Posted by: Hugh Griffiths | February 8, 2006

Establishing the truth

Earlier in the week my friend Chris posted an article on the Creed of Chalcedon adopted in the fifth century following the major ecumenical council held in 451 AD. The creed established the incarnate nature of Christ against a backdrop of heresy that was teaching otherwise.

We don’t see the historic creeds referred to very much in our churches today, yet these were major defining moments in the history of the church and have become important foundations of our theology and belief.

What I find amazing is that the church in that relatively early period found the ability to study, examine and determine truth. Despite not having any of the modern conveniences of easy communication, globalised culture and fast and inexpensive travel they really worked to gain concensus and clarity of Biblical teaching. For them maintaining the ‘unity of the faith’ was a principle not to be held lightly – yet they did not tolerate heresy and false teaching.

Today, although admittedly the issues are perhaps less fundamental, the church seems to be more content with a fragmented view of some key subjects. Yet while there will always need to be initial debate, ultimately there the Holy Spirit gives revelation which needs to be crystalised into clear convictions for the benefit and maturity of the church.
To be clear, this is not simply about reaching a compromise or minimum concensus position but instead it demands a radical pursuit of truth solidly based on the Scriptures. There are vital truths in God’s word about which the church cannot be double-minded.

Here are just a few of the openly debated issues for starters:

  • Spiritual gifts for now – I say yes, others say no
  • Apostles and prophets today – I say yes, others say no
  • Men and women – I say equal but different, others say equal and the same
  • Ethnic/national Israel or the church as the centre of God’s purpose – I say the church, others say natural Israel

I believe godly dialogue and study with open hearts and minds is important, but here’s the crunch – in all these issues both sides cannot be correct. Someone must be right and someone must be wrong.

My plea is for apostolic, prophetic and teaching ministries within the church to continue to seek God and establish the truth in these areas. In that famous phrase ‘There is still more light to break forth from God’s holy Word’ and the global church still has a long way to go.

Perhaps it’s time to reconvene major councils of wise and godly leaders to settle a few more issues for the benefit of future generations?

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Responses

  1. Hugh, I belive in the last paragraph you used a very important word on this subject: TIME
    It takes time to discuss and hear from God on all issues especialy the difficult ones.
    Do we allow enough of this valued good (time) and spend it generously in discussing and hearing without set agenda and shedule? Do we give time and space to the relevant people to do it? I hope we have the grace to do it.
    Martin

  2. Hugh you are such a sincere man…The God of the Bible states: I AM GOD…There is none like me,
    declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done…, before it
    came to pass I showed it thee…new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
    isaiah 42;9 46;9-10 48;5 etc. Lets pick up our Bibles and see what he says.
    Lets take heed to his word because he says “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves
    and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal their lands” 2 Chron 7;14 . Isn’t that word needed today as well as then.


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