Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Speaking The Truth In Love

"Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ," Eph.4:13-15.

“Speaking the truth in love” has come to mean that you more or less praise everything, but above all, that you never criticize any view str
ongly, because, after all, there is a certain amount of right and truth in everything.

We must therefore ask the question, Is this a right and a true interpretation of Paul’s statement? Is this what is meant by “speaking the truth in love”? I answer immediately that it cannot be, for the reason that the Apostle does not simply tell us here to speak lovingly. What he says is “speaking the truth” or “holding the truth”. We are not told by the Apostle to cultivate a vague, loving spirit, but to hold “the truth” in love. The very word truth, in and of itself, makes the modern popular exposition of the statement obviously and patently wrong. Furthermore – and this is where the context is so important – if the phrase merely denotes a loving spirit, how is it connected with what the Apostle has said in verse 14If “speaking the truth in love”, “holding the truth in love”, means that we are to smile upon all views and doctrinal standpoints, and never criticize and condemn and reject any views at all, how do we avoid being – children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine”? This supposed “loving spirit” makes it impossible to use terms such as “sleight of men” and “cunning craftiness” and “lying in wait to deceive”. The very text itself and especially the context, make that interpretation completely impossible;indeed it is a denial of the Apostle’s statement. 

We must not hesitate to say so plainly. To put life, or “spirit”, or niceness, or anything else, before truth is to deny essential New Testament teaching; and in addition is to contradict directly the Apostle’s solemn warning in verse 14. It is to set up ourselves, and the modern mind, and 20th-century man, as the authority rather than the ‘called apostle’ Paul and all others whom the Lord has set in the Church to warn us against, and to save us from, this attitude which dislikes discrimination and judgment. Never was it more important to assert that friendliness or niceness or some sentimental notions of brotherliness do not constitute Christianity. You can have all such qualities without and apart from Christianity without “truth”. So that, whatever else it may mean, “holding the truth in love” does not mean a vague, flabby, sentimental notion of niceness and fellowship and brotherhood.


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