A dozen or so years ago, (seems so much longer ago) hyper-energized with entrepreneurial hope, just over a year into dabbling in the world of publishing as a business, I signed up to exhibit my first batch of titles at a Christian Book Expo. In hindsight, I don’t recall what I was expecting to gain from the experience or what the point of the Expo was other than to network with other small publishers. I suppose I thought I would sell books but that did not happen. I can say I learned a lot about the industry of publishing but even more importantly I met a random truth that forever changed the way I choose to search for verity.
This epiphany came to me in the form of an older woman, I guessed to be at least fifteen years my senior, who was wandering about the aisles on the second day and who stopped at my booth. We chatted in cordial small talk for a few minutes. I gave her the synopsis of each of the five books I was displaying. One thing led to another, I think the conversation turned on the concept of good quotes. I mentioned that I had always loved and collected notable quotes and habitually used them liberally in my writing. She looked up as though she was trying to find the exact right words and then said to me, “Truth is truth, no matter who says it.”
I nodded in agreement. Not exactly profound but certainly good words worth noting.
Then she continued, “Thing is, I’d rather get my truth from the One I can trust to be right in all things so I don’t get pulled down a rabbit trail by false lead truth.”
That instantly struck a theretofore unknown chord in me so I fully agreed with her and we discussed it a bit longer before she wandered off to share her wisdom elsewhere. It was a much deeper/wider concept though than I could fully absorb at the time and thus it took me years to pull it together into a credo to live by.
As this manic era unfolds I’ve written in as many ways as I know how using the words and language available to me to express my angst about where we are going and how we are getting there and, more to the point, what is leading us.
It comes down to this basic theory of geometry: parallel lines can never intersect.
There are imitator truths that seem to look and therefore be good, but, ultimately are only false leads. For want of better words, I’ve referred to this as subscribing to good-for-goodness sake mentality but another, more modern way, to describe this now is ‘virtue signaling’. I’ve also called this out as Self-Righteousness Rule. It has all the markers of being goodness but it’s only counterfeit and just super good, albeit empty, mimicking because it depends on the feel good god of self to define what is good instead of the (often tougher) good of the Divine Sovereign God.
Question: So, where does this come from? And why? Why not just acknowledge what is proven true and go with that? Why run a good imitation parallel path? (example: Humanism - the elevation of humans to gods vs Christ) To pull as many astray as possible? Away from what then?
Answer: Away from the true light.
I recently read a commentary written by a contemporary of T. Austin-Sparks - the notable British minister who served multiple missionary teams in the early decades of the 20th century. Sparks had mentored the commenter and guided him into a ministry life. He said that Sparks was so knowledgeable of the higher truth that he often struggled to prepare his sermons. He knew there were things he could share but that his flock would not understand.
This resonated deeply with me. A.W. Tozer, a minister from the same era, also grieved and wrote about the lonely walk of the Christian who chooses to seek the truth and therefore found it to discover it leads to a place of isolation from the world. It causes you to be set apart.
I get it but I also admit that the sacrifice is worth it. I'd rather know a tough truth than be blinded by a soft lie - any day.
I conclude - While you cannot know what you do not know, it is also true that you cannot unknow what you know.
A few quotes from others who have said it better than I:
I do know one thing. I used to be blind, but now I can see. (John 9:25)
If you and I were allowed to be perfectly satisfied with what we have got at any stage, and not to feel the absolute necessity for something we never have had, should we go on that way? Of course not! To keep us going on, the Lord has to bring about those experiences where it is absolutely necessary for us to see the Lord, and know the Lord in a new way, and it must just be so all the way along to the end. It may be a series of crises of seeing and seeing again, and yet again, as the Lord opens our eyes, and we are able to say, as never before, "I see!" So it is not our study, our learning, our book knowledge, but it is a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of our hearts being enlightened, and it is that seeing which brings the note of authority that is so much needed. That is the element, the feature, that is required today. It is not just seeing for seeing’s sake, but it is to bring in a new note of authority. - T. Austin-Sparks
Happy is he to whom truth manifests itself, not in signs and words that fade, but as it actually is. Our opinions, our senses often deceive us and we discern very little.
What good is much discussion of involved and obscure matters when our ignorance of them will not be held against us on Judgment Day? Neglect of things which are profitable and necessary and undue concern with those which are irrelevant and harmful, are great folly.
We have eyes and do not see.
What, therefore, have we to do with questions of philosophy? He to whom the Eternal Word speaks is free from theorizing. For from this Word are all things and of Him all things speak -- the Beginning Who also speaks to us. Without this Word no man understands or judges aright. He to whom it becomes everything, who traces all things to it and who sees all things in it, may ease his heart and remain at peace with God. - The Imitation of Jesus Christ by Thomas Kempis
2 Timothy 3-4
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.