From the Disk of the Pastor February 2010
Dear Friends in Christ,
Pontius Pilate asked Christ, what is truth? That is a question that is often not asked today. Pilate’s question suggests that he was a Roman skeptic. In Roman society, there were three basic philosophical positions. The stoics were focused upon duty. The epicureans were focused upon pleasure and self gratification. The skeptics viewed life an unknowable farce. Truth existed, but us fallible human beings could not know truth. Thus, since we could not know truth, our actions would always be flawed. We had no chance of getting it right.
In contrast, today people ask is there such a thing as truth. In fact many have gone beyond this and insisted that there is no truth. We call this “Post Modernism.” Post Modern thought is in fact not new at all. It has its current day roots is in the work of the nineteenth century philosopher Frederick Nitsche. It is also closely tied to Fascist thinking. Philosopher Martin Heidigger is one the heros of post modern scholars. He was a card carrying Nazi and an active supporter of Hitler. The father of post modern deconstructionism was Yale professor Paul de Mann. De Mann was born in Belgium and during World War II was busy writing pro Nazi propaganda. If there is no truth, there is only power. Might makes right. If you have the power to enforce your will, then your will becomes truth.
This the challenge facing the church today. Many of the people we encounter will not believe that there is such a thing as truth. Truth is whatever I think it is. Often times we will have to do some pre-evangelism. We will have to show people that truth is objective. One of the simplest arguments is in medicine. Do you want to go to a doctor who doesn’t think that there is such a thing as truth? Such a doctor might well say you don’t have cancer if you think you don’t. How catastrophic such medicine would be! People would die because they didn’t understand their true situation.
For us, God’s Word is truth. Here is where we turn to diagnose our condition. In the Word we see that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves. We are lost and damned. We need an objective cure. We need our sins to be taken from us. Christ Jesus does just that in His death on the cross. This is the objective reality that offers hope to the world.
In a couple weeks we will enter the season of Lent. Lent is a time of cold, hard, objective facts. It is a time when we confront our sinfulness. We do this because it is true. We are not like Pilate wondering what truth is. We are not like the post modernists who think that truth is whatever they say it is. We are Christians. As St. Paul says “Love rejoices in the truth.” (I Cor. 13:6) He is echoing the words of the Psalmist: “Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Ps. 119:104) And so look at the truth of our sins. We do not flinch from it. It is painful, but it is a mark of our love, not only for our Lord and our selves, but also for our neighbor. For by looking at the truth of our sins, we look at how we can better serve our neighbor. But we also look at the truth of our Savior - Jesus Christ. The Law teaches us God’s will, but the Gospel teaches us that Christ has already fulfilled God’s will in our place. This gives us a new reason for seeking to fulfill the Law - love for Christ and love for our neighbor. This is the truth we seek for ourselves and the truth we seek to share with others.
Rev. Jody Walter