Truth, Foundation Stones, and a Fixed Point of Reference- Part 4

January 2, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

(Note: If you haven’t read part 1, 2, and 3 of this, you need to go back and do so. These messages all build on one another so it’s important to read them in order)

We’ve been looking at Paul’s words in Acts 17 and we have discovered some “foundations stones” of the Christian worldview. So far we’ve seen… 

#1— God EXISTS and is PERSONAL

#2— God is the ORIGIN of all things

#3— God is the LORD of all things

#4—God is SELF-EXISTENT and SELF-DEFINING

#5—God created you FOR A PURPOSE

#6—God wants a RELATIONSHIP with you

Now this is all well and good, except, as we’ve also seen, people don’t always live as if they actually believe these truths. Furthermore, how come everyone doesn’t believe these truths? How come I struggle to believe these truths?

What in the world happened? What went wrong?

Well, here’s what went wrong… You see back in the beginning… in Genesis chapter 3… You remember the chair we talked about in part 1—the fixed point of reference? Well, Satan came into the garden and put wheels on the chair! 

If you remember in Genesis 1 & 2, God creates everything—including man. And Adam and Eve are in the garden living in a perfect relationship with God. All they have to do is trust him and they will have everything they need. And it’s really great. But then Satan enters the picture and he talks to Eve…

SATAN: “Eve… If you eat of that forbidden fruit you will become like God. You’ll be able to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. You’ll be able to call your own shots, make your own rules, have your own reality… You will be numero uno in your own private little universe. All you gotta do is eat the fruit.”

So Eve thought about it… and went,

EVE: “Okay!”

And since then we’ve ended up with a whole bunch of chairs with wheels on ‘em just going all over the place… everybody does what’s right in their own eyes. And it has really created quite a mess.

You see, there are problems when we put wheels on the chair. And I’m gonna talk about three things— just to give you an idea. These are three ramifications of living in a world where everyone has a chair with wheels on it—where I often use a chair with wheels.

#1) When you put wheels on the chair you or your family or your society stray from truth into CONFUSION… Things get very confused… 

#2) The second thing that happens is you start to develop what Francis Schaeffer called “POINTS OF TENSION”… “Points of tension” means you start contradicting yourself in the same sentence. It’s like you have arguments with yourself in the same brain—and we’ll look at what that means.

#3) And the third thing that happens— and we’re seeing a lot of this… it happens in every society— and that is when you abandon a fixed moral standard you have to decide, “WHO’S GOING TO MAKE THE RULES?”… And usually, truth and morality fall before raw power.

So let’s start with the first point: CONFUSION

I remember when Anne Landers (famous advice columnist) was on a talk show on TV years ago… Someone in the audience asked her, “Well, Anne Landers… years ago you used to tell young people that sex outside of marriage was wrong and they shouldn’t do it— and now you say it’s okay… How do explain this change in your position? And this is how Anne Landers responded:“Well, times have changed; things have changed; things are different now; people are different… We have to keep up with the times…”

She’s got wheels on her chair. And it causes great confusion.

Here’s another interesting example… Do you remember many years ago— I don’t know if it was the late 80’s or early 90’s. It was the story of “The Naked Guy”… He was a student at Cal Berkley. He was a guy who decided he was going to go to school naked. Didn’t have a stitch of clothes on and he’d go to class, jog, go to the cafeteria—naked. And people were upset about it. Women didn’t want to be near the guy. There was also the problem of what they called, “The seat issue”… Nobody wanted to sit where he had recently sat.

Now what’s interesting about this is that the problem was tackled, of course— the problem was taken head-on by the college administration… All these educated educators with all the alphabet soup after their names. They were so smart— they knew everything… had all the world’s wisdom. They’re sitting around asking,

“What are we going to do?”

“I don’t know— we can’t say it’s not wrong.”

“No! It’s not wrong. He’s just expressing himself.”

“Well I don’t know— we have to stop it some how.”

“Well, then it’s right.”

“No, it’s not right.”

“Then it’s wrong.”

“No, it can’t be wrong— we can’t tell him it’s wrong. What are we going to do?!?”

“Well, I don’t know… We gotta make up some rules.”

“We can’t make up any rules because people will think that we’re infringing on their right of expression.”

“So what are we going to do?”

We have to be liberal, we have to be progressive, we have to be freeeeee thinkers.”

“So, what are we gonna do?!?!” 

Well, they tried to come up with some rules… That didn’t work. He hung on— he stayed in there. It took ‘em more than 6 months (I think) to deal with this problem. That’s a long time when you’re naked. And they did solve the problem though— they finally got a brainstorm: The women got together and they came to the administration and said, “We believe that the behavior of this man constitutes sexual harassment.” Boom! The Naked Guy is gone…

Why did it take so long? Why was it such a challenge? Confusion.

Confusion is where you have a hospital with a team of doctors on one side of the hall performing a late-term abortion… and on the other side of the hall you have a rescue team to save the life of the infant if the first team fails in what they’re doing… Now that is confusion. And that’s what happens when we put wheels on the fixed point of reference. 

Let’s go to the next one: POINTS OF TENSION…

Now here is an example of a point of tension… and you hear this all the time:… Get ready… here it comes… someone says to you:

“It’s wrong to impose your morals on others”

Went right by you didn’t it?… I’ll try it again…

“It’s wrong to impose your morals on others”

Why is that an example of a point of tension? What am I doing? I’m imposing my morals on you by telling you that something is wrong. I’m contradicting myself in the same thought— in the same sentence.

I had a friend who was speaking once about the need for absolute truth— and how we have to buck against the idea that truth is relative— and someone stands up and shouts: “You can’t go around saying truth is absolute, that’s wrong!”

Kinda strange… New Agers and relativists will say there is no absolute reality— we all create our own reality. But they’re so willing to argue with you about it… But, you cannot argue with anyone unless deep down inside somewhere you know good and well there is an absolute truth you can appeal to from which you can argue.

People will say, “We all create our own reality.”… Then they get all mad at you for being a Christian. They call Christians narrow-minded, bigoted, intolerant, right wing, fringe fanatic, fundamentalists…

Well, wait a minute— I thought you said we all create our own reality?

“Yeah, we do!”

Then I’m your fault… If you’ve got a problem with me— take it up with yourself! 

Points of tension— points of tension… We see them all the time.

Several years ago, I was stopped at a light behind a woman driving a jeep. I noticed that on the left side of her bumper the was a sticker that said, “Pro-Choice: Keep Your Laws Off My Body!” She obviously felt strongly about the issue and wanted to voice her opinion. But then I noticed a second bumper sticker on the right end of her bumper that read: “Buckle Up: It’s the Law!”… Hmmm… This is a point of tension.

See, there has to be a truth that is fixed and objective and separate from you (like the chair we talked about earlier): it has to be true whether you believe it or not; it has to be true whether you like it or not; it has to be true whether you’ve ever heard of it or not; it’s just true.

The third thing I wanted to talk about is how WHEN TRUTH IS ABANDONED— when an ultimate moral authority is abandoned— WHO MAKES THE RULES?

Well, usually the one who ends up making the rules is: The STRONGEST—not the wisest or best or nicest. And that is how tyranny develops in a culture, in a nation. This has been demonstrated so many times throughout history…

Let me just draw an illustration for you. Frank Peretti call this “The Playground Parable”.

Let’s imagine a playground… Hundreds of kids playing out here on a typical grade school playground. They’re throwing balls and skipping rope and swinging. Maybe a few fights break out but they get broken up. And really it’s a pretty safe place to play—it’s pretty orderly for a playground. One of the reasons the playground works is that right on the edge of the playground there’s a sign that says, “PLAYGROUND RULES”. And there are several rules listed: no hitting; no shoving; no spitting on the girls; share the equipment; take turns… All that kind of thing.

Now the rules are really nice… But why do the kids even obey these rules?… Because of Mrs. Kravetz. See, Mrs. Kravetz has her clipboard and her whistle and her pink slips. And if you transgress those laws then there is going to be a certain authority brought into play here… You might even have to get sent  to the Vice Principal’s office… No one’s ever seen the Vice Principal… but they’ve heard about him. That’s what keeps the playground going…

But now, let’s do a little experiment: Let’s take Mrs. Kravetz off the playground… She’s gone.

What happens? Well, the kids continue to obey the rules and they play according to the traditions that have always been handed down. But after a while, maybe little Bobby loves playing with the ball… In fact, he loves playing with the ball so much, he’s getting a little tired of sharing it with the other kids. He wants to go throw it against the side of the school building. So he starts throwing it against the side of the school building (bonka, bonka, bonka). And all the other kids start standing around because they got nothing to play with… One girl says, “Bobby, you’re supposed to share the equipment!” To which Bobby replies, “Uh-ugh, I’m gonna play with the ball all by myself.” The girl continues, “But, you’re supposed to share!” To which Bobby retorts, “Uh-ugh, I have my own truth, I’m seeking my own reality, and how dare you impose your narrow-minded, bigoted, right-wing, fringe-fanatic, Christian-conservative, fundamentalist morals on me!” Another boy points to the rules, “But, look here— the rules say you have to share the equipment.” And Bobby says, “Oh yeah, well that’s just too bad!”

And after a while some of the kids start figuring out, “You know what, Bobby’s doing that and he’s getting away with it, why do I have to share the jump ropes.” And then there’s other kids that start spittin’ on the girls. And they start challenging the rules and they start crossing the rules out and finally the old rules get torn down— they knock the whole sign down—and now you don’t have any rules at all! Every child is playing according to the dictates of his own conscience… clarifying their values out there.

Now you have a playground in chaos… Now here’s the big question: On a playground like that, which child’s will is going to become law?

The strongest. The biggest, meanest, toughest kid.

This has been repeated again and again throughout the history of mankind. When a nation loses its grip on moral absolutes then the rules are made by whoever can rally the most votes, gain the most political power, buy the most TV time for commercials, gather the most marchers, shout the loudest… You name it… Hitler did it; Moa did it; Pou Pac did it; Saddam Hussein did it; during the French Revolution Robespierre did it.

It’s interesting to me that whenever the communists took over a country— be it in Asia or Africa or anywhere else— they’d have these indoctrination classes. And they’d take the peasants and the workers and everyone else and they’d put ‘em in these mandatory classes… Did they study Marxism— No. Did they study the tenants of socialism and socialist economy— No. What did they study?… Evolution.

The first thing the communists wished to establish is there is no God— there is no authority higher than the state. Basically the message they wanted everyone to understand was this: We are the big kid on the playground… we make the rules; we are in charge; we bring order.

I want to tell you something, the only reason we have freedom in America now is because somewhere back there in the beginning someone said: “We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The whole idea of liberty and democracy is founded on the idea that there is a just and moral God calling the shots. When you lose that, you as a nation are in big trouble.

Now… this is why it is so very important for you to realize where you are sitting (chair). Are you sitting on the chair— that’s FIXED; it’s SEPARATE FROM YOURSELF… Is it based on these foundational truths:

There’s a God who EXISTS and is a PERSON

Who is the ORIGIN of all things

Who is the LORD or MORAL AUTHORITY over all things

Who is SELF-EXISTENT and SELF-DEFINING

Who has created you for a REASON, for a PURPOSE, for a DESTINY

Who wants to have a RELATIONSHIP with you

It’s a pretty important question, huh? What do you think?