Falsehood is determined by how frantic it is defended in advocacy. Many Christian organizations who defend their positions view critics as enemies. The truth remains true—regardless of acerbic opposition from various angles. This is a simple axiom, misunderstood by most Christians.
Critics should be viewed as friends, just as Christ stated: “Love your enemies and bless those that persecute you”(Matthew 5:44). There is no secrecy in truth. A truthful person is willing to change when proven wrong. Such a person can be condemned and ridiculed by the self-righteous ones, yet without feeling uncomfortable. In the following episode is a display of truthful behavior:
“Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John.He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately”(Acts 18:24-26).
The red-hot Christians are not ashamed of the gospel. They could be in error, as to receive acerbic treatment from the proud critics. But, as long as focusing on truth, they cannot be disturbed. Being zealous for God is good, as long as willing to listen to other viewpoints, like Preacher Apollos.
Priscilla and Aquila did not ridicule Apollos, for his inaccurate scriptural understanding. They appreciated good things about him, without condemning him. Instead of behaving like Pricilla and Aquila, false preachers love highlighting how wrong the condemned preachers would be. They love highlighting how right they, themselves, would be, on the subject in question. They defame the ignorant preacher, for the sake of their own vanity. Paul’s instruction to the Philippians is germane:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”(Philippians 4:8) (NIV).
Priscilla and Aquila did not concentrate on how wrong Preacher Apollos was. They appreciated his abilities and sought to help him become better, in his gift of preaching. They were used in developing Apollos, without worrying about their possible inability to preach like Apollos.
During the first days of my writing, a Christian friend advised me against going public. His warning was that I would be harangued and shredded to pieces, on the subject of Christianity. He may have been surprised when I told him that I was, actually, itching for such criticisms. I sought to use criticisms to polish my understanding of Scriptures more than would be the case with the approvals.
Unfortunately, for me, there has not been anyone willing to openly criticize my work, on this website. There has not been much approval, either. My own satisfaction lies in not being secretive in what I believe. Whether accepted or not accepted by others, makes no difference. I prefer displaying what I believe to be true, without any shadow of a doubt.
There may as well be falsehood, in what I write. But, before discovering such a falsehood, I have no reason to worry about being proven wrong. As to whether I should consider myself lucky or unlucky, for not receiving criticisms, I do not know. But what occupies my mind is holding what I believe to be true, and discarding what I view as untrue.
Financing could have also blocked me, at the beginning. But I completely refused to be incapacitated by financing in my writings. It is not about receiving finances that spurs me to write. I am spurred by what I consider to be true, with unreserved conviction. If there could be one or two people in agreement with what I write; that would be sufficient.
God has not chosen only one source to advance His word. Even the atheists can, actually, be used to advance His word, where the considered true believers would have failed to convey. God uses various conduits, including those, ranting of the non-existence of God.
“It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. The latter do so out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains. But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18) (NIV).
When analyzing Paul’s writings, one can, actually, deduce that Paul was not as popular as most people assume he was. Paul may also not have considered that his writings would have an impact on our time. But Paul never sought to hide his weaknesses, like those projecting only their good side of themselves:
“I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
‘Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong’”(2 Corinthians 12:5-10) (NIV).
The apostle Paul is highly spoken of, today, among Christian circles. Possibly, when Christ comes, many will be shocked that someone greater than Paul would have emerged from their midst. The degraded beings seek to elevate other fellow humans, through their appetite for idolatry—hence losing the understanding of God’s truths. There is no shame in truth, although rarely appreciated by most people. Even though many followed Jesus, only a few became His true followers. It is not about numbers. It is about the truth.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it”(Matthew 7:12-14) (NIV).
The late Herbert Armstrong was a Christian leader who published the now-defunct Plain Truth Magazine. His teachings were absorbed by millions across the world. Out of idolatry many of his followers still maintain that he was a great man of God.
He may have been great, but most of his followers were blinded in idolizing him. The same applies to other religious leaders among most mega Churches of this world, including Catholicism. The degraded people get obsessed with desiring to follow other humans, rather than following Christ.
After his death, Armstrong’s followers were miserably reduced to fragmentations. Debates are still continuing, on whether he was a deceiver or truly used by God. Whatever the case may have been, I choose to believe that Armstrong was, indeed, used by God. Although skeptical of vouching for him as having been greater than others.
Most of his critics still sustaining bitterness, assume that they were deliberately duped by Armstrong. Although existing among most of those people, I still find Armstrong to have been a hundred times better than most, among those critics.
Herbert Armstrong did not pretend. I suppose he died assuming that he was right in everything he taught. His successor, Joe Tkach, helped some of us to discover his erroneous teachings. I personally did not feel cheated by him. Instead, I blamed myself for having failed to see such inaccuracies, especially as he always advised his followers to behave like the Bereans (Acts 17:11).
Herbert Armstrong encouraged me to appreciate what comes from the source, rather than blindly taking for granted, Christian positions. I remain willing to change, as God reveals. For instance, there is some truth in Catholicism, but not everything is true in Catholicism.
There is also some truth, among the SDAs, but not everything is true among those groupings. This includes every other Christian denomination in the world. It is not impossible, even, for the truth to come from nonreligious groupings, like mere scholars, for instance.
Imagine how Galileo was treated for his fundamental contributions in the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials? Including the development of scientific methods? He also made revolutionary telescopic discoveries, including the four largest moons of Jupiter. Out of stupidity, Christians castigated him for being non-religious. What they did not know, at the time, was that truth does not need defense.
The truth remains true, regardless of what skeptics might say. One of the Hebrew Scholars, during the apostolic times, made this abundantly clear to his counterparts. His suggestion helped to spare the lives of the apostles, at that time. God can use even none believers to advance his purpose.
The traitor, Judas Iscariot, served God’s purpose. Governor Pilate, also served God’s purpose, without him knowing what he was doing. This includes those making a crown of thorns for Jesus, before crucifying Him. All things work together for good, for those who love God (Romans 8:28).
Recently, I was fascinated to read one of the online articles, suggesting that God supports Donald Trump. The conspiracy theory being that Joe Biden will facilitate the beast’s power, according to what is prophesied in the book of Revelation. Such Christians may probably not be different from the Islamic fundamentalists.
Did Jesus say God’s truth needs defending? Even as Christ prophesied about the end-time developments He did not suggest opposing such developments. The purpose of Christianity is to advance God’s Kingdom, but not by frantically condemning those involved in such apparent bad conditions.
The role of Christianity includes reconciliation when advancing the message of the Kingdom, as enunciated by Christ. That message comprises the aspect of embracing altruism, at the expense of self-centeredness. It is self-centeredness that promotes exclusivity. Avoiding other viewpoints displays symptoms of fear.
Nevertheless, truth is preserved for eternity. This was echoed by one of the Hebrew scholars, Gamaliel, at the height of Christian persecution. His words had an impact on sparing the execution of the apostles.
“Therefore, in the present case, I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God” (Acts 5:38-39) (NIV).
It can only be the unscrupulous ones, justifying their positions, when aiming at receiving supporters. Salesmanship is unnecessary when advancing God’s truth. This is why Jesus advised His followers to refrain from swearing when giving testimonies. What is true will forever remain true, whether supported or not supported by others.
“And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:36-37) (NIV).
If faithful, there certainly would not be multitudes of Christian groupings, found defending their respective positions. Untruthfulness can be exposed for what it is without condemning anyone. There is no need to vilify the untruthful people, whatsoever. All that is necessary is consulting their willingness to change when proven to be in error.
Has it ever occurred to some people; that at the time of crucifixion Jesus never engaged lawyers to defend Himself? Even when asked by Pilate to defend Himself, Jesus refrained from doing so. He only remained committed to what he knew to be true.
Of course, it is impossible for justice to be fairly executed in our sinful world. Imagine the disturbing injustices, committed against the abducted Johana Mamombe and her colleagues? They are the accused; when clearly they ought to be the victims.
The jubilations for receiving the unjustified Political parties funding, by Khuphe’s MDCT party is, actually, disgusting. But it would be too much to expect fairness in this sinful world. Those celebrating such injustices assume being clever, but, certainly, no other stupidity goes further than that.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99