A World of Pure Imagination
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.Romans 1:18-19
Hans Christian Andersen was the author of the famous children’s story called The Emperor’s New Clothes, in which the emperor, his attendants, and even the whole town are duped by a couple of swindlers who tell the King that the new garments they have had made for him are so fine as to only be visible to those who were very clever and deserving of their position. As no one wanted to be singled out as the only person unable to see these “exquisite” garments, the charade goes so far as to ultimately result in the King parading himself before all his subjects wearing nothing at all. That is, until a child, the only one honest enough to say what everyone should have known speaks out and exposes the travesty for what it is.
It’s amazing how far a people complicit in denying the truth can take such a charade. Take our own society, for example. The same people who will use science in an attempt to tell us that belief in God is an outdated fairy tale will deny the science that tells us that gender is a matter of biology and not choice. While everyone knows the truth, no one wants to be seen to be “foolish” or “unworthy of their station,” so night after night, we hear the same politically correct rubbish pass for good sense. Recently, I saw an article which said that a curriculum written for schools in England will include teaching that transgender men can have periods. It’s ludicrous, but anything can pass for truth when we’re living in an imaginary world whose rules are re-written to suit our own desires. All those complicit in the cultural deception nod approvingly, even when something in their gut tells them this ideological emperor has no clothes!
Gender identity is just one such lie our society has quietly agreed to keep. There are many others, such as the idea that if we’ll embrace a new and improved form of socialism (you know, all the others got it wrong, but we’ll do it right this time), all will be well. No one will be poor or hungry, and no one will have too much, and no one will have too little. As in another fairy tale, Goldilocks and The Three Bears, everything will be just right! If history disagrees with our socio-political assessment, we’ll just change it. After all, if that’s all children know, who will be the wiser?
The same people who live in Hollywood and tells us that gun ownership and border walls are evil are the ones who pay bodyguards with guns to protect them and live safely in their mansions behind high-security fences. Many of these are the same people who live from broken relationship to broken relationship, leaving a trail of dysfunction behind them, and yet want to tell us that institutions such as marriage are outdated and passé. Yet, everyone agrees, smiling at the wonderful imaginary world they have created in their minds. Here, in this land of make-believe, all choices are equally good and there are no consequences for our actions. Everything is permissible (as long as you’re not “hurting” anyone), and no one is wrong unless, of course, someone decides to disagree with the cultural narrative.
In this imaginary world, evangelizing someone to the Christian faith is an aggressive act of oppressive, western colonialism and should never be considered. After all, all religions are essentially the same and take us all to heaven. Pluralism has gone from meaning that everyone has a right to worship as they choose in a free society to mean that all religions are created equal, never mind that Jesus said, “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life. NO ONE comes to the Father EXCEPT through ME” (John 14:6, author’s emphasis). Jesus was a good man, but we wouldn’t want to take everything he said too seriously. Most likely He was just a product of His times, and times have changed! We want enough of Jesus to warm our hearts with His kindness but not so much as to bring conviction over our sin. That wouldn’t do at all.
The greatest enemy to the world which I have described is the truth. Our society simply has a problem with it. Here’s a small dose to remind us: God made two genders and the one you were born with is the one you’ll have all your life. Ideas turn into actions which have enormous consequences, for good or for evil. The wages of sin is still death, and sin isn’t defined by a political party, your favorite celebrity, or the fickle, changing cultural ethos of our society. God made moral laws that are just as real and objectively true as the physical laws which govern the universe. While we’re at it, Jesus’ did not preach “love and acceptance.” Rather, he preached “the Kingdom and repentance” (see Mark 1:15). Jesus made claims which, if untrue, would not make Him a good man, as C. S. Lewis has told us so well. If untrue, Jesus’ claims would make Him a liar or a lunatic. So, you can believe Him and worship Him as Lord, or you can deny his claims and dismiss him as a liar, or lunatic, but you can’t have Him simply as a good teacher. He’s not left us that option.
Truth is not negotiable, and those who try to live contrary to it are like the villains in the old Adam West Batman television series, who lived in houses with crooked floors to show us that their thoughts and actions were askew with that which is right and true. It would be nice if we had some such visible way of knowing who was walking in accordance with truth and who was not in our day. As it is, we have an even surer guide. God has written the truth in His Word, in the heavens, and even in our hearts. Jesus tells us that God’s Word is truth (John 17:17), The Psalmist tells us that the heavens bear witness to the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19:1-4), and Paul tells us that God can be understood through that which has been made (the book of nature), so that men are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Furthermore, and perhaps even more revealing, Paul goes on to tell us that those who have never heard God’s truth have His law written on their hearts (Romans 2:14-15). This is perhaps why those who are trying so hard to sell us this world of their own inventing demonstrate such vitriol toward those of us who won’t play along. If they just shout loud enough, maybe they can make the truth go away and us along with it. In some cases, it has worked on those who have been willing to compromise the truth so as not to be “discredited” or seen as “unworthy of their station.” But, as we’ve said so many times before, reality will not realign at the whim of any man. It has been set irrevocably by God, the author of truth immutable.
Such straight talk is called hate speech these days. We used to call telling people the truth the “right thing to do.” In fact, a lot of people who were told all their lives they could sing would have been spared a great deal of embarrassment on shows like American Idol if someone had only loved them enough to tell them the truth. It’s not that they are untalented. Their talent just simply lies elsewhere. Likewise, our refusal to exchange the truth for the culture’s most recent incarnation of “reality” is not a lack of love on our part. It is, in fact, our love which compels us to share the truth about a savior who came to save sinful men. That message includes repenting from all false versions of reality to embrace God’s truth and best for humanity. We all learned as little children that we don’t always get our own way. It’s simply not what is best for us. Maybe we all need to learn that lesson once again.
Dr. Randy Bunch is the pastor of Connecting Point Church, located at 101 Adkisson Way in Taft, California, as well as a graduate advisor and adjunct professor at Summit Bible College in Bakersfield, California. He is the author of several books, including his new devotional, Immutable: Changeless Truth for a Changing World. For more information, or to purchase your copy, go to randylanebunch.org. For more information on the ministries of CPC, you can go to the ministry’s website at connectingpc.org.