Truth Matters

cat-fight-1411617-mRecently on Facebook and over at Speculative Faith I’ve been discussing with others the movie Noah. It’s been interesting, and lots of fur has been flying all over the Internet as a result of various reviews.

At the same time, I learned today that opinion writer Rachel Held Evans, who previously identified as an evangelical though her views ran more nearly in line with “progressive Christians,” has decided to remove herself from the evangelical table. Her decision came as a result of the World Vision decision to re-instate their former employment policy describing marriage as between a man and a woman.

In both these diverse issues, there’s one thing in common–God’s Word.

In the discussions about Noah the movie, one line of thinking has dealt with the interpretation of storytelling. Do facts and details have to be true if the over arching theme is true? Isn’t the emotional experience of the theme more important? Shouldn’t readers or viewers have an experience with the story?

Interestingly, I had a discussion with several Progressives over at Mike Duran’s site some while ago, and their take on the Bible was exactly the same. The Bible is true, they believe, but whether the particulars are true isn’t important. It’s the meaning of the narrative and the poetry and the prophecy that is true irrespective of the how, who, when, and where.

This idea of Big Truth built on fables, myth, lore, or perhaps history, which some people determine the Bible to be, seems to me to be a slippery slope–perhaps the same slippery slope Rachel Held Evans has slid down.

Toward the end of his review at Spec Faith, Austin Gunderson said about Noah the movie, “It diminishes one truth to expand upon another.”

I get that in fiction–well, in nonfiction, too–it’s not possible to tell the whole Truth in a single work. I don’t think that telling some truth and not mentioning the rest is the same as distorting or diminishing one truth in order to make clear another truth.

Hence, my belief is that Noah, by diminishing God’s nature as a Person who communicates with the people He created, altered Truth. Leaving out the details that God gave Noah explicit instructions about building the ark, told him how many of each animal to take, and took it upon Himself to seal the door, shows God in a completely different light than He actually is.

Rachel Held Evans handles Scripture in a similar way it would seem. For her the Greater Truth is care and concern for people regardless of any diminishing of God’s holiness or authority. God does, in fact, care for the lost. Scripture says, While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). He declares that the second most important command is to love our neighbor as ourselves.

But emphasis on that Truth should not diminish the Truth that the first command is to love God with all we are. Jesus explains that to love Him means to obey Him. Meaning, we don’t get to pick and choose which commands we will follow and which we will ignore.

It’s not OK to follow the world by condoning sin in the name of compassion. That’s diminishing one Truth in the attempt to expand another.

In short, Truth matters. The Grand Truth delivered through the meta narrative of the Bible and the Specific Truth delivered in each word the Holy Spirit inspired.

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One Comment

  1. You’re right on target by highlighting the question(s), “Isn’t the emotional experience of the theme more important?” and the question before and after. Emotion-fed charismatics (500 million worldwide), and specifically the Pentecostal church, place more emphasis on the emotional experience of Scripture than its actual truth. Hence: the fondness of speaking in tongues, or the nonsensical babbling that they often view/want it to be. A general audience (viewers of the movie) believers or nonbelievers, who wanted – or deemed it “fine” – to get only an emotional charge out of Scripture’s story of Noah – fit this pattern. This desire for an emotional charge, ONLY, has swept and is sweeping the pure and objective truth of Scripture under the rug. Not entirely, of course, but 500 million is a big number.

    I don’t think I’ve heard it put better: “It’s not OK to follow the world by condoning sin in the name of compassion.”

    BTW: I didn’t see the movie, but all one really needs to know is that Hollywood got its grimy little fingers on it.

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