The Issue of Truth
However this may be (and we shall say more about it later), the result of these omissions is that part of the biblical gospel is now preached as if it were the whole of that gospel; and a half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth.
At the time I specifically emphasized that Packer was here accusing the Evangelical church of, in effect, preaching an untrue gospel by the the artifice of selective omission. It’s difficult to imagine a more serious charge that could be brought against Christian pastors than this. So, let no one suggest that my concern for truthfulness is partisan with regard to the PCUSA leadership.
Packer placed his finger exactly on the primary method that has been used in recent generations to teach untruth about the Christian faith. That is, the untruth does not consist of outright false statements, but rather by statements that while “true” in a narrow, legalistic sense, are actually false due to careful, selective omission.
I have addressed this situation at numerous points, but most directly in Jesus Christ Avatar, where I discussed the falsification of the Person and Purpose of Jesus Christ by this very means.
What we find instead is passage after passage that either nakedly claims that they are following Jesus Christ, or, telling us what they believe Jesus taught, often in the most general and/or selective terms, without the slightest attempt at demonstration. And, what do these authors tell us that Jesus teaches and believes? He teaches and believes exactly as they already believe! This stunning development has been commented upon in numerous posts, including an in-depth treatment in Presbytery of the Cascades: Amending Marriage (1 of 2).
I contend that through the incessant repetition of these misleading statements postmodern Christians have emptied Jesus Christ of who He is and refilled him with who they would like him to be. They have turned him into an avatar whose purpose is to act as an embodiment of their philosophy. He has been turned into “that guy who surely agrees with whatever I decide is good and true” as opposed to the objectively real incarnation of God who said and did specific things that are authoritative in defining our Christian understanding of faith and it’s playing out in our lives.
We know that the lack of truthfulness is as old as sin itself. We are all always in danger of being untruthful, be it the “little white lies” of social lubrication or self protecting whoppers. Even with the highest barriers placed in our path by God (e.g., the Ninth Commandment), we still stumble and fall. The question that will be taken up in the next post is this: What if a Christian falls into the orbit of a philosophy that significantly lowers the barriers that protect us against lying?