home > Pastor’s Desk > 2022 > November 18th > WHY FINDING TRUTH MATTERS

John 8:31 ¶ So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, John 8:32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”What value do people find in religion? Perhaps for many Hindus they might be attracted to its diversity and inclusiveness. Perhaps for many Buddhists they might be attracted to its offer of peacefulness. Perhaps for many Jews and proselytes they might be attracted to its long history and traditions. Perhaps for many Muslims they might be attracted to its strength of convictions, its muscularity. And perhaps for most Christians they may have been attracted to Christianity because it is true. Christianity is grounded in the truth. We live in a very spiritual world where 99% of the world’s population profess one form of religion or another. Within our spiritual world there are spiritual forces at work that particularly oppose Christianity because of its truth claims – and in fact, these forces go so far as to deny truth itself! These forces vigorously attempt to hinder people from seeing the truth by confusing even the concept of truth with vacuous suggestions whispered in people’s inner ears, such as find your truth — as if there are different versions of the truth each contradicting each other. Because truth is the greatest strength of Christianity, every follower of Christ and His Word should know the truth and why it is true.

The truth claims of Christianity are subject to the same tests and requirements of proof that any truth claims are subject to: can the claim be tested? and, can the truth claim be verified? In the case of Christianity the answer to both questions is affirmative.  

¶ And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:14, 17

C.S. LewisC.S. (Jack) Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia) and J.R.R. Tolkien (author of Lord of The Rings) were good friends. They both worked at Oxford University and caught up with each other every week at their local establishment. C.S. Lewis was not a Christian, in fact, he self-described himself as an atheist. In both of their worlds ancient and classic literature reigned – especially its mythology. To scholars of such literature mythology was how the people of long ago wrote about the inter-connectedness of this world with the supernatural realm. Stories of flying dragons, hideously evil creatures, heroes of great courage and military prowess, talking animals, and demigods all revealed something about the truths which the people of those by-gone eras sought to capture.

J.R.R. TolkienOne day Tolkien and Lewis were walking taking a walk and talking about spiritual matters. Tolkien put a question and a proposition to Lewis. After asking Jack if he enjoyed reading mythology (which Lewis did) he asked Jack if he knew what it was that separated Christianity from all other “myths”? Lewis didn’t know. Then Tolkien said: Jack, Christianity is true myth! It actually happened! That’s the thing which distinguishes it from all other myths. This conversation had a profound effect upon Lewis. He came to see that his friend was correct. A short time afterwards, unable to get this new and glorious thought out of his mind, C.S. Lewis came to accept, albeit reluctantly, that he now had no choice but to become a Christian—because it was true

This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Saviour,
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
First Timothy 2:3-4

The thing that distinguishes Christianity from all other religions is that its claims are true. That is, they are verifiable and testable. (Read more here.)

If you are ever asked, Why are you a Christian? I hope I can show you why you should answer, “Because I have good reason for believing it’s true!” Conversely, if you are ever asked, “But why not be a Buddhist, or a Hindu, or a Muslim?” I hope you will come to know that you also have good reasons for replying, “Because I have good reasons for believing they are not true.”

How can we determine whether a claim is true or false?

Truth matters because it is the basis for accepting and applying the revelation of God’s Word so that people can find peace with God and live meaningful lives.Some people think there are different kinds of truth — my truth, their truth, and your truth. But how do they know that their assessment of truth is true? After all, their assessment – that there is my/their/your truth might just be based on their truth rather than the truth. Truth has certain qualities that distinguishes it from what is false-

  1.  Truth corresponds to reality.
  2.  Truth is verifiable (that is, if it is true, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
  3.  Truth is falsifiable (that is, if it is false, it can be evidentially shown to be so).
  4.  Truth is sometimes testable (that is, claims that are experiential can be tested by experience – including scientific claims, historic claims, and existential claims).

We have good reasons for the believing that the Bible is true because it is the divinely inspired, reliable and authoritative Word of God which has been superintendedly preserved by the Holy Spirit (read more about this).

The sum of your Word is truth,
and every one of your righteous rules endures forever.
Psalm 119:160

What you believe determines how you behave, how you treat others, and how you respond to life’s setbacks — and ultimately how you will die. If you believe that you are indestructible you are going to cross a highway of speeding cars hurtling in both directions in quite a different way to me (I will use the overpass by the way). If you believe that God is an angry god who demands appeasement from you outweighing your good deeds over against your bad deeds – then you are going to live differently to a Christian — and you will also die differently because you will never know whether you have done enough good deeds to appeasement angry-god. Following Christ and accepting His claims and commands as true will result in the follower living quite differently compared to those who have no hope (Eph. 2:12).

O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth?
You have struck them down,
but they felt no anguish;
You have consumed them,
but they refused to take correction.
They have made their faces harder than rock;
they have refused to repent.
Jeremiah 5:3

The challenge that those who know the truth have is to share it winsomely to a world who hates the truth because it is like a bright light being shone into their darkness (John 1:9-11). But just because there are spiritual forces which are literally hell-bent on keeping people from seeing and understanding the truth it does not mean that we should cower to their intimidation and keep silent (Eph. 5:11). Truth should be contended for in a culture that has often been beguiled by lies (Jude 3). We, the Church, are called to be custodians of the truth revealed in God’s revelation of His Word to mankind. This may mean that we won’t win the approval or applause of man, but when we do so gently with respect from a heart that genuinely loves it will challenge those in the media, those in the legislature, and sometimes even those in pulpits.  

If I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God,
which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth.
First Timothy 3:15

This is why finding truth matters!

Your Pastor,

Andrew

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AMAZING ACCESS

Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.

THE 5 MOST IMPORTANT YEARS OF ANYONE’S LIFE

Parents, Kids Church leaders, and Christian school teachers should be intentional about shaping children to be fully devoted followers of Christ who have reasons for believing Christianity is true – which shapes them into virtuous contributors to society and to find their role in God’s Kingdom. This will be one of the necessary and indispensable means for the Church to fulfil the Great Commission of Christ.

TIME- YOU CAN’T CONTROL IT – BUT YOU CAN LEARN FROM IT

We live in a fast paced world. We expect things to happen quickly. None of us like to be kept waiting. Even when we order something online we expect it delivered straight away. Some of us having to work two or even three jobs just to be able to pay the bills. We describe ourselves as time-poor. Yet, we all get twenty-four-hours in a day. Sixty-minutes in an hour. And sixty-seconds in a minute. Most of us need to adjust how we see, understand, and treat our time. This will involve, what will be for some, adopting a foreign and largely unaccustomed view of time that involves worship, sabbath, and deepening relationships. From this biblical perspective we will come to see time as a gift from God, not a curse, or source of frustration. Within this gift of time God teaches us how to worship in those times when it is difficult to do so. Rather than thinking this divine gift of time is ours to do with what ever we want, God uses this gift to teach us that we should gift it back to Him beginning with (but not limited to) treating Sunday as a sabbath to come together to recommit our hearts, voices, minds, and presence with God’s people, back to God. God gives us passing time to learn to deepen relationships – especially with our kin, and our friends. Time is meant for relationship building. 

I AM WHO I AM BUT I AM NOT WHO I USED TO BE BUT I AM NOT YET WHO I WILL BE

One of the greatest lies that the would-be enemy of all our souls attempts to perpetuate is that we are what we are and we can never change. This lie is whispered into the ears of many people’s invisible ears so imperceptibly that they actually think it originated with them. “You were born this way – and you can never change”, “This is who you really are – and you can never change”, “There’s no hope of anything ever changing for better – so you might as well just kill yourself” and so on. But these sly alien voices inside the heads of the vulnerable are lies. People can change. People do change. Some circumstances were always going to be temporary and were always going to change. I know this is true because I am living proof. I am who I am but I am not who I used to be and I am not yet who I will be.

WHO DOES THIS EPHESIANS FELLA THINK HE IS?!

It may well still be the best-selling book of all time – and continues year-by-year to be so – but certainly is not the best-read of our current times! If there was ever any doubt about this, the events this week in Hobart, at St. Mary’s (Catholic) College Girl’s School, should remove all doubt! A furore erupted over the news that the prescribed Scripture reading for the year-end graduation celebration, which incorporated a Mass, was “Wives submit to your husbands” taken from Ephesians. Callers into ABC radio’s breakfast program decried this assault against women – especially young, vulnerable girls. One caller, responding to the news that the text being used was a citation from Ephesians, denounced Ephesians and apparently demanded, “Just who does this Ephesians bloke think he is?!” Another caller stated, “Why are they quoting ancient Roman philosophers in the twenty-first century?!” And yet another caller somehow linked all religious wars to passages like this one in the Bible! He remarked, “I’m an atheist. All wars are started by those who are religious! No war was ever started by atheists!” (Perhaps he had never heard of Stalin, Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Vladimir Putin, who were collectively responsible for the deaths of over 20,000,000?) This furore led to the Archbishop conceding that the Ephesians passage did not have to be used at the graduation ceremony. But this furore has highlighted just how unaware many Tasmanians are about what the Bible is, what is actually says, and why it says it. And I am now about to correct this deficiency.  

THE LORD IS MY ROCK

Of the many tributes paid to her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, was the often noted reflection that during her reign the world underwent a series of rapid changes that were dramatic and unprecedented in human history. There were technological inventions that revolutionised the way people could access international travel options enabling them to be virtually anywhere in the world within a matter of hours. New forms of communication emerged with the development of a global satellite communications network enabling people to watch Neil Armstrong take his one giant leap Live on their black-and-white TV screens (as I did in the corridors of Corio Primary School in 1969). Space exploration, the stuff previously just in the realm of science fiction writers, became a reality with manned and unmanned voyages to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. But the past one hundred years have also been a time of great upheaval with empires crumbling, governments toppled, wars waged, genocides committed, pandemics raging, nations birthed, rulers assassinated, and massive refugee movements from oppressive Islamic and Communist regimes. Added to this has been the demise of professional journalism and the rise of internet-citizen-journalism where it is now common for TV News reports to feature footage taken from someone’s cell-phone which was posted on social media rather than the more expensive option of sending their own film crew there. And while we’re mentioning the internet, let’s not forget to mention – the internet. This alone has possibly been the most monumental change in the way people communicate, work, learn, and shop. But while it was noted that the Queen had witnessed all of these many changes, it was also noted that the Queen herself was an unchanging constant during all these upheavals who brought about a sense of stability, peace and reassurance. To millions of people around the world, she was their rock in a world of turmoil and change. Yet this was only possible because she herself had an immovable, dependable rock upon which she had built her life.

WHO BUILDS A CITY ON A HILL?

home > Pastor's Desk > 2022 > October 7th > Who Builds A City On A HillFor those who don’t know, I was born in Geelong, and have always been fan of the Geelong Football Club. But I’m not just a fan, I’m a paid-up member of the Club. In fact, I’m a student...

5 INDISPENSABLE GUIDELINES FOR NEW PARENTS

This is not for everyone. If you are already a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my other more abstract Pastor’s Desk articles. If you are not a parent and have no intention of ever being a parent, this is not for you. Instead of reading this I suggest you read one of my more weighty articles on FindingTruthMatters.org. If you are not yet a parent and one day hope to become a parent, this is for you. Find a quiet place, take the next six minutes thirteen seconds and use the reading of this article as an investment into your future parenting strategies. I did not invent these guidelines. Like many parents who have also discovered the value of these guidelines, once discovered, they seem obvious. These successful parents probably grew up with own parents who inculcated these guidelines almost intuitively. However, my suspicion is that this is becoming increasingly rarer. As with all true guidelines they are adaptable, flexible, and are not a guarantee of parental success — but if ignored they become the point in the mathematical problem solving where you can see you made an error in your working out. In other words, while these guidelines may not guarantee success, if ignored their neglect almost certainly leads to frustration and disappointment. Here are five indispensable guidelines for every prospective new parent.

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE FOR ATHEIST & MAGICIAN PENN JILLETTE TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN?

I’ve been praying for Penn Jillette for some time now. It began when I first heard him ridicule the Bible and Christianity. My fascination with Penn (and Teller), and other world-class magicians, has been due to my pursuit to develop my craft of preaching. There are a lot of similarities between preachers and magicians (just as there is also a lot similarities between solo musicians and preachers). I seek to learn from magicians about how to keep an audience’s attention, how to tell a story, and how to make a point by employing the element of surprise. But there are some significant differences between what magicians do and what preachers do though. A magician is deliberately deceptive. A preacher is striving to uphold truth in an honest way.

THINK ABOUT THIS

In Australia, it’s football finals time and the U.S. the last Grand Slam event for the year has just concluded. I find a lot of life lessons from observing elite athletes — including and especially those who play football and those who play tennis. Most people might consider football to be a team sport and tennis to be individual sport. But the distinction is not so clear these days. Often times footballers are individually coached by “position coaches” and a tennis player is often just who the public sees of a team of people responsible for the performance of that player. At the time of writing, there are remaining four Australian Rules Football (AFL) teams about to play off in the Preliminary Finals (including my beloved Geelong Cats). Last weekend, Carlos Alcaraz of Spain defeated Casper Ruud of Norway. Both players have intriguing stories which I will mention shortly. In the AFL, after a disastrous last season, the Collingwood Magpies appointed a new coach for this season, Craig McRae. Even though they got off to a slow start this season, under McRae’s oversight ended up having an 11-straight winning streak toward the end of the season and now look like genuine  Premiership contenders. What do Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Ruud, Craig McRae, and the Collingwood football team, all have in common? All the players at the elite level of their sport make an enormous commitment to train, practice, sleep, hydrate, and eat a regulated diet. Yet at the very highest levels in their respective sporting codes the difference between the elite and the extra-elite is no longer skill or fitness. In fact, the difference between them is so applicable to everyday life that it may be the most relevant and do-able thing you hear for a long time. So, think about this.