Treasuring Truth

What is the value of truth? Priceless. “Buy the truth and sell it not” counseled the wiseman in Proverbs 23:23 because no price can be set that matches its value. Of course, the wiseman speaking of more than just the matter of truth-telling though the clear implication is that honesty is to be highly valued (even by fishermen). But the rare and valuable commodity the sage is referring to primarily is the matter of wisdom and understanding. Core truths, foundational principles, and unchanging realities. Spurgeon said, “…we must never sell the truth, but hold it fast as a treasure that will last us when gold has cankered, and silver has rusted, and the moth has eaten up all goodly garments, and when all the riches of men have gone like a puff of smoke, or melted in the heat of the judgment day like the dew in the beams of the morning sun. Buy the truth. Here is the treasure. Cost it what it may, buy you it. Here is the piece of merchandise which you must buy, but must not sell. You may give all for it, but you may take nothing in exchange for it, since there is nothing that can be likened unto it.”

The following news item demonstrates the clear value of God’s truth that is found in His inspired and inerrant word. What happens when a church decides to no longer stand on that priceless and worthy truth? Read on..

WHEN “DISCERNMENT” LEADS TO DISASTER   

“The historic First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina, announced in May that it would declare itself be ‘open and welcoming’ to all people and that it would allow same-sex marriage and ordain openly homosexual ministers.  The move came after the church had undergone a ‘discernment’ process under the leadership of a ‘LGBT Discernment Team.’ That team brought a report to the church’s deacons, who then forwarded it to the congregation. The church then approved the statement by standing vote.

The statement is very clear: ‘In all facets of the life and ministry of our church, including but not limited to membership, baptism, ordination, marriage, teaching and committee/organizational leadership, First Baptist Greenville will not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.’….The congregation, now more than 180 years old, is one of the most historic churches in the South. It participated in the founding of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1845…. Few churches in the South can match its historical record.

Nevertheless, First Baptist Greenville and the Southern Baptist Convention had moved in very different theological directions in the last quarter of the twentieth century. The church was moving steadily in a more liberal direction and the Southern Baptist Convention was moving to affirm the inerrancy of Scripture and a far more confessional understanding of its identity.  The church and the denomination were set on a collision course, and the congregation voted to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention in 1999. If that had not happened, the SBC would have moved to withdraw fellowship on the basis of the church’s announcement in May. The denomination has adopted a policy of withdrawing fellowship from any church that affirms or endorses homosexuality….

The central issue of dispute (between the SBC and the church) was the inerrancy of the Bible. The more liberal faction in the SBC affirmed that the Bible is ‘authoritative,’ but would not affirm inerrancy. Conservatives focused their arguments on the necessary affirmation that the Bible is completely without error. Both sides knew that the issues at stake ranged far beyond inerrancy, but both sides also knew that inerrancy was the central axis around which all other issues revolved.”

Mohler goes on to say, “There are big lessons here for every church, every denomination, and every Christian institution. Once biblical inerrancy is abandoned, there is no brake on theological and moral revisionism. The Bible’s authority becomes relative, and there is no anchor to hold the church to the words of Scripture and 2,000 years of Christian witness.  The discernment process at First Baptist Church in Greenville offers us all ample lessons that should lead to a more fundamental discernment: Without the affirmation that the Bible is inerrant, ‘discernment’ leads to disaster.”

(“WHEN “DISCERNMENT” LEADS TO DISASTER” was written by Dr. Charles Wood and copied, with permission, from his private blog THE WOODCHUCK’S DEN.)

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