August 4, 2013

“But That Would Mean That We’ve Always Been Wrong – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

People think what they think, mostly because of what they have always thought. They don’t like to rethink. (Some just don’t like to think.) Consequently, traditional ideas are very fixed in the thought process and are often very difficult to correct despite the best efforts of truth and reason.

When you hear something different from what you have always heard, how do you react? Respect for and love of truth should prevail over everything…over natural defensive tendencies, over pride, over respect for renowned preachers, over parents and grandparents, over whatever.

“But that would mean that we’ve always been wrong!”

This is a typical, understandable response (sometimes unspoken). “We’ve really tried to serve God faithfully and now, it appears that we are wrong.” Strong emotions flood the thought process and make objectivity very difficult.

The only real, dependable solution is a stronger, overpowering love of truth. Jesus said He is the embodiment of truth, that truth is what makes us free. It is regard for truth that distinguishes the chosen. It is the fundamental characteristic of a noble heart.

Please consider some examples, from an article by Andy Diestelkamp, that demonstrate this mental struggle, this intellectual warfare between truth and error.

“Martin Luther, while on trial before Charles V with his life at stake, said, ‘Unless I shall have been convinced by the witness of Scripture or of evident proof from reason-for I do not believe either pope or councils by themselves, since it is agreed that these have often made mistakes and contradicted themselves-I am overcome by the Scriptures I have quoted, my conscience is captive to God’s Word: I cannot, I will not, revoke anything, for to act against conscience is neither safe nor honest.’”

“The response of Charles V to others after Luther had been escorted away was, ‘A single monk led astray by private judgment has set himself against the faith held by all Christians for a thousand years or more and impudently concludes that all Christians up to now have been in error.’ Notice that King Charles did not respond to Luther with scripture as requested, but with tradition. For Charles to admit that Luther was right would have been to admit that he and many others before him had been wrong. That was unimaginable to Roman Catholic leadership and therefore Luther was denounced as a heretic.”

“Interestingly, Luther also fell prey to the same kind of reasoning several years later on the subject of infant baptism. ‘If [infant] baptism were not right, it would follow that for more than a thousand years there was no baptism or any Christendom, which is impossible. But the fact that child baptism has spread throughout all the Christian world to this day gives rise to no probability that it is wrong, but rather to a strong indication that it is right.’”

“Christendom (as defined by Luther) had practiced infant baptism for a thousand years and throughout the world. Therefore he reasoned that it was right. For him to have admitted that infant baptism was without scriptural justification would have been to admit that what he perceived to be popular (orthodox) Christianity had been wrong for a millennium.”

“This attitude was seen in the 1960s when the Roman Catholic Church was debating the issue of birth control. The first working paper of the Papal Birth Control Commission contained the following quote, ‘If contraception were not intrinsically evil, in honesty it would have to be acknowledged that the Holy Spirit assisted Protestant churches, and that for half a century a great part of the Catholic hierarchy condemned most imprudently, under the pain of eternal punishment, thousands upon thousands of human acts which are now approved. For the Church to have erred so gravely in its responsibility of leading souls would be tantamount to seriously suggesting that the assistance of the Holy Spirit was lacking to her.’”

The examples of conversion in the New Testament not only demonstrate how to be saved, but are also powerful demonstrations of how noble hearts respond to truth…truth that is radically different from what had been devoutly believed to be true. No doubt they all thought, “But that would mean that we’ve always been wrong!” Pride, renowned teachers, parents and grandparents pulled on their heart-strings. Truth weighed more and pulled harder.

God’s eternal word is the truth. It carries more weight than anything in this world which will soon be burned up. It is understandable, but foolish to allow “what we have always sincerely believed and practiced” to out-weigh the God-breathed words of Scripture.


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