[forthright] True by an Objective Standard

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2007 15:58:24 -0300
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross


True by an Objective Standard
by J. Randal Matheny

The night was cold, and the trip was slower
because of Friday afternoon traffic. The timing
for our departure from home was bad, and Vicki and
I missed dinner before we left. As we arrived in
São Paulo, traffic was backed up, and we hit other
bottlenecks along the way. All told, the trip took
us two hours.

July is vacation month in Brazil, and that,
coupled with the chilly weather, kept some away.
Still, over 20 people appeared for the special
study sponsored by the School of the Bible. The
school is an outreach that offers regular classes,
but this study was a monthly feature for students,
dealing with more polemical and thorny topics.

Months earlier I had been invited to speak on the
topic, "The True Biblical Baptism."

Little did I know that Pope Benedict XVI would set
up my topic nicely.

On July 10 two documents were released by the
Vatican which affirmed the view that the Catholic
Church is the one true church. It denied that "the
Catholic Church has ceased to regard herself as
the one true Church of Christ."/1

The first document quoted the Vatican II Council
that "[t]his one Church of Christ, which we
confess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and
apostolic ... constituted and organised in this
world as a society, subsists in the Catholic
Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the
Bishops in communion with him."/2

The religious world was chagrined that such
exclusivistic language was used. Since most are
today influenced by a relativistic post-modern
view of the subjectivity of truth, this type of
language was unwelcome.

But it is easier to talk with this kind of
Catholic, who believes that a certain "true" thing
exists, than with a religious person for whom
truth is relative, and your truth, however good
and wholesome for you, may not be the truth for
him. Conversations with such a person tends to
make one feel like Alice in Wonderland has come to
real life.

So my comments that cold Friday night used the
Vatican's documents as material to work on the
concept of what is true. Even considering the
concept implies an objective pattern, model,
example or form.

Like when my wife decided she wanted curtains in
the house. She decided to have a sister in Christ
who is a seamstress make them. Vicki measured the
windows and called the seamstress with the
measurements. But when she went to get the
curtains, they didn't fit. For some inexplicable
reason, there was a difference between her tape
measure and the seamstress's. The truth of one was
not the truth of the other. Somebody's tape
measure was off.

Religious, moral and spiritual questions have a
tape measure call Holy Scripture. If I measure my
life, faith and practice with a tape measure that
doesn't match the Bible, on the final day I'll
discover that my faith won't fit in heaven.

If my baptism isn't the true biblical baptism,
I'll be lost in my sins.

If the church of which I'm a part isn't the true
church of the Lord Jesus Christ, I'll not enter
into eternal joy with his people.

Post-moderns and other relativistic folk can
easily tell when somebody is shortchanging them at
the cash register, because they have an objective
standard. It's a shame they refuse the true
standard God has given in the Bible.

For them, true in the religious sense means
whatever they want it to mean.

Last Friday night, during our coffee break, we
discussed what the temperature must have been. No
post-moderns there, since nobody dared say the
temperature is whatever you feel like it is.

We all knew it was cold. And when we opened the
Bible, we all could know what was true for
everyone, everywhere, for all time. Because we had
the measurements right in front of us.
1/ http://zenit.org/article-20100?l=english
2/ http://zenit.org/article-20090?l=english

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