Truth Does Matter

Wander down any university hallway and surely you will come across a department of philosophy. Here you can study ideas in their historical context and how influential they were on that specific period in our history. It asks questions like “how should we understand the progress of this or that civilization, or humanity as a whole? It is a way of understanding the past through a particular lens, simply put a way of thinking about life. What emerges then is a way to view history so we can learn enough from it to avoid the same past mistakes. Interpreting history through a particular ideology may be tricky, even dangerous since either it liberates us to see things from God’s perspective and follow His course of life or it may enslave us to follow a humanistic view which rules out God’s intervention into history and sees our past and current situations as nothing more than unrelated events with seemingly no cohesion and no ultimate goal. Some, as is the case with Marxists and Postmodernists, find meaning through a narrow viewing glass that sees egalitarianism as the end goal.

Let us back-up a bit before we face off between a Divinely appointed end and the idea that history itself is absurd and has no ultimate meaning, other than the subjective means man chooses to attach to it. We begin with the Enlightenment period. It has been described as an age whose primary emphasis was upon reason, all-embracing reason as a philosopher has described it. Optimism was the order in that age, especially right after the second world war, where peace and prosperity were thought to be on the immediate horizon. Mankind felt that reason and knowledge put us on the road to human emancipation or autonomy, and that it sought to disassociate itself from traditionalism. At that time man became convinced that scientific knowledge and technology would be the way to a better life and would lead us further into our social progress. According to popular opinion, western civilization would never look back. But the dream came crashing down where succeeding generations sadly found out that previous hope of a better future were both premature and disappointing; where now whatever optimism may have been shared in a past era; any bright future ahead finds disapproval and rejection by the postmodernists of our day. Pessimism has replaced positivism from an earlier era.

Present day philosophers speak of the period we live in as Post modernity and refer to it in part as the loss of confidence in what we knew formerly to be the age of reason. The thought is that the influence of science and industrialization failed to solve much of this worlds problems and optimism faded, leaving behind a sense that most everything is uncertain and unpredictable. Just as in the 18th century, where the enlightenment era bred a new way of looking and feeling about things apart from traditionalism, came to believe in a brighter future, today post modernity now distrusts simple reality and despair sets in instead where even objective truth is rejected in the grand narrative. To the postmodernists history becomes nothing more than a bunch of detached stories unrelated in form and structure where it only becomes possible to find meaning by yourself interacting with the narrative to form any meaning from it. In reality, history becomes meaningless since it is left to someone else to find meaning in it by subjecting it to his own experience of reality. Meaning is not inherent in the text itself but must be brought to life by the interpreter, which leaves many viewpoints and perspectives that differ to each other and has no real centre in which objective reality can be known. Today’s Christian opinion runs afoul of the current trend that may be best characterized as a mix of skepticism, subjectivism or relativism which deny the existence of objective truth; which can be the case if their prism is anything other than a God perspective, then their ideology colors their historical narrative. Truth becomes the first war casualty when humans judge our past strictly from a human experience. For a moment, let us look to heaven to find out something about the course of history and where we are going.
The apostle John had lived during the Roman empire. He had been numbered among many Christians to be found in violation of the decree to acknowledge self-ascribed ruler as divine, and because of that he was relegated to the isle of Patmos, currently a Greek Island off the coast of Turkey. It was there that John was given a series of visions from God wherein he saw certain occurrences taking place in heaven. John sees both a lion and a lamb, both images of Christ, wherein one symbolizes quest and sacrifice, and a scroll. The scroll is in the right hand of Him seated on the throne and sealed with seven seals. An angel poses a question about the worthiness of any who might open the seal, and when none reply in heaven, John begins to weep. That is when the Lion of Judah appears. Only Jesus is worthy seeing that He came as a lamb to die for sinners and will return as Conqueror to receive them at His second coming. Jesus draws attention to the fact that He is worthy since He breaks the seal and opens the scroll depicting that He alone can and does interpret history but too, executes its events according to the divine plan of God! So that history follows a plan that will ultimately usher in a new age for His Redeemed people, which we know will take place in a new heaven and new earth. The linear time line is not encoded with mystery and secrets about the future, but rather on God’s Calendar. Much is given in the book of Revelation regarding the disclosure of profound forces against the Church and His gospel and the action of God against them! Some eminent philosophers may have abandoned the traditional methods of the philosophy of history and stopped looking to the purpose of providence directing the course of events. The Marxists and the Postmodernists may see equality and freedom as the proprietorial if we are to find meaning in history, but that misses the point that Christ is at the Lord of history and is both its interpreter and its executor Who in the end of time will bring all things under His authority for the purpose of His Glory and that of the Father and to reconcile His elect to Himself. One day Christ will return in His Glory and triumphantly reign over all of His creation.
Does history have a central point in which all things are governed by? Or is it for you a matter of blind chance, or some intransigent element like economic equality or social freedom that guides your thinking to believe in some kind of reason for all the things both terrible and good from past eras for you to be able and make sense of it all. When Christ is at the epicenter of it all, it all begins to fit together nicely. In two weeks time more about this but for now what is essential is that you consider where you stand today with God. God calls you to consider His Son and His offer of salvation. Do you recognize that He is the holder of the keys of heaven and hell and has complete authority to cast you in hell or save you?

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Rev.1:18

We have intonated earlier, that Christ is the only one worthy to open the scroll for He alone is the originator and executor of what takes place in our universe. That is why He is praised in heaven and we should praise Him too.
Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Rev.5:12

In two weeks time more on history’s relevance.

The Lord of History

In the wake of unusual and daunting events, the course of life that many have followed became somewhat obscured and intimidating, not knowing what is yet to come.  These times are unprecedented.  Nations appear as sand castles being washed over by wave after wave of aimless destructiveness with little in its way to prevent it or steer its course; leaving behind sufferings and failures that leaves us in its grip, in its prison house with its impenetrable absurdity for walls.   We appear confined to it!   If how we define these times in terms of finding only ambivalence, to accept a meaningless existence where we are its prisoners, then these same  interpreters of history are its worst critics.   History is not a series of arbitrary events that are unconnected, unplanned, having no appointed destination.   History is not a beginning that goes nowhere in particular (cyclical) whose end is uncharted and unknown.    If that is the cases, we are not better than its prisoners.   God launches and steers History through the sea of time until its final destination.    History books fail to record that all of history finds its apogee in God.   It is not a series of starts and stops, which travels round and round aimlessly repeating itself,  no real objective in mind, just a series of defeats and restarts only to arrive  at an end that appears almost meaningless!    A  Christian perspective differs though.   We see that God has much better things in store for His Creation and for us!

   A look back to the Roman era, where Edward Gibbons wrote in his classic six volume treatise on ancient Rome from his essay “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” these words about the historians work.   “Attached to no party; interested only for the truth and candor of history… ”    Finding the particulars of history goes beyond simply facts of an event since so often they seem obvious to the observer already, but learning about the motive and and cause of them,  does demand greater attention and knowledge.   Many eyewitnesses have written about Rome`s demise but who can really present the actual reasons behind its fall and who or what was truly behind it.  The string of nations and their narratives down through time and the place they occupied in history in the grand scheme of things, their connection over time to a planned end masterfully carried out is the work of a Sovereign God.   God has organized and executed His plan to an anticipated conclusion.   As such God`s plan must be seen to intersect history at every point arranged together like dots on a board that once connected reveals a intended design that can be appreciated and seen from an overview.   One such man had been given such an overview of history.  His name is John, who lived during the Roman times and saw the cause not only for Rome`s demise but who it is that has history in the palm  of His hand and will ultimately bring it to a close, which is unrealized for the time being but we are heading toward its inevitable conclusion.  While we speak of the apostle John who was given a of a sneak preview, of things to come, being transported either to heaven, or simply had a vision while a prisoner on Isle of Paphos, during his roman imprisonment,  he saw and heard many things that are recorded for us in the book of Revelation, of which we will speak more about in a few weeks time.  But for now these words from Jesus, who if the central figure in history and leads it to its divine conclusion.  

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:13)

  In order for us to understand the meaning of history, we must be prepared to embrace the idea that God has His imprint all over it.   Go on record now,  know that the course of history is being moved by the Sovereign Hand of God toward an appointed end, where our only way out of certain punitive judgment, is by way of the cross, where forgiveness and grace changed the course of certain spiritual death for all of us.   Will you in faith trust Christ and confess your sins to Him and repent of them.    His unchanging promises that you will be granted eternal life.   

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 

 

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  (Ro.10:9, 10)

Our search into history continues in two weeks time.

Our greatest need

  The gospel must pervade society, for real hope in the future of our nation and its people once more.  When man bows the knee to God,  all is made well in the heart.  True conversion never leaves us to recite prayers before our meals, then later retire to a beer and an off-coloured movie in our living rooms, nor does it constitute an attitude like that of the Governor of New York who during the decline of the Covid-19 epidemic, brazenly claimed man and not God is responsible for flattening the curve of  the virus “The number is down, because we brought the number down,” he said. “God did not do that. Faith did not do that. Destiny did not do that. A lot of pain and suffering did that…”

  While pain and suffering is part of the  process to recovery, it is blind ignorance and even arrogant to give ourselves credit for the decline in the rate of infections. Over a hundred and fifty years ago, when the Fathers of Confederation agreed that God`s rule should preside over their decisions, the inscription from Psalms 72 was to represent Canada`s motto.  Today, we are far from realizing that long-ago goal of God`s dominion over our country.  Psalm 72 finishes by showing the extent of God’s  reign “to the ends of the earth” which will be happen once God`s Judgment has past.   Even though we have forgotten Canada`s motto,  God is in the middle of everything, no matter how dismal or chaotic things may seem in this world.  The greater threat is not the pandemic,  but the consequences from our sins that has led God to exact His Wrath on a society in rebellion.  Ralph Drollinger, a minister who leads Bible study for President’s Trump cabinet, says that the present world-wide crisis shows Divine Wrath upon the nation for the proclivity “toward lesbianism and homosexuality.”  Add to this to our national shame are euthanasia, perversion  of our youths through gender identity and transgenderism, abortion,  the list goes on.  Acceptance and support of such have infiltrated our government, educational system, media and entertainment industry   Some say this is the kind of narrow thinking that is can only be seen through a partisan lens.  I agree and it certainly is.  But that is precisely the point to this article.  You cannot speak of a solution for our growing problems, or pinpoint their cause, unless your soul is completely committed to God`s view of life.  A Christian approach is not a soft-sell conceptualization of what went wrong or what the way out should be.   We are either for God or against Him.  Without God in our plans, no realistic solution can exist.  We are gravely in need of God`s intervention at this time in our nation`s life.  To seek answers elsewhere, apart from divine help, is to lose our toe-hold on reality and can only compound our troubles.

   The Bible speaks about saving yourself.   The way forward is for individuals to look to Christ for help.  The book of Hebrews in chapter seven verse twenty-five: 

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. 

   While our country is in great trouble and we pray for a return to stability, salvation is our greatest need.   However way you plan  to make it through this time with the growing list of problems facing all of us, know that you can have Christ on your side to help you through the worst of it.  Your greatest need is to be reconciled to God and have your sins forgiven, to be made righteous, and for God to give each of us a title to heaven.  To be made right before God, occurs when you understand and accept that Christ death on the cross was no mistake but meant to erase our wrongdoings against God and turn away from them.  We do this by placing personnel faith in His Son and what He did on our behalf.   Every other problem that we may face in the coming days are really molehills compared to what will be our fate if we do not prepare ourselves for  the final judgment.   

May God help you to give consideration to your eternity.  

Bad news ahead if you are not a real Christian!

Challenging and troublesome times are upon us where various issues have spilled out onto the political stage, the magnitude of which has not been seen in North America for some time, which leaves some wondering if mankind is doomed to self-destruct.  To some it may seem like only a matter of time, much like a bomb  triggered by a detonator. before the end comes where our world suffers such devastation any return from it may not be possible.  At least, it looks like that from current events we now face, whether the pandemic, protests, or poor economic conditions, the reality is these are the lesser of our concerns.  We find ourselves in a much worse quandary.   To  spell it out, let us consider two ideologies at work in Canadian Society.  Both are at work clamouring to hoist their ideas on on how to fix things and change things for our good.   On one side, some wish to reform the way we are ruled.  In our political spectrum, they are thought to be to the right of centre.  If their policies are implemented then a return to a healthier way of life, and produce a nation which looks to be from past standards traditional, along the kind we use to enjoy prior to our current system.  On the other hand, the left says that its ideology which asserts a belief system based on the thought that man can regulate himself free from religious dogma of any kind.  The secularist claim too  that if they dominate the political landscape that they alone can bring about a good and fair society.  So there you have it, two sides both of which are at opposite ends of the spectrum supposedly.  Both find their hope either in man or in conservative traditions.  This latter group bars any form of religion, though is itself a religion — Secular Humanism —  while the other seeks to make external use of the moral code.    Are either attempts adequate enough enable us to get out from under this mess we now face, or our we pawns to a failing system no matter where we place our loyalties our values?

   Let us concur that both aforementioned philosophies are inadequate for the immediate task at hand.  Bringing religion into the mix of simply doing our best under a set of moral principles will at best make you a better law abiding nation,  but will not save you from the inescapable doom that still awaits mankind.  If you recall from the start, it is the threat of eminent destruction that we have in view here.    Then the thought that we can rule on our own without conforming to long-established views of Canadian life, to turn things around on route to a good life for all, to have productive lives by looking to man as the essence and deciding factor for rule and law is utopic at best.   Both belief systems fail to solve what is systemic to the problems at hand.    Both systems are inadequate to meet the real dilemma that lies at the feet of all of our problems.  The solution to societies ills cannot be pigeonholed by external means;  it goes beyond reforming or loosening laws, rather for real transformation the individual must discover God and truly submit to Him as their Supreme Ruler.   Some years ago, the words from sea to sea was inscribed in the stonework of Parliament Hill “to have dominion from sea to sea”,  the intent was for God to rule our nation, but since then has faded away ever since.  Apart from the Christian Heritage Party most have retreated from a truly Christian platform, some either pay lip service to it or leave God out of their agenda entirely. 

  Let us leave aside distinctions between religion and secularism for a moment, the basis to reconcile sin issues can be reduced to how much you really believe in God.  It is the kind of belief that results in saving faith where you committed your life to His Son, a belief that responds to His Word in every area of your life and not a ritualistic type of life that finds you reciting a prayer at the dinner table, or attending a worship service twice or three times a year, to pay respect to the Christian holidays because it is your habit to do so,   but to live impassively in close quarters with Jesus is the result of genuine faith.  If our only thought is that we can earn a spot in heaven because Christian values are observed from a cold heart, we are just as wrong as the secularists.  We need to be saved.   Hear what Jesus replied to those Pharisees who thought they deserved heaven.   “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”(Luke 5:31-32)  By the “righteous,” he meant those who considered themselves good, but doing good works is not the way to heaven since  none of us are truly good.   Often, pride mask our religious acts.  It is a hard lesson to learn that we are not good enough for salvation.  That is why that faith in Christ alone is the means to acceptance with God.   The secularist say they have no need for God, since they make up their own rules.   This too, is wrong.  Much like the religious crowd both groups are unrighteous; the secularists remonstrate against any need for salvation, and deny its validity.  Their goal is for life to operate absent from God.   They deny the transcendent authority of Jesus Christ over man and generally disregard moral absolutes.  This has the makings of a spiritual storm.  God warns those who wish to blot Him from out for their lives.

If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand.  (Eze 3;18)

This dreadful ending remains the same for all deniers of Christ who wish to rid themselves from divine authority to reign supreme over their lives as Savior and Lord.  Where does your loyalty reside today?  Are you really all in?   Are you not fully vested in a life controlled by His Word and Grace, and instead quite comfortable to live a life with a little bit of religion added to it, a superficial faith far from what the Bible commands.    Our hope is that you have seen enough from both ideologies to know how each fails to meet what we really need most.   

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.  Luke 11:23

  May God lead you to find His Son in this our greatest need.