- Love-Truth Divide
- Love-Truth Divide, part 2
During the rise of modernism, the church abandoned the comprehensive, integrative biblical worldview for the limitations and weakness of the Sacred/Secular Divide (SSD) of the Greeks. Our friend and co-worker Scott Allen has written about the SSD here and in his marvelous little book Beyond the Sacred/Secular Divide.
Now with the rise of postmodernism, the church is abandoning the gospel and weakening her position in the world by espousing what might be called the Love-Truth Divide, or LTD.
I recently addressed a group of youth in the San Francisco Bay Area on the postmodern trend of gender-identity confusion. Afterward, the youth pastor gently confronted me. He said I had offended the young people by not speaking lovingly about the plight of those struggling with gender identity. While I seek to communicate with clarity in the workshops and conferences where I speak, seldom have I been described as unloving.
Not long ago, our friend John Stonestreet wrote in his BreakPoint column,
A recent NPR web headline ran “Christian colleges are tangled in their own LGBT policies.” A more accurate headline would have been “Christian colleges struggle to maintain their identity in the face of pressure from without and within.”
The pressure from without is the threat of Federal education dollars that underwrite student loans and grants and government and industry financial support for research and capital funding. These dollars will be taken away from those institutions that do not support the current LGBT culture and agenda.
What’s the pressure from within?
… students or faculty who champion LGBT ideology on their campuses, even if their “school’s official belief (is) that human beings are created ‘as gendered beings’ and that heterosexuality is ‘God’s design.’”
In fact, it’s just not clear to me at all what many Christian colleges are going to do in the face of this pressure. Which only reveals the real pressure, which is not from without but from within: namely, the lack of a coherent, biblically grounded sexual ethic in so many churches and institutions today.
John hits the mark when he says the real issue is that churches and Christian institutions do not have a vision for family formation and a sexual ethic grounded in biblical worldview and principle. The new stance of the church is to abandon the truth for love.
Take, for example, how one student of a prominent, historic Christian college described her journey of identifying as queer to NPR: “When I realized,” she said, “that my faith wasn’t necessarily about the [Christian Reformed] Church, and it wasn’t even necessarily about the Bible but about my relationship with God and that God is all-encompassing and loving, I felt very free.”
For more from Stonestreet go here.
Not colleges only
Our friend Christian Overman from Worldview Matters concurs with John and goes further. He argues that it will not be just Christian colleges but also Christian primary and secondary schools and eventually churches in the crosshairs.
The reality is that many Christian colleges are as much at risk today as “politically incorrect” flower shops and cake decorating businesses. If student loans from the government are not allowed to be used at colleges having particular views on sexual practice, many colleges will not survive the financial hit.
I would only add to the BreakPoint analysis, that even if the student loan situation were not an issue, the “court of public opinion” is. Christian colleges holding to a biblical view of homosexuality will be targets of increasing public shaming for being “intolerant,” “narrow minded,” and (the worst) “unloving.”
They will be painted as Southern schools of the early ‘60s with segregation policies. There will rise up a stigma associated with such schools which many Christian students (and their parents) will not be willing to carry in public.
As this stigma becomes a reality for Christian colleges, it will become a reality for Christian K-12 schools. But it will not stop there.
It will become a reality for Bible-teaching churches, too. Christian K-12 schools will be facing the prospect of losing enough students to shut their doors. This is exactly where things are headed. And churches will not be able to dodge this bullet either. The faithful everywhere will be put into public stocks and shamed.
Go here to read Christian’s entire post.
The call from the church and from Christian schools will be to LOVE. That will mean we are to let people be who they imagine themselves to be, this is the loving thing to do, and this is the love of Christ.
First the sacred-secular divide, now the love-truth divide
The SSD of an earlier generation allowed the church to avoid dealing with Evolutionism. It “freed” the mind and heart to focus on “spiritual things.” Half of the Christian life—the gospel of the kingdom and Biblical wholism—was lost.
We abandoned a unified field of knowledge. We lost what the Reformers called the pansophic principle, an integration, or coming together, of all wisdom, no matter where it may be found, into a unifying framework. The church exchanged this pansophic principle for religion, for living only in the spiritual realm, abandoning the rest of reality.
Now the “other shoe is dropping,” that is, truth and reality are being divided from love. The concern from the San Francisco youth pastor is not unique in my experience. As I have traveled and talked about postmodernism I have heard this several times. I speak about the danger of postmodern influence with its abandonment of truth and I get, from Christians, the rebuttal, “No, we just need to love. “
The implication is that love does not make distinctions. We must not make judgments on others’ claims regarding their sexual identity or on the language they use to describe themselves. This is not nice! This is not loving! Jesus wants us to “love”!
Note the quote marks. When you separate truth from love, you no longer have love, just so-called “love.” True love is the zeal to seek the highest good for another. It is to do what is good for another person, even at great cost to yourself. True love is revealed in 1 John 3:16: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
The new version of “love”
This new, redefined “love” is not love. Love does not affirm another’s false, destructive sense of identity. This is really just the opposite of love. There is no concept of right or wrong in this new “love.” To “love” is merely to affirm. To be “nice.” This, needless to say, is not love.
In God’s economy, truth and love are so entertwined that one cannot be removed without destroying both. In that way, the relationship between truth and love is analogous to the marriage relationship: a separation does great damage to both.
Consider the recent news surrounded Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State. Senator Booker (D, New Jersey) released a statement on his Facebook page saying that he would oppose the nomination. Booker made LGBT rights the driving issue. He wrote, “I believe you can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people…” He continued, “He [Pompeo] and I are Christians. We believe in the ideal and mandate, love thy neighbor.” And then he says, “There are no exceptions to this.”
For Sen. Booker, to speak of homosexuality as sin is to be unloving. In other words, love makes no distinctions between good and evil. Yes, the Bible calls us to love sinners, just as God does. But God does not love sin. Why does God hate sin? Because sin is destructive. It leads to death (Rom. 6:23). To love someone is to try to rescue them from sin and death, not to affirm them in their destructive, sinful behaviors.
Again, this separation of love and truth is parallel to the earlier artificial division of the sacred and the secular. The Sacred-Secular Divice was the church’s response to the rise of modernism, an alternative to confronting evolutionism. It was an escape from the harsh reality of cultural engagement.
The world is discipling the church
Now we are seeing a different escape. Love is being separated from truth and the church is beginning to abandon truth to embrace love. This flight is the direct result of the rejection of truth by our postmodern culture. Rather than the church discipling the world, the world has discipled the church and we are sacrificing truth on the altar of love.
- Darrow Miller
… to be continued