Partial Truth: Anti-Conformity
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will,” (Romans 12:2).
The “my truth” movement is anti-conformity. It criticizes the world for incessantly sending us messages about who we should be. When we listen to these messages, then it takes us away from us being true to ourselves. This reminds me of the Romans 12:2 verse above. As Christ-followers, we are to be set apart from the world around us. In a way, the “my truth” movement represents a (small) partial biblical truth because it encourages anti-conformity. The main distinction, as Christians, is that we are to be true to who Christ is, not true to ourselves. Being true to ourselves is to be true to our sinful nature. This leads me to my next point.
False Ideology: Self-Worship
Two apparent false ideologies seep out of the “my truth” movement: inherent goodness and relative truth. Both ideologies lead to self-worship.
The Bible continually teaches us that we are not inherently good (see the first source below for at least 100 verses on this topic). We are born sinful. We instinctively know this too. We know that we have natural tendencies to be selfish, lie, and think poor thoughts. How does this make us inherently good? Do we ignore the junk by pretending it doesn’t exist?
Progressive culture especially does not like the word “sin.” It carries too much shame. I listened to a message by the progressive church “Sojourn Grace Collective” in San Diego to understand more. The message by Kate Christensen-Martin started with anger at the traditional church. She says that the church shames us into believing we are sinners. This shame is described as lethal because it tells us we are flawed and not worthy of love and connection. Because of this, we believe we are not worthy of God’s love.
I would agree with this! Sin is contrary to God’s nature, so we do not deserve the love of a perfect, sinless Father. This is, in fact, true. The natural flow of this message would be to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. God loved us so much He sent His son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. When we place our faith in Christ, we are dead to sin and alive with Christ. We are not good by ourselves; this we instinctively know. Instead, Christ in us is what makes us good! Now, that’s some Good News!
Unfortunately, though, Kate’s message alters this good news. She describes Jesus as being the new archetype for humanity – oneness with God. As in, Jesus set a new example that we should follow. Therefore, she concludes, “You are Jesus today in your life. The good news is that you are good, you are worthy of love and belonging.”
This is a form of self-idolatry, becoming a god unto ourselves. It’s attractive, and people leave the church to hear this message because it feeds our inherent selfishness. Of course, we want to hear that we are inherently good; we love worshipping ourselves. This form of heresy, though, completely nullifies Jesus’ work on the cross. It also ignores the work of the Holy Spirit who brings us into truth. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and points us to the Way, the Truth, and the Life which is Christ. Kate’s message does not lead to repentance, and it certainly does not point us to Christ. Instead, her message leads to perpetuating self-worship and ignorance of the sin in our lives.
I did a whole blog series on relative versus absolute truth. If a detailed look at this topic interests you, I recommend reading that here. For now, let’s explore it from a 30,000-foot view.
A common argument for relative truth is, “look at all the moral diversity in the world; how can one truth be right?” This is faulty because it is merely an observation, not an argument. It would be like a child saying, “Teacher, everyone in the class got a different answer to the math problem, so there can’t be a right answer.” There is one correct answer to the math problem; just not everyone got it right.
This appeals to the world in which you and I live. Take something as simple as an apple. An apple is an apple; an apple is not an orange. An apple cannot both be an apple and an orange. Now, take something more complex like rape. Rape is either morally good, or rape is morally bad. Rape cannot be morally good and bad at the same time; it violates the natural law of non-contradiction.
Yet, if we take the “my truth” movement to its’ logical conclusion, one could argue that “their truth” is that rape is good. By nature of relative truth, this is a non-negotiable personal opinion. If everyone has their truth, then there is no universal truth. This goes contrary to how God made us. He made us in His image and placed a universal truth of good and bad morality on our hearts.
Relative truth is a form of self-worship. It violates the universal truth placed in our hearts and worships our fleeting selfish desires. It gives us permission and acceptance to be whatever our truth is that day. If we want to actively engage in sin, then it can be dismissed as “living my truth.”
Join me next time to discuss why evangelical Christianity offers more than the “my truth” movement.