s one of my firm platforms, and as I discussed last Monday, it is a prerequisite to knowing God. God want’s to be known, but He can only truly be known in truth. Unless we strive for truth, we are not striving to know God.
This passionate pursuit has gotten me into some sticky situations. People will respond to my positions from a subjective premise and feel that their opinion has weight in the discussion of truth. Truthfully, it doesn’t. When discussing definitive, objective truth, we have to set aside our limited, subjective imaginations and seek for a solid authority. People commenting on this blog have payed the brunt of my attacks as I have picked apart their arguments where they are only based on circumstantial premises. Two things I’ve learned through hindsight: I can be brutally, and rather unnecessarily blunt and people take offense when they are corrected.
Basically, people don’t like when they are shown where they are wrong. This is strange to me because, unlike the norm, I want to constantly refine my point and sharpen my wit. I crave opposition to challenge my premises. I truly want to pursue truth. I honestly don’t know why everyone else doesn’t want the same.
Perhaps it goes back to when I was a child, right after I was saved. I wanted to tell everyone about Jesus and I didn’t understand why everyone wouldn’t accept Him. It was free (people seem to like free stuff) and it was amazing. Who wouldn’t want to be saved from their sins? Since then, I’ve realized that people don’t like to have their lives interrupted. People don’t like to change, even if it’s for the better.
But that’s only characteristic of non-Christians, right? Not at all. Having served in ministries most of my life, I have learned that Christians can be just as hardened to truth, if not more, than non-Christians. Christians seem to get into a state of lethargy where they feel they’ve gotten enough out of God and the Bible and they don’t need to strive for much more. The moment you stop striving, however, is the moment you give in to the devil.
Pastors and Churches have only added to this slothfulness by bringing biblical teaching down to the bottom shelf, creating programs that allow members to feel a part of something with minimal effort, and catering to the lowest common denominator without truly investing in promising young leaders. It’s easy to be a part of a church that demands no more from you than a few hours a week. As long as the church is comfortable enough, it will probably grow quite rapidly. That’s probably one of the most profound things David Platt points out in his book Radical.
I reflect a lot on the amazing accomplishments of A.W. Tozer. Though he was never theologically trained and never led a mega-church, he has probably had one of the most profound ministries that, to this day, baffles Christian historians. His greatness was not found in his clever rhetoric or vivacious charisma, but in his faithfulness to study the Word of God and preach it as one who truly knew Him. In his own words he describes how his message of passionately pursuing God would not fit with the mainstream. Only a few would genuinely know the purest joy of truly seeking God in truth. But then again, the road is narrow.
So, let me ask you. Do you desire truth? Are you open to opposition? Is your ultimate goal to be right or to think you’re right? If you were wrong about anything, would you want to know the truth?