“…the Christian gospels, and the history they set before us, are a matter of public record and scrutiny, which is why the historical study of Jesus remains not only appropriate but vital… Public truth for the public world; that’s what the Christian gospel offers, because the risen Jesus is Lord of earth as well as heaven..” (Tom Wright, Creation, Power and Truth: The Gospel in a World of Cultural Confusion (London: SPCK, 2013).)
Think about this statement from N.T. ‘Tom’ Wright for a moment. We are working our way through the book of Acts during our “Prayer & Bible Study” (each Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m.). Some time ago we discovered Peter and John’s refusal to obey the ruling Council when the authorities “charged them to speak no more to anyone” in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17). I love their response: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (v. 19).
In an article I read this past week pertaining to ‘politically correct speech,’ the following sentence brought to light a very important point that needs to be heard. The author opined, “Indeed, while 80 percent of Americans believe that political correctness has become a problem in the country, even more, 82 percent, believe that hate speech is also a problem.” Yes, the sentence does lack a bit of clarity, since ‘hate speech’ is a phrase that has often meant whatever a person does not want to hear. More clarity is needed.
Yes, Paul clearly exhorted the Christians at Ephesus not to be “tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.” While there are a lot of “gray areas” in life, there is also that which is right and that which is clearly wrong. We need to know the truth and in doing so be liberated (set free) by the truth. By the way, please do not accept the argument that “there is no absolute truth.” That is an absolute statement and, therefore, a fallacy of basic logic.
Moreover, we cannot allow “politically correct” demands to keep us from sharing the Gospel with those who do not have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus as their Lord – the good news of “what [the Apostles] have seen and heard.” Love should constrain us to share the word.
Yet, Paul does address the issue of ‘politically correct’ speech. How? By exhorting us (his readers) to be “speaking the truth in love” (read Ephesians 4:1–16). This is part of our responsibility as we fulfill the call to “make disciples” in the Great Commission of our Lord!
Knowing the importance of good dental care, I required my children to brush their teeth (and tried to provide a good example). There was no question as to whether they would attend school. If I witnessed someone in grave danger, I would do whatever I could do to bring them to a position of safety. (Yes, I would even risk my life to save someone from a burning house or car!) And I, like Peter and John, will share what Tom Wright has identified as “public truth for the public world” regardless of attempts by authorities to keep me from speaking in the name of Jesus.
Hope to see you soon! May God bless you as you “go… and make disciples” (Matt. 28:19) and/or answer Jesus’s call to “be my witnesses” (Acts 1:8).