Ok, sing with me, “Old McDonald had a farm, and Bingo was his name O”! This is a quote from my 3-year old daughter Joy. Cute; pitch perfect; yet missing the mark in some way. The other day we were out to lunch together and while she sat on the other side of the booth stacking coffee creamers she leaned in and told me, “this is polymana”. I asked quizzically, “what is polymana?” She said, “It’s something you do on Christmas morning”. “How do you do it?” I asked. “Just like this”, she said as she continued to stack the creamers on the table. Note to self, add coffee creamers to our Christmas shopping list so we can “polymana” together on Christmas morning.
It’s easy to get a little mixed up in our facts, like getting the lyrics to a song wrong, or to make up our own facts like creating a new word- and a new Christmas tradition. Of course my daughter is only 3… We expect a higher level of thought from grownups right? But it’s still easy to get facts a little mixed up. I was having a conversation the other day with a man about Bible translations. He informed me that he only reads the King James version of the Bible. I love King Jim. I cut my teeth on thee’s and thou’s, and the poetry of the Psalms and Proverbs. But as newer translations have come out I find it laborious to read. Sometimes the labor helps me to slow down and absorb the content, but most of the time I’m just trying wade through a form of English no longer written or spoken. So I asked him, “why do you only read KJV?” He began to inform me that ALL the other translations were taken from the KJV and that he would just assume read the original English translation. I started to engage him about his incorrect facts (The majority of modern translations including the most read, RSV, NRSV, NIV, NLT, ESV, NASB, all take their source material from Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, whereas the KJV was translated from all Greek), but I didn’t get anywhere, and when the conversation shifted I dropped it.
How many times have you engaged another individual on a subject around which you have some level of competency and been stunned by a lack of agreement of facts? I’m not talking about opinions- everybody has opinions. I’m talking about verifiable truth that is denied by the person on the other end of the conversation. Our world has become so postmodern that facts are seen as relative. Friedrich Nietzsche, the noted atheist and author once wrote, “If one were to prove this God of the Christians to us, we should be even less able to believe in him”; and “It is our preference that decides against Christianity, not arguments”. Stunning. In this statement we see that truth is not so much a matter of objectivity as much as it is a matter of decision- such that what is true for you may not be true for me. God bless the hearts of those who hold on to this relativistic worldview. The end result is chaos. If there is no truth there is no God. If there is no God then there is no moral law. If there is no moral law then anything goes. If anything goes then on what basis do we categorize atrocities such as 911, or the Paris attacks last week as “evil”? Anything goes in a world where what is true for you may not be true for me. And I challenge any atheist who considers a terrorist attack to be a moral tragedy to also consider from where their basis of morality finds its source. Social contracts are not enough if the terms continue to change and the dotted lines are signed in invisible ink.
To my Christian brothers and sisters, we have to stand for truth. In John 8:31 Jesus tells His disciples, “If you continue in my Word you are my disciples indeed, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. In the Word of God we find a standard; a plumb line on which we square all the other areas in life. When blessings hit we acknowledge God and bask in His joy. When tragedy strikes, we acknowledge God and find comfort in His grace. And somehow in the midst of it all through the encouragement of the scriptures we find peace and are implored to be thankful in all things. Is it easy? Sometimes. Is it worthwhile? Always. There is not a single area in life where if we submit ourselves to the truth of the Word of God and the standard of the whole council of the Scriptures that we will not be changed and brought into the likeness of God in the depths of our souls. But it takes some digging; some searching; some pain when we find our habits at odds. The confidence we are given though is in a foundation that doesn’t shift or change, and a contract written in blood by the one who redeems us by that same blood.
One day I will correct Joy’s version of Old Bingo McDonald, or at least sing for her the way it is supposed to go. Not yet though because it’s pretty cute! I want her to have fun and be creative and sing! I also want her to grow up believing in objective truth. God has a purpose for her, and in this purpose there is a right and wrong way to live. God has called her to follow Him in the ways and means of Jesus her Savior, and in this she will be blessed. The same goes for all of us. There is a blessing awaiting us in our pursuit of the truth in the Word of God.