Monday, July 02, 2007

The Truth War

YBC...what can I say?

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Yosemite Bible Camp but it was my first ever experience. What an absolute blast!

205 participated in this year's edition of YBC, sponsored by the Woodward Park church. From the classes to the campfire, from the softball to the spiritual sharing, it was fantastic. My duty was to teach the high school class, all 52 of them. I feared I would be unable to hold their attention for the daily hour-and-a-half class sessions but my fears were unfounded. The kidos did awesome and their questions and sharing challenged me in a host of wonderful ways.

The staff, led by Mike Avedikian and Steve Powers, was awesome; the kids and their rapt attention at every spiritual encounter was incredible; and God, well, he blessed us with great weather and a wonderful harvest. Six young people committed their life to Jesus and were baptized during the week.

To God be the glory!

(As soon as Cheri Walters sends me pictures, I'll post some so you can get a feel of the blessed week all of us enjoyed at YBC).


Despite the demands of camp, I've been able to get through a couple of books I've been chomping at the bit to read.

One is The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception by John MacArthur. In the book, MacArthur takes to task the postmodern inclination sweeping Christianity that undermines the existence of absolute truth.

On balance, MacArthur's book is a must-read, especially for anyone who has found the Emerging Church movement to be the end-all, be-all of the contemporary church.

"A secular writer doing an article on the Emerging Church movement and postmodern Christianity summed up the character of the movement this way: 'What makes a postmodern ministry so easy to embrace is that it doesn't demonize youth culture -- Marilyn Manson, South Park, or gangsta rap, for example -- like traditional fundamentalists. Postmodern congregants aren't challenged to reject the outside world.'

I've noticed the same thing. Whole churches have deliberately immersed themselves in 'the culture' -- by which they actually mean 'whatever the world loves at the moment.' Thus we now have a new breed of trendy churches whose preachers can rattle off references to every popular icon, every trifling meme, every tasteless fashion, and every vapid trend that captures the fickle fancy of the postmodern, secular mind. Worldly preachers seem to go out of their way to put their carnal expertise on display -- even in their sermons. In the name of 'connecting with the culture' they boast of having seen all the latest programs on MTV; memorized every episode of South Park; learned the lyrics to countless tracks of gangsta rap and heavy metal music; or watched who-knows-how-many R-rated movies. They seem to know every fad from top to bottom, back to front, inside out. They've adopted the style and the language of the world -- including lavish use of language that used to be deemed inappropriate in polite society, much less in the pulpit. They want to fit right in with the world and they seem to be making themselves quite comfortable there" (140).

Has there been a lot of compromise in the name of "all things to all people"? Certainly and perhaps the gravest consequence is the emergence of the culture's conversion of the church when it should be reversed. What MacArthur aims to inject into the discussion is a resolve to stand for truth, as revealed in the Word of God, even in the face of a culture that rejects the existence of such truth.

Frankly, I appreciated this book as much as any I've read in some time. Based on the little letter of Jude, MacArthur holds nothing back in showing how the fight for truth is as old as the first century. He articulates a return to the reality that absolute truth is revealed in the Word of God and underscores the danger of minimizing or rejecting the truth God has revealed.

"The idea that the Christian message should be kept pliable and ambiguous seems especially attractive to young people who are in tune with the culture and in love with the spirit of the age and can't stand to have authoritative biblical truth applied with precision as a corrective to worldly lifestyles, unholy minds, and ungodly behavior.

But that is not authentic Christianity. Not knowing what you believe (especially on a matter as essential to Christianity as the gospel) is by definition a kind of unbelief. Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is a particularly stubborn and pernicious kind of unbelief. Advocating ambiguity, exalting uncertainty, or otherwise deliberately clouding the truth is a sinful way of nurturing unbelief" (xi).


Finally, I'm off to the Bay Area this morning for my final premarital counseling sesssion with Cory and Joelle before their wedding on Saturday. Tonight, my good friend, John Wiegand and I will take in the A's and Blue Jays game at Oakland. John has graciously agreed to house me overnight in advance of my girls' return into San Jose on Tuesday.

As excited as I am about being with good friends today, that excitement doesn't hold a candle to the anticipation of seeing my girls again.

Have a great Monday living out the truth of God's Word.