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Truth Matters!

For some hours late yesterday, I stood on the Capitoline Hill overlooking the entire Roman Forum, contemplating the ruinous but still very impressive array of once glorious monuments and temples to all sorts of imagined deities, the hidden purpose of such mighty display to legitimize the already entrenched powers which claimed descent from such mythical deities. Writing now, a few meters from St. John Lateran, erected over 1700 years ago and ever since the preeminent basilica of the Catholic Church as the seat of the bishop of Rome and pretended vicar of Christ, I observe what happened over time as primitive, apostolic Christianity collided head-on with the mighty institutions of a pagan Rome symbolized in Revelation as a dragon, to be followed by a first beast, and later yet another.

Among the numerous inscriptions in the Roman fora often appear the words Pontifex Maximus, referring to the emperor, which title derives from the importance of the chief engineer of the bridges being built over the Tiber in the earliest days of Roman history long before the empire. As pagan Rome morphed its idolatry into an apostate Christianity whose doctrines and practices were compromised in the amalgamation of the two systems, the fusion produced a political/religious monstrosity with its trappings of pageantry and displays of power seeking to legitimize and uphold its dominance and continually acquired wealth. The `pontifex maximus` morphed from the emperor into the successive popes, all claiming to be the vicar of Christ on earth--which title belongs certainly not to any man but to the Holy Spirit alone.

This sort of outcome from direct confrontation is by no means unique but rather oft-repeated throughout history. But I wish to address what happens when the true church (God has always had a few who truly belonged to him) directly collides with the world...that is, with worldly ways of thinking, worldly values, and principles. The apostles warned us that to love the world is to be void of love for God. Nevertheless, we see so abundantly how compromise with the world so easily occurs wherever love for God and his truth is allowed to ebb. Reformations are overwhelmed by such compromise. But although they be few, God always has a people. The first three chapters of Revelation with its letters to the churches are very instructive in their very solemn warnings to us all. Unless we truly heed these warnings, we will ourselves end up in this grotesque morphing of pagan, worldly values with a `form of religion/godliness which denies its own power.` We end up with a gospel proclaiming--not deliverance from SIN but deliverance from sin`s penalties; a gospel of social do-good-ism. Instead of presenting the true Christ who is the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life, a false Jesus and a different `gospel` is offered, a morphing into the worldly culture which the true gospel was meant to redeem on an individual basis, one by one, through repentance and obedient faith in Christ. The outcome of such compromise is always failure: absolute failure in the eyes of God, who will bring all to account.

We remember the well-known poem which can illustrate the unhappy result of amalgamation which neutralizes itself:

``The Hydrogen dog And the Cobalt cat,
side by side in the armory sat,
Nobody thought about fusion or fission.
Everyone spoke of their peace time mission,
till somebody came to open the door.
There they were, in a neutron fog.
The Codrogen Cat And the Hybalt dog;
they mushroomed up with a terrible roar,
and nobody never was there no more."
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