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The Spirit of Truth

The Spirit of Truth

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Published by Daniel Andrew

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Published by: Daniel Andrew on Jul 31, 2011
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01/03/2013

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TheSpiritofTruth
byArthurKatz&PaulVolk 
Foreward
"thehouseofGod,whichisthechurchofthelivingGod,
thepillarandthegroundofthetruth
."(ITim3:15).
Isuspectthatinyourexperience,asinmine,thereferencestothisfoundationaldescriptionoftheChurchhavebeenrare.Theomissionmaybesignificant,fortheunhappytruthis,thatofalltheinstitutionsoftheearth,theChurchisthemoststiltedandinauthentic,themostpredictableandcontrived.Howisitthataphenomenonwhoseoriginisheavenlyandwaspurchasedatsuchcostshouldbecome,byourgeneration,somelancholyaculture?Isitnotthatwehavefailedtojealouslyprizeandsafeguardtruthitself,insteadofexercisingthedaily,moment-by-momentdiligencethattruthbyitsverynaturerequires?Havewenotrecognizedthattheissueoftruthissomuchmorethanmereoutwardcompliancetoform,thatonlytheintensityofaloveroftruthwouldsuffice?Appropriatelyenough,theessaythatyouareabouttoreadhaditsoriginatachurchwhereIwasbroughtoneSundaymorning,freefromanycommitmentofmyown,toenjoytheluxuryofhearinganotherpreacher.Iwenttrippingasadoe,fullofdelightandanticipation,buoyedbythelavishpraisefortheministerasapreacheroftheWord,bythebrotherwhoescortedme.Iwasseatedinthebalconyofthecrowdedchurch,attentiveandwaiting,butnotalittledisturbedbythecontrastinggroupsaroundme.Ontheonehand,theassemblyincludedclustersofgiddyteenagersroundabout.Ontheotherhand,Iwasstruckbytheairofreligiousstiffnessandjoylessnessintheadults.Iendeavoredtothrottlemyjaundicedsubjectivity,notwantinginanywaytoallowittoimpingeuponthepreachedwordnowbeginningtocomeforth.Asthemessageunfolded,Icouldreadilyunderstandtheenthusiasmforthepreacherthatmycompanionheld.Thewordswereclear,pointed,andcorrect.What,then,wasthisstrangeuneasinessrisinginmysoulthatintensifiedwitheveryword,tillfinallymyinnardswereknottedinaninexplicableanguish?AtlastIrealizedmydilemma:mymindwasapprovingtheoutwardbiblicalanddoctrinalcorrectnessofthewordpreached,butmysoulwasrecoilingatthespiritofthespeakingthatcontradicteditseverysyllable!Wewerewiththeoneenjoinedtoradicalcommitmentandsacrifice,whiletheotherwassaying,"Noneedtopanic;thisneednotbetakenseriously-remember,thisisonlyasermon.I'llprovideabiblicalmessageweekly,andyouprovideformypersonalsecurityandwellbeing.Iwon'tpushyou,andyouwon'tpushme,andwe'llgetalongfamously."Inthatmoment,therealizationwasbirthedinme(shouldIhavenotlongbeforeseenit?):
thetruthisthewholetruthandnothingbutthetruth,oritisnotthetruth.
Thespiritoftheonespeaking-theconstitutionandgritoftheperson-mustbeincompleteagreementwiththewordsoftheonespeaking,oritisalie.ThedevastatingwordsofthewidowofZarephathtotheprophetElijahpiercemestill:
"NowbythisIknowthatthouartamanofGod,andthatthewordoftheLordinthymouthistruth."(IKi17:24KJV).
 
Socommencedthereflections,givenasaseriesofmessages,whichyouareabouttoread.MycolleagueinthisendeavorisPaulVolk,likemyself,abelieverwhomyouwouldlikelyhavelittleoccasiontoknow.OusoulshavebecomeintertwinedintheyearstogetherincommunityhereinnorthernMinnesota,wherewehavewrestledthroughtheissuesofthefaith.WeareJewsofanintellectualandacademicbent,seekingtodisengagethefaithfromitsculturalandtraditionaltrappings,soastobeholditandproclaimitinallpurity.Therearefewmenwhobetterknowmyheart,andwhoareabletointerpretandexpressitwithanuncommonincisivenessandclarity.AshiswifeAdriennehasoftenexpressed,"Youcan'ttellwheretheoneendsandtheotherbegins."Well,I
can
tell,forIamoftenleftadmiring,ifnotenvying,theturnofathoughtthatPaulbringsthatconvertsaninsightintoanaphorism,sopithyandpenetratingthattheentirebookistherebyjustified.Iamleftwiththestrangefeelinginreadingthismanuscriptofsomethingthatismine,yetnotmine-intimatelyfamiliar,yetnew.Itisthesynthesisoftwomindsandheartsandspiritsthatmakesitqualitativelyotherandinfinitelybetter;itisevenaforetaste,ifyouwill,ofthegloriesoftruecorporatenessthatawaittheflowingtogetheroftheBodyofChristinthislasthour.Youbethejudge.AsIhavefrequentlysaid,theologyistoopreciousandexpansiveforthelaborsofone,butitneedsapluralityofeffortandinsighttobringforthitsbeveledbrilliance.Maythisbookbeanintimationofthat,howevermodest.Finally,mayoureffortkindleanewtheloveoftruththat,inthisdarkandturbulentageofdeception,alonesavesonefromperishing.ThecynicalspiritofPontiusPilatethatimpliesthattruthcannotbeknown,orthespiritinourrelativisticagethatsaystruthdoesnotevenexist,increasinglypervades.Itisafashionablepostureandpresumption,whichisitselfalie,thatwillcontendagainstthetruthevenuntodeath.Thelovefothetruth,whichisitsonlyantidote,willbecostlyinthishour.MaytheLord,whoHimselfisTruth,breatheonthesepagestoinspirethecouragetodesireandseekthetruth,towitnessandobeyit,tosufferforitasinevitablyonemust,sothat,intheend,theremightbeaChurchinthisdeviousworldthatisthegroundandpillarofTruth.MaywebekeptfromthatlongingforthemanifestationsofthepowerofGodthatisunaware,asJessePenn-Lewisremindsus,thattheSpiritofGod,beforeHecanbeknownorexperiencedaseithepowerorlove,isfirstandprimarily,theSpiritofTruth.
 ArthurKatz Laporte,Minnesota
Introduction-TheSpiritofTruth
"WhatisTruth?"PontiusPilateneveraskedamoreimportantquestion.And,thoughthemanofwhomheaskeditdidnotutterasinglewordinreply,nomaneverreceivedamorecompleteandarticulateanswer.WhywasJesussilent?And,whenaskedthatsamequestionbymentoday,whyarewesocompelledtospeak?OnewouldthinkwehadatourdisposalfarmoretruthsandrightdoctrinesthanJesushad.WecouldhavegivenPilateaveryimpressivestatement
  
allquitescripturalandcorrect.Whydidn'tJesusdothesame?AtothertimesandinotherencountersHewasstrikinglyarticulate.HecouldreasonandcontendwiththebestreligiousmindsinIsrael.YetbeforePilate,Jesus,themasterofencounter,thesupremescripturaldebater,stoodmute.Hissilencewasnotbornofalackoftruths.Hepossessedtruthsinabundance.HewassilentnotbecauseHelackedtruthsbutbecauseHewasfulloftruth,becauseHewastruth-andinthatmomenttoutterasingletruthwouldhavebeentoobscurethelivingtruththatHewas.IfPilatecouldnotseetruthbeforehim,inalightandclarityheightenedbythesilenceinwhichitstood,thennothinghemighthaveheardcouldhavesavedhim.Andthatcausesustowonderifperhapsthereasonwesooftencannotabideinsilenceisthatwefearthatitwouldonlymakemoreapparenttheabsenceratherthanthepresenceoftruthinourselves.JesusmaynothavespokentoPilate,butHedidspeaktous.HeevenansweredforusthequestionthatPilateasked,butHisanswerwasasperplexingandascontrarytoourexpectationsaswasHissilencetoPilate."IamtheTruth...,"Hesaid,implyingthat
truthismorethanasumofrightanswers.Itisnosomethingtohaveatallbutsomething,firstandaboveallelse,tobe.
Truthisaspirit,alife;andthisspirit,thislifeistheway,theonlywaytotheFather.
"Iam...thetruth,and...noonecomestotheFatherbutby
 
me."(John.14:6RSV)
Suddenlyitdawnsuponusthatitisnotby
having 
truthsbutby
becoming 
truethatwearesaved.God'sdesireisnotmerelytoinformusbuttotransfigureus,nottofilluswithtruthsbuttomakeustrue.TheHolySpirit,theComforter,theSpiritofChrist,theSpiritofadoptionwhichshedsGod'sloveabroadinourhearts,istheSpiritofTruth.Jesusleavesusonnew,unfamiliarground.Weknowwhatitmeansforastatementoradoctrinetobetrue,butwhatdoesitmeanwhenamandeclares,"Iamthetruth"?Weknowwhatitmeanstohavetruthbutstaggerattheideaofbeingtrue.Wearefarmoreathomewiththereligionthatisoccupiedwithhavinganddoing.Weknowhowtogoaboutacquiringmoreandmoretruths.ButthereligionofGodisanimatedforemostbyadesiretobe,notmerelytodooracquire.
Weseektopossesstruth;Godseekstomakeustrue.Thedifferenceisvastandthekindsofmenproducedbyeachpursuitarevastlydifferentandwillhaveadifferenteffect.
Tobelievethathavingisbeing,thatbecomingtrueissimplyafunctionofacquiringasufficientamountotruth,isadeception.Whatsuchdeceptionproduces,ifallowedtogounbroken,isthetragicandironicspectacleofmenimpeccable(sotheythink)intheirdoctrines,yetlivinglivesthatareessentiallyperformanceandimitation,whichistosay,false.IfawidowcouldsaytoElijah,
"theWordoftheLordinyourmouthistruth,"(IKings17:24NAS),
thenitmustfollowthattheWordofGodinsomeoneelse'smouthcanbefalse.Themouth,thevoice,isnotseparatefromthewordthatcomesoutfromit.Voiceandwordareanunbrokencontinuum.JesusspeaksGod'swordbecauseHeisGod'sword.HespeakstruthbecauseHeistrue.Truthsareimportantbuttheyareasdead,andasdeadly,asthelawwrittenonstone,withouttheSpiritofTruthinustoanimatethem.IftheLawalone,howevercorrectlyquotedandfollowed,couldnotmakeusrighteous,howcouldtruthsalone,howeverorthodoxyprofessed,evermakeustrue?AsChrististhegoalandfulfillmentofGod'slaw,soisHethegoalandfulfillmentofGod'struths.ThesameGodwhocouldmakeaPhariseelikePaulintoalivingepistleofHisgracebytheSpiritofgracecanalsomakeHisChurchalivingdemonstrationoftruthbytheSpiritofTruth.Thislittlebookisintendedtobesomethingdifferentfromanexpositionofbiblicaltruths.Hopefullyitwillprovetobemorethenjustanotherbook
about 
truth.Ithaditsorigininaseriesofmessagesspokenoverseveraldaystoagatheringofbelievers,messagesthatweremeanttorevealandhopefullyevendemonstratetheverySpiritofTruth,whoistheessenceofalltruths.Itisoftendifficultenoughtocaptureinwritingtruthsoncespoken.Itisevenmoredifficulttoconveythespiritinwhichtheywerespoken.Thisbookismeanttobetrue,inwordandinspirit.Itisintendedtorestoretheunitybetweenthewordandthelifeoftruthwithoutwhichtruthiscoldanddead.Ifitonlyinformsitsreadersitwillhavefailed.IfGodcanuseittosomedegreetotransformthemitwillhavesucceeded.However,afinalwordofcautionmaybenecessary.Thepagesthatfollowconsistentlyproclaimtruthasaspirit,whichistosay,somethingmorethanwords.
Truthisindeedmorethanwhatwesay;itoughttobewhatweare.Butwhiletruthismorethanwords,itisnotlessthanwords.
Weliveinanagethatincreasinglydespisesanddenigratesprepositionaltruth.EvenwithintheChurchitisbecomingasourceoembarrassmenttocontendforthedoctrinesofthefaith,asifallcontendingwasofnecessitycontentious,andwhowantstobelabeleddivisiveinourincreasinglyecumenicalage?Someseemtothinkthatbyputtingtheword"mere"before"doctrine"thatthesubjecthasbeensufficientlydealtwith.Butthereareno"mere"doctrines.Thetruthsofthefaithareandwillcontinuetobeworthlivinganddyingfor.Itwouldbeamistaketotaketheemphasisofthisbookabouttruthasaspiritasifitwereinoppositiontotruthasword.
TheSpiritofTruthneedstobeproclaimednotbecausethewordoftruthisunimportantbu preciselybecauseitissoveryimportant.
Truthswoodenlyproclaimedwithoutalifethatistrueareadisservicetotruth.Butlikewisetheelevationofbeing"authentic"or"real"or"true"inawaythatdiminishestheplaceandvalueofthetruthsoncegiventotheChurchdoesanequaldisservicetotruth.Thisbookisacryforthewholetruth.ItwouldbetragicandarealironyiftheSpiritofTrutheverbecameyetonefurtherandfinalbannerbehindwhichapartialandthereforefalseversionoftruthwaschampioned.
PaulVolk St.Paul,Minnesota

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