Head First: You can't handle the Truth!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You can't handle the Truth!

This is by no means an exhaustive commentary on the condition of the organizational church, but I think it's a pretty good insight. I wish it was my own.

Scripture refers to speaking the truth IN love. In church culture, truth and love are too often exclusive of one another. It's odd, thinking of these two virtuous terms as being unrelated, but each can be taken to an unGodly extreme, with predictably unGodly results.

I'd bet most of us could think of a situation where doing the right thing was overlooked because to do so would cause a problem for someone we don't want to hurt (love supercedes truth). Here's a fairly extreme example: A parishoner backed his truck into the new church van. So as to "protect" the parishoner from an increase in his insurance, the pastor filed a claim against the church insurance policy, calling it a hit-and-run. While most would consider it insurance fraud, this was thought of as "Grace" (this really happened).

And I'm certain we know people who don't give a second thought to the venom they spew in the name of being "right" (truth supercedes love). Example: most fundamentalist preachers, far too many pro-life activists.

I don't think there's any denying that love-over-truth has played a part in creating the consumerist pandering of the cultural church. Truth-over-love, on the other hand has developed into legalism and political activism (right and left). I guess that's what happens when the Holy Spirit is no longer invited to the party, eh?

Balance must be possible, else scripture wouldn't have suggested it. How can love and truth be lived out so that neither is diminished?


dh said...

Keep the great posts coming. It is so hard when people speak truth but don't do it in love. It so clouds the true message give. However, we must not fall into the trap of saying it isn't truth because of the legalism. I keep going back and forth on this. Hopefully your posts will help. Keep me on the truth that I know in my heart to share with others but do so in a way that makes people attracted to Christ but not in a relatavistic or universalistic way.

Love your site man. :)

dorsey said...

Thanks for the kind words, dh. You have some pretty good comments yourself over on Jason Clark's site (http://emergent.typepad.com/jasonclark/). This is a great forum for iron to sharpen iron, don't you think?

Be blessed.

jeff said...

In all things there will arise extremes. Especially in the judgement between truth and love.

IMHO, the balance to the key between judgmentalism and greasy-grace is summed-up in the word Integrity. There must always be a balance between justice and compassion. Jesus was the perfect example of this, as is evident in his dealings with the woman caught in the sin of adultery (compassion for the sinner, yet He said, "Go and sin no more"). Yet he had no patience for those who would "cast the first stone" in the name of righteousness (cloaking their own hypocrisy). Jesus loved the sinners but hated the sins. As the old church saying goes, He loved me in my sin, but loved me enough not to leave me that way!. Pretty cool.

For me Micah 6:8 says it best. "He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?"

Justice, Mercy and Humility. Makes sense to me...

da said...

Amen, Jeff. Man if you and Dorsey were in my city here in KCMO I would suggest a Bible study. Man you guys are great. :)

Dorsey and Jeff just curious where you guys are geographically.

Charity said...

You guys have probably already said this, but, I think that Christ balanced the truth/love scale when he died for our sins and saved us from the "truth" of the law which is that the wages of sin is death. That is was justification and propitation and all those lovely theological terms mean. So, I think that demonstrating and giving love first will always convict one of the truth. An example would be the woman at the well. The Lord did tell her the truth of her situation but he first loved her enough to "expose" her to the living water.
So, if I had to choose, I would choose love because truth will follow with pure love.

BruceD said...

What if truth IS love?

Pauly said...

Here's the truth: the church committed fraud. One of two things should have happened if the church was really trying to protect the parishioner.
1. Have the parishioner pay for it to be fixed out of his own pocket. After all, it was clearly his fault. Why burden the church?
2. If the church truly was concerned because of the parishioner's financial condition, money from the church's benevolence fund should have been used to pay for the damage. The parishioner, in return could have provided some service to the church to help pay for it. Mow the lawn, clean the parking lot, clean the sanctuary after service, etc.

The church leadership should be held accountable for this overt, blatant abuse. Are they really "helping" this parishioner? "How then, shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world, but forfiets his soul?" Too bad for the way it was handled. It should be brought up, maybe even reported to the State Board of Insurance.

dorsey said...

That's an interesting thought, philosophically. In it's truest application, truth and love should be indistinguishable.

Practically, however, I've seen the distinction made far too often.

Thanks for your comment. Check back often.