Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
A reaction to the concrete thinking of secularism brought about a postmodern view of the world. While a secular worldview seeks to have a reason and explanation for everything, a postmodern perspective concludes that objectivity is impossible to achieve. In this way of thinking, truth is relative and subject to all of our biases, influences, and experiences. It says we are unable to know or determine what is objectively true, right, or wrong. This leaves truth to be determined at an individual level.
With this way of thinking, we are left with no firm foundation. Though it might seem gracious to let everyone determine what is right and wrong and true for them, it leaves us with no center or anchor. Everything is relative and subjective. This way of thinking is particularly tempting in our culture that prioritizes “your truth.” Many want everyone to allow others to hold their own version of truth that makes them comfortable. Yet, in making truth subjective, we will find ourselves with no truth at all. In making sure no one is offended, we will have no boundary lines in which to live and move.
What are we offering people if all we have left is a watered-down gospel that allows whatever version of the truth a person wants? Does that provide true hope? Is that of more value than what the world is already offering? John would call us to test every spirit, and every way of thinking to know what is from God. So many of the false gospels we encounter are dangerous because they are almost right. They get close enough to the truth that we take the counterfeit without giving it a second look. Yet, if believe that God is the source of all that is true and that He has given us His Word as a means by which we can know His truth, then we are called to test everything against the Bible. That doesn’t mean that everything is black and white. But it does call us to discern with the Spirit how we can live and move within the boundary lines of His kingdom, even when the world wants us to erase them.
• Are you more inclined to think about truth in concrete ways or in a postmodern way? How does this inform the way you think about God, the gospel, and others?
• How do we hold in tension the truth of the gospel while not using that as a weapon to keep others out of God’s kingdom?
• Spend some time in prayer asking the Lord to continue to draw you back to the truth as revealed in His Word.