‘The evolving way people think about truth’
“It’s not about the truth but about the perception of what people think is right.”
“If you’ve got a world view that says there is no truth, there are no absolutes, then why can’t something that’s fake be true?” Stuart Millar suggested, saying everything is about perceptions today.
Fake news and the increasingly lowering levels of journalistic integrity reflects a rapidly changing world into one aptly labeled as post-truth.
What does this mean for evangelical Christians? Should their methods to sharing the Gospel change in any way?
To answer these questions and others, evangelist and Bible teacher Stuart Millar was a recent guest on Vision Radio’s 20Twenty program.
Stuart has just returned from hosting evangelism seminars in New Zealand and he told Neil Johnson there were plenty interested in his evangelism training methods.
“I went from church to church with our G7 training app and explaining how it works. It’s a great way for Christians to pull out the phone and share very easily with someone and take them through the Gospel message,” Stu said, confessing it was his regular summer pilgrimage back to his former homeland although he’s lived in Australia with his family the past 12 years.
“This is the first time in all those years I’ve not gone back to my home church. I was just booked out every Sunday. It was fantastic, there was a lot of interest on how to share your faith. I was very encouraged,” Stu reflected before tackling the post-truth question.
Stu Millar said we should be talking about this more and that it does come up in seminars.
“Christians tell their stories, ‘We’re sharing the Gospel but people don’t even believe in God or truth itself. They think truth is relative, everything’s right and think that all religions are the same,” Stu shared, saying we’ve gone past the modern era where everything was science-based and facts.
“If you can’t prove it, they say, if there’s no evidence then it’s not real. But we do have a soul, there’s love, you know, try and put that into chemistry,” Stu Millar illustrated, saying there’s a whole lot of things that science can’t define.
“There’s a whole spiritual side to us and people are recognizing that and they’re going past the scientific modern era to this post-modern era or this post-truth era where everyone’s right,” Stu said.
He said in street conversations he’s been having lately he’s being told there’s many ways to God and there are many parts to God and surely you’re not saying that you’re the only one who’s right and everyone else is wrong?
“It sounds so narrow-minded, so bigoted, and so I really think we need to discuss this because we don’t want to come across as arrogant bigots,” Stu said.
It raises the question – how do you share the Gospel in this environment when it’s so clear cut? Neil Johnson’s observation is those unsaved who are caught up in the fake news spiral, are gravitating towards what they want to believe rather than what is true.
“Well if you’ve got a world view that says there is no truth, there are no absolutes, then why can’t something that’s fake be true?” Stu suggested saying that everything is about perception.
“It’s not about the truth but about the perception of what people think is right,” Stu stated, saying that as a Christian, and if you’re sharing the Gospel people will think that’s your perception, that’s your truth, it’s not my truth.
Stu Millar said that by nature truth is very exclusive.
“And we want to include everyone and that’s a lovely thought. Lets’ all hold hands and sing Kumbaya. Let’s all just love one another and be at peace and accept everyone is right.”
“Well, unfortunately when you’ve mutually exclusive things being said they can’t both be true. It’s just an illogical fallacy,” Stu Millar declared.
Neil Johnson brought the words of Jesus into the discussion with the Lord’s statement, I am The Way, The Truth and The Life. Jesus said, ‘I am The Truth’ Neil quoted,” How does this go down in a post-truth world?
Stu Millar said Jesus words today are very polarising.
“A lot of people hate that saying from Jesus and they react to it quite badly,” Stu said, saying so many people are getting into all sorts of crazy new age things.
“They just believe it because they want to believe it,” Stu said, talking about a spiritual festival he attended last year.
“There were all these sorts of things floating around. There was Past Life Regression Therapy and there was even one for Inter Past Life Regression Therapy and you’re paying all this money to these people to help you with your life and there’s no evidence for any of it,” Stu observed.
“At this festival people couldn’t get the concept that Jesus is the only Way and when we said it was Jesus who said this they’d say, ‘Oh well, that’s OK but is He telling the truth or not?’”
“Then there’s this pause because it really is polarizing. Either Jesus was lying or He was telling the truth. If He was telling the truth then you need to follow Jesus, because He is the Way the Truth and the Life!”
(Stu Millar relating the conversation he had with New Age spiritualists……)
“But if He’s lying, (another pause)….hang on a minute, you (spiritualists) just said everyone is right. You can’t have it both ways. It’s an illogical position.”
The spiritualists repeated that everyone is right and Stu replied saying he disagreed and they then said, ‘Oh, no no no, you’re wrong.’
“And I said again, hey hang on a minute, you just said everyone is right, you can’t say I am wrong!”
Neil gave some more background saying how we had grown up with traditional thinking, then the post-modern world gave way to experimenting and the post-truth feeling in our society is that we need to be open to everything.
“If you’re not open to everything if you’re not inclusive then you’re a narrow-minded bigot.”
“It really effects the way Christians come across. We need to be very aware of our community and the world view that’s out there because the way that we communicate needs to be done with humility and love and at the same time I think people are yearning for truth,” Stu Millar declared saying deep down they know their world without Christ doesn’t make sense.
“Something doesn’t add up here. You know we cannot live life like this!” Stu exclaimed before giving an example of the post-truth at work in the family kitchen.
“I mean when my wife asked me this morning, ‘Stuart is there any milk in the fridge? I didn’t go, ‘Well darling, if you believe there’s milk in the fridge there’s milk in the fridge. But if you don’t believe there’s milk in the fridge, there’s no milk in the fridge.”
“I mean you cannot live life like this! There’s either milk in the fridge or there’s not!”
“It’s the reality. God’s either there or He’s not. Jesus is either the Way or He’s not. He’s either the truth or He’s not,” Stu claimed, saying when you explain it like that people can see the logic but they struggle inside with the thought of excluding anyone.
“We’re battling with this whole world view and pressure from society and media not to be bigoted and not put anyone else down.”
“And I think the way that we communicate, if we’re loving and gentle, don’t put anyone down and just declare the truth in love, it really breaks through,” Stuart Millar concluded.
Train To Proclaim is a ministry that is passionate about helping people understand what the Gospel is and provides tools and training in how to proclaim the gospel. We understand that churches find it a challenge to create a culture of evangelism and there can be a resistance to being actively involved in the Great Commission. Stuart Millar (Founder and Director), trains groups of Pastors/Christians around the world how to clearly communicate the Gospel and helps church leaders develop a culture of evangelism and implement realistic evangelism strategies in their churches.
For more information on Stuart Millar, go to his website – http://www.traintoproclaim.com/