Crosfigell

The Cost of Truth

We'll have to give an account of our stewardship of truth.

“If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Whoever hates me hates my Father also.”

   - John 15.22

I beg you to pardon me, too hurtful and rough a speaker; on such a matter I could not write otherwise. For while in all things I have wanted to agree with truth, not without knowing that I must eat unleavened bread with bitterness, I have served only God, Who is blessed for ever.

   - Columbanus, Letter to Pope Boniface, Irish, 7th century

Columbanus’ basic problem was that he had no patience with status quo Christianity.

For decades, the priests and pastors of the churches in Gaul had been managing a no-risk faith, dancing around and catering to the whims and wants of local rulers. In the process, they had made themselves at ease and prosperous, and comforted their flocks with the idea that all they had to do was believe and come to church, and they would have the eternal blessing of God.

But, Hey, Columbanus, upon arriving in Gaul complained: What about righteousness? What about justice? What about the proclamation of Christ as Lord and King? What about truth?

For his trouble in confronting local pastors he was ratted on to Rome, which demanded an accounting. His answer? I stand for the Truth, even though I know it is bitter and lonely to do so.

But Columbanus knew that God knows, and God will bless. The Pope and his slacker subjects in Gaul would have to give an account for their ways, and not just to the Irish missionaries now inconveniently at large in their midst.

Today a kind of “near Christianity” infects the churches of the land. People are happy and assured that they’re going to heaven when they die, that God loves them and wants them to prosper, but that He doesn’t get too exercised about things like sin and righteousness and (especially) keeping the Law. Discipleship is what you make it, according to your wants and needs, and not God’s design. Worship is all about us feeling good about ourselves, not about honoring God in ways He has prescribed.

The new Christianity of the status quo has led the Church in America to the margins of society – which, in case no one has noticed, runs perilously close to the ledge. The cost of truth is that it demands obedience, faithfulness, and courage in the face of an entrenched and comfortable status quo of let’s-just-all-go-along-to-get-along.

But in our going along, if we don’t go along with the Truth, we’ll have to explain that some day – not to some irritated pastor or comfortable congregant, but to God.

Psalm 82.1, 2 (Aurelia: "The Church's One Foundation")
God stands amid His people to judge their rulers all:
How long will they oppress those who on His favor call?
How long will they the wicked show partiality,
And treat with scorn the meek who their proper care should be?

Lord, strengthen me for this day, to seek Your truth, walk in Your truth, and proclaim Your truth at every opportunity.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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[1] Walker, p. 53.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.