The Uneven House of Truth

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is…
(Truth) We are more sinful and weak than we ever cared to admit AND…
(Grace) We are more loved and accepted than we ever dared to hope.

Truth and Grace

I was reading a portion of Joshua Straub’s new book “Safe House” the other day.   He is a Christian author that has a heart toward mentoring parents in the 21st century. Parening in the 21st century  has some very unique challenges.  Challenges with busyness, technology, online social networking, etc. His book is about raising children who live, love and lead well in the 21st century.

In the book he described something called the “Uneven House of Truth”.  What he said was that two truths exist in scripture…. one is TRUTH and the other is GRACE  What he said was that Christian houses that are heavy on truth and short on grace are environments that create religious “striving” and ultimately become either overtly or covertly emotionally unsafe for children.  These unsafe children then either become pleasers or rebellious.  This emotionally unsafe environment does not allow children to explore the world in ways a normal. healthier child would.  The end results is it creates a covert or overt  environment of fear!  He went on to say that good parenting is less about your position and more about your posture… and research proves this over and over again.

You see this all the time in the blogosphere,,, people always trying to WIN an argument using TRUTH!  It could be Christian truth, it could be conservative truth, it could be liberal truth.  It does not really matter.  In the end they are striving to win. In their minds, I am sure, they believe  they are trying to impact the world.   From my perspective, this attempt to win without mercy, love, grace, and understanding never leads to change, growth, or relationship.  Ultimately, an uneven house of truth  leads to people more deeply entrenching their positions and feeling unsafe to trust the other side.  It ultimately leads to broken or trust less relationships.

Jesus always made it safe for sinners struggling with deep issues. People trying to win with truth do not.

Many years ago, my wife and I went to a Church known for “higher truth”.  I really wanted to join this church.  We even saw John Piper on Sabbattical attending this Church,,, and I remember poking my wife in the side and telling “Hey, there is John Piper!” BTW this is not a Church that John Piper is associated with… he was just attending it during his sabbatical.

I really wanted to join this church and I really liked the preaching,,, my wife clearly did not like this church… we had an argument about it.  Her reasons for not liking this church did resonate with me though.  The church had an open microphone after the sermon…. and someone would go to the mic to speak.  The idea was for people to discuss how God was working in their lives.  What happened during the open microphone was hardly ever a real story about how God was working in their lives.  What people really did with the open mic was  restate and remind people of the central doctrines (truths) of their church.  To my wife, and I finally agreed with her, it was not a person being very real and genuine.  It really turned her off.  To this day, I am so glad I listened to the my wife on this matter.

What my wife sensed I believe, is that this Church had an uneven house of truth DNA … and that thread was running through how the people were speaking during the open microphone.

I like how Tim Keller puts it:

Without the power of grace, truth and love cant be combined.

— Tim Keller, The meaning of Marriage

Instead of leaving with a final thought of mine I am going to leave you with one of my favorite verses in scripture.  I want you to focus on the words Jesus says “go and learn what this means”.   What I believe Jesus is saying here is that this is not an easy truth to “do” or to understand.  Rather, he wants us to mull it over and practice it…. even when it seems hard for us to practice it.  I believe if we actually practice mercy,  we just might be using some spiritual “muscles” that may not be used very often…. muscles  that need to made stronger.

Jesus wants us to to understand the truth of the scripture below… especially when our desire is really to WIN!

Matthew 9:13 But go and learn what this means, I desire mercy not sacrifice.

Truth and Grace

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3 thoughts on “The Uneven House of Truth

  1. Bill Stark

    What is “higher truth”? Does the church you are talking about call themselves that? If not, what do we mean by this expression? Are you trying to be critical at them for their thinking they go scripturally deeper than anyone else? And if it is not a slap at them, what is wrong with Biblical teaching with a calvinist backbone? I find the concept of people sharing what God is doing in their lives a good thing, even if some of the sharing is not as authentic as we would like. How many churches have any sharing time at all?? My goodness, at least they are trying. I just think a lot of people criticize John Piper in roundabout ways. I have listened to him enough and read enough of his books to know that he is an authentic and imperfect servant of God. Authentic sharing is lacking in almost every church. Perhaps if at the church you attended one person got up and truly shared from the heart, then maybe, just maybe, the overall quality of the sharing in the church would change and improve substantially, and perhaps truth and grace would be more evenly balanced. We have have all seen this happen when one person had the truth to be honest.

    Bill Stark

  2. centralityofthegospel Post author

    HI Bill, My critique of a the Church referenced was during a time when we were looking for the best Church for us — so, I believe we were being a bit more critical or positive and negatives. It was our job to find the best church for us at the time, Our opinion was relative to many churches in our past that showed more graceful language, At this Church, our opinion was, they were not balanced between Grace and Truth. Believe me we went to this Church for 5 months straight and gave it every shot possible.

    In terms of Piper I love what he did for the Minnesota area and he has had a great impact on the the area. However, in reading his books … My opinion is when I read him it just seems like he could have said the same thing in a more Christocentic way.. I feel like he just “ever so slightly” missed the mark in what reformed theology really should be.

    For example: John Piper himself says he was never a very personal person. I had a Pastor say once that he loves talking about a BIG God, but what he really likes to do is talk about a God that became personal to us through Christ. Piper uses words that make God big… especially in most of his writings . Piper did not do so well at making Christ personal, .A good example is how over uses the words sovereignty and supremacy all the time. These are words that make God big but do not re-create the language Christ himself uses in scripture. In the end, to me at least, Christ becomes very stoic (not personal) using this language and it is not a language Christ used, Rather, Christ spoke to through parables of the heart.

    John Piper himself says he is not a very “personal” pastor and I would agree with him on that. He is a theologians theologian and which is why his churches seem to attract “higher truth” seekers.

  3. centralityofthegospel Post author

    I absolutely agree with what you said. One person needs to stand up and share from the heart,

    However, the question would be if you were among “higher truth seekers” would you feel really “safe” sharing what your deepest issues are. How would it be received. Probably not well. Would you be willing to share your junk?

    I have learned that sharing my deepest issues requires people I trust. I have learned through my own experience that “higher truth seekers” are not normally trustworthy, They are not safe people and groups.

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