Think of all the things you “knew” growing up. My list is long of things I knew to be true – without a shadow of a doubt. (That’s how we always said it). You know, self-evident truth. I grew up in a town of 6000 people in Western Nebraska. Never knew anyone who wasn’t white and mostly Protestant.
1. Catholics meant well but were part of the end time plot of the Babylonian Anti-Christ called “Rome.” We could associate with the Charismatic ones since they seem to “know Jesus” but the rest were for sure doomed.
2. Baptist didn’t have the Holy Spirit (I grew up Pentecostal), so they were pretty far off. Obviously Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians and other main-line liberals were wrong about almost everything. We should be nice to them, but from a distance as their values could rub off on us.
3. People of other religions were just ignorant. If they could only see Christianity, they would convert and then be happy.
4. The whole Bible was true. Inspired. Inerrant and never to be questioned – at least not in the King James Version. (By the way, just so you don’t freak on me – I still believe it’s true and inspired).
5. You went to church when the doors were open. That would be Sunday school. Sunday morning service. Sunday night service. Wednesday night service. And special occasions. And you dressed in your best because that’s what God expects.
6. “Church” was a place. It was an event. And, yes, it was “a called-out people.” Who were called to be “in but not of the world.”
7. We had the Holy Spirit only when we spoke in tongues according to Acts 2:4. If you didn’t….then you didn’t.
8. You could easily lose your salvation – and I did a lot – so you had to repent and stop backsliding and come back to God. I think I did that every Sunday night!
9. Israel was God’s chosen people! God promised them all the land, so they should have it. And who are those pesky Arabs in the way!
10. America was God’s unique instrument to bring His kingdom to this world. Manifest Destiny was alive and well in my upbringing.
Frankly, I could go on for pages. Things I “knew” to be true. Some were taught. Others just caught. Most were unquestioned.
So what does this mean? Does it mean that all truth is relative? That we are simply confused like a child who’s lost in the grocery store? That we are intentionally lied to by others in authority?
Here’s my take on that from where I sit (which is in the corner of my basement in Denver). No. No. No. None of those. I have more faith than to say it that way Truth is not at all relative – we just don’t know it all. We slightly confused, true. But not lost. We have been found and The Truth can be known. It is known in and through and by Jesus! So we are partially confused because we’re humans (seeing through a dark glass, Paul says) but we aren’t lost. And I think only a few in authority intentionally lie to others. They are victims like the rest of us, of seeing the truth only partially. Unfortunately leaders don’t always admit that and so they appear to be better off and closer to the truth than they really are – thus leading us astray due to their arrogance and ignorance – but not intentionally so.
You want to know truth? It’s a person. Follow Him and you will know!