Fighting for Truth
By Chris Rathbone
You and I as Christians, are living in dangerous and troubling times. The Apostle Paul certainly wrote truth when he told Timothy, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof; from such turn away.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
Just in the last couple of decades since I’ve been in ministry as a pastor, we can look around us and see these scriptures along with many others being fulfilled right in front of us. These rapid changes in our nation, too many people, even Christians, seem to go unnoticed or they seem oblivious to the way culture has shifted. Many even seem ok with it! Sadly, there has been such a drastic shift in the many churches to liberal beliefs, that often one cannot tell the church from the world. Christians, including pastors and preachers, have been constantly pressured to conform to new norms that the world around us has been pushing. Folks want to claim heaven while living for hell! The preaching of holy and righteous living often is a thing of the past and if one does, they are labeled as hateful and mean spirited. The truth of scripture has been compromised and watered down to the point that when someone preaches truth it is labeled as hate. When people have been conditioned by weak theology for so long, the truth becomes offensive because they aren’t used to hearing it!
Over the years in ministry, there have been many occasions when I’ve been asked for counsel by individuals. Often questions will be asked, and I do my best to give Biblical answers. You just wouldn’t believe how sometimes Scriptural truth is met with anger and rejection. I’ve concluded that people are looking for the Bible to somehow condone sinful behavior instead of searching for truth to stand on and help them through their situations. And it’s not just from counseling sessions. Preachers and Pastors, including myself, are confronted by people who have been “offended” by Biblical sermons that have been preached. The anger is directed toward the messenger, but the truth is they are angry about being told the truth.
Herein lies the problem: People have been taught to doubt the authority of Scripture. Paul told Timothy that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 4:16-17. Read this next statement very carefully: If we come to the point where Scripture is no longer the standard by which we measure our faith and practice, then anything goes. When the Bible is no longer how we learn what we are supposed to be believed and how we are to strive to live, then we have no foundation on which to stand. Instead, man will be blown about by every false doctrine and teaching that comes along. I’m not surprised by how the unbelieving world lives but I am heartbroken by how those who claim to be believers in Christ choose to live.
Paul charged Timothy to preach the Word, meaning the Scriptures. There was coming a time when man would not want sound doctrine but would raise up teachers who would teach them what they wanted to hear. They would turn away from the truth and turn to fables (2 Tim. 4:1-5). This is being played out right before our eyes Christians. There are men purposely preaching false messages to appease the masses who are more than happy to hear them. Man has always struggled with striving to conform to God’s word. Now man has simply quit trying, making up his own truth and raising up false teachers who are more than glad to accommodate them.
Again, I’m not talking about those who are unbelievers, I’m talking about those who claim to be born again, who name the name of Jesus and intentionally reject the truth of Scripture. The Bible never defines marriage in any other way than between a man and a woman. Yet here we are arguing over same-sex marriage. According to Scripture, God has always recognized life in a mother’s womb, but we have Christians defending abortion. The fact of the matter is abortion kills babies! Sex outside of marriage is fornication (sexual sin), but for the most part, the modern church just shrugs it off and gets angry with preachers who teach sex is for the covenant of marriage. Lying is wrong, but we are often afraid to call someone out on it. When many Christians are confronted with behaviors in their life that are wrong, they will scream, “Don’t you judge me!” The simple fact is they just don’t want anyone, even if it’s Biblical, to tell them the truth.
Folks listen, we’ve got a hard road ahead of us in this world. The Bible says that it will only get worse. However, we must never give up on standing for truth according to the Bible. You and I are not responsible for whether people will receive what is truth. Our responsibility is to make the truth of Christ known, to make His teachings known. While doing this there will be rejection, persecution, and often we will be hated for it. But someone has to decide which is more important, pleasing God or pleasing man. I for one would rather preach the word of God and suffer the consequences of man than to preach the word of man and suffer the consequences of God. Help me my fellow Christians to fight for the truth!
Preacher Chris Rathbone serves as Pastor at Mine Creek Baptist Church.