Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Not doctrinaire. . .

It has become fashionable to disdain the doctrinaire, those who insist upon a certain truth or who have a clear identity of right and wrong.  The liberality of our age finds nothing so true that it can be true for all.  We must coexist.  Literally.  Competing truths must coexist.  Ethics must be situational and personal.  Different choices for circumstances for different people.  Different strokes for different folks.  It is all good.  At least if we keep saying it, it must be true.  Right?  Well, at least as true as anything can be true.

There is good reason for eschewing truth.  If there is no truth, there is no falsehood.  If there is no orthodoxy, there is no heresy.  If there is no right, there can be no wrong.  It all becomes a fuzzy middle that is left without passion except for the enforcement of this muddy middle.  That is where the voices of the enforces come in.  They will not accept any truth except what is true in the moment and true for you.  Of course there are limits.  Your truth cannot impinge upon others.  What you believe is ultimately private unless that truth defines you.  You can wear your identity of the moment or decorate your body as you will but you have no right to challenge the identity or question the decorations of others.  You have only one choice.  To affirm the feelings of others and their conclusions and their choices.  Anything else is not allowed.  In this way there are no winners or losers.  It is all good.

The lack of an objective truth has limits.  Coexistence has weakness.  It cannot really unite (except in a superficial way).  It cannot rally (except against that which offends).  It has no legs.  It is fragile and volatile.  Its sand shifts and part of the game is simply keeping up with the constantly moving ground beneath your feet.  So we find in politics and religion a curious alliance against ideology and a suspicion of truth.  Instead of ideology or truth, we have affirmation and feelings seeking affirmation.  About all things, we are pro-choice.  But about the choices themselves we cannot speak.  We are for options but against specific choices that would bind us to anything.  And it is into this that the Church must speak.

The Church speaks truth.  That means we know that there is error, falsehood, and heresy.  We do not address error or falsehood or heresy simply to say "no" but to be true to God's "yes" in Christ.  It is an exclusive Gospel that is inclusive in its saving truth and power.  It speaks against as a consequence of speaking for.  It is not pro-choice but pro-life -- the life of Christ that saves, forgives, and renews.  So the Church is doctrinaire.  She speaks truth, confesses the creed, and holds up light in darkness.  And she will always risk being seen as divisive.  She will always risk offending those who refuse such truth.  She will even risk being seen as a voice of hate when the Law is spoken in its sharpness even though it is not the final word she speaks.  It may well be that some will not listen long enough to hear the Gospel.  That should not deter us.  The cause is too great.  We must risk all of these things for the sake of Christ and His Word because it is by this Word that any and all who live shall be saved.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

The distinction has moved from acting respectfully toward and beint tolerant of points of views, other religions, etc. to granting them the status of being "equally true" ....

That is a huge shift, sadly, many Christians have been deceived into thinking that respect and tolerance means "it's ok for you."

No, it is not.

John 14:6-7

"Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

John J. Flanagan said...
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