by Rick Penner, 6/14/09
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.
No, it is not Christmas yet! It is just that I am intrigued by the first line of this stanza of "Joy to the World." Ruling the world with truth and grace is very different from how the world is being ruled today. In one Middle Eastern country there was an election a few days ago. Today, reporters are being ushered out of the country, BBC broadcasts are being jammed, and websites have gone dark. Who really won the election there? We are not sure. It is assumed by many that widespread fraud took place in the elections. Censoring and shutting down the media only gives credence to these suspicions.
Truth is often left outside the door in our culture too. Mark Levin has an excellent book entitled, Liberty and Tyranny. In it he suggests we should always seek to determine whether politicians are seeking after truth or power. There are many examples to show that truth often takes a back seat to greed, control, manipulation, pursuit of ideological agendas, and so on. In the 1970's we were told we were facing an Ice Age. 20 years later alarmists told us that the sea level would rise dramatically due to global warming. In the last few years the term has changed to "climate change." I suppose this way, if the temperature on our planet varies in any direction, these alarmists will look less foolish!! Stem cell research is another example. The public is being misled. There are in fact two kinds of stem cells available for research. Embryonic stem cells come from embryos created by in vitro fertilization and have not yet cured a single patient. Non embryonic, or adult stem cell research has helped treat 73 diseases (The Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics). Yet we are told that unless the government funds embryonic stem cell research, many will needlessly die. Study the truth about DDT sometime. In 1970 the National Academy of Science wrote, "to only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT." Over 500 million malaria caused deaths were prevented through the use of DDT. Just two years later its use was banned in spite of powerful testimony about its usefulness. The director of the Environmental Protection Agency at the time attended none of the hearings on DDT and did not read the transcripts of the hearing either. He was however a member of organizations that vigorously opposed the use of this life saving chemical. Few people today know of this. Truth was not part of the decision making process.
In the United States recently, the government has been spending and printing money in frightening quantities. More new spending projects are on the horizon. When the Congressional Budget Office declared that the federal government is on an unsustainable spending spree, politicians deliberately set aside this independent body and its predictions, and chose instead their own, biased and "doctored" numbers which were of course much lower. A gullible public appears to be buying this propaganda.
In recent years there has been much talk of a "living and breathing" Constitution. This means that judges are free to reinterpret what the Framers of the Constitution intended. This approach ultimately makes the Constitution completely arbitrary. It ceases to be a Constitution at all and becomes rather a concoction of expedient ideas to serve whatever policies and agendas are in vogue at the moment. A good example is the "separation of Church and State" mantra that prevails today. This is similar to theological debates over the authority and inspiration of Scripture. If men or women become the judge of what a biblical writer might have meant or if we relegate biblical injunctions to relative cultural contexts and our own biases, Scripture essentially loses all authority. Truth becomes something subjective and personal. We in fact hear today the expression, "My truth," or "This is truth as I see it." This is terribly dangerous. Hitler's truth cost millions of people their lives. I recall so vividly while serving on a school board committee to develop a policy of sex education, a conversation about homosexuality. I asked one of the teachers why she felt the homosexual lifestyle was wrong. She replied, "Because most of the people in our school district think so!" I then asked her, not realizing then (1980's) how things would change, "What if the people change their minds?" She then replied, "Well, then I would teach it as an acceptable alternative lifestyle!" Do you see the folly here? I then used the Hitler illustration and asked her what she would have done if she had been a teacher in Germany in the 1930's when the government taught that a certain group of people should be exterminated. She was not willing to answer that question but according to her logic she would have been obliged to teach what the prevailing view of the society in her world believed. This kind of "truth" changes with the wind. But please note an amazing contrast!
Here is how Isaiah put it when writing about the coming Messiah: “...and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist” (Isaiah 11:3-5).
This sounds fantastic to me! Messiah will not be swayed by popular opinion or by political correctness. He will rule with righteousness and truth and grace. What a contrast!! No earthly government has ever really ruled that way. Only the One Who is Himself righteous can rule in righteousness.
Are you frustrated and angry about injustices in the world? I am. Let us have hope. There is a day coming when truth will prevail. Righteousness will be the order of the day. The future is bright indeed!
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Rick Penner is a friend of mine. He has over thirty-five years of experience in professional Christian ministry. Rick served for fourteen years as a regional director in several American states. Then, in Canada, he served for an additional seven years as a national denominational director. Rick has traveled extensively in various countries and has worked with churches and church leaders in many parts of North America, speaking at conferences and consulting with boards and committees. He has served with various boards and organizations from a variety of faith backgrounds. For the past 6 years he has directed a ministry of recovery and restoration for vocational Christian workers both overseas and in North America. He has also been a certified LIFO administrator for several years. Rick's educational background includes graduation from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago; Biola University and its graduate school of theology; and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.