The Truth about the Dress

The internet sure proved to be a strange place yesterday, didn’t it!?  Llamas and a dress temporarily took all of our minds off of some of the heavy news headlines of our day, and it seemed as though everyone gladly embraced the light-hearted reprieve.

I first saw this dress last evening in a post on twitter along with a question of the dress’s color.  White and gold.  Simple enough.  And I moved on.  Then I began to see the dress in more tweets.  I turned to Facebook where I saw the picture posted by friends in posts that already contained dozens of responses.  I began to wonder what the big deal was until I actually clicked on one such post and began reading through the comments.  At first I thought this must be a trick.  What are these other people seeing who say that the dress is blue and black??  So I finally took my iPad to my wife.  “Tell me what color this dress is,” I said, sarcastically.  “Blue and dark brown, why?” she responded.

WHAT!?!?

We laughed for the rest of the night as we traced social media conversations and discussed the possible reasons for our radically different perspectives.

The truth is, I knew that the dress was white and gold.  The truth is, my wife knew the dress was blue and dark brown.  I opened a link from twitter this morning that contained the answer to the mystery that had been posted by the owner of the dress last night.  The truth is, the dress is blue and black.

Had I been called upon last night to answer that question with my life depending on it, I would have ultimately answered white and gold.  I was sure in my mind that the dress was white and gold.  I would have argued with someone that the dress was white and gold.  This morning I was confronted with the truth.  The truth is, I am wrong. It struck me this morning that this whole dress comedy actually serves as a wonderful reminder about truth, itself.

The truth is, truth is not relative.

The dress is blue and black.  There is no way around this truth.  No matter how adamant I may be to the contrary, no matter how many people agree with me, the truth is ultimately the truth.  And the truth stands contrary to my assessment.

Relativism suggests that all truth claims are equally legitimate.  There is no absolute truth.  This viral picture of a dress serves to prove the foolishness of relativism.  The truth is the truth, and ultimately the truth will be revealed.  My assessment of the dress’s color, no matter how legitimate I thought it to be, was proven illegitimate in light of the truth.  I am wrong.  Even as I sit here now and see a white and gold dress, the truth compels me to know that I am wrong.  The dress is real, and it is blue and black.  This truth stands above my perspective because of the reality of the dress and its actual colors.  The truth about this dress is not relative.  All perspectives do not have equal legitimacy.  Many people are wrong.  The truth about the color of this dress is absolute.

Ultimately, the color of this dress means very little in the grand scheme of things.  But it serves as a great argument from the lesser to the greater.  Just as with the dress, the truth is absolute in all things.  True, we all have different perspectives and different assessments.  As we hold certain beliefs with even greater gusto than our assessment of a dress’s colors, ultimately we must understand that the truth is absolute.  The ultimate question does not lie in our level of passion or emotion backing our truth claim, but rather in the source of the truth we seek.  What is the basis, or foundation, of my belief, or truth claim?  If my only answer points to my feelings or my own sincerity, just like with the dress, can we really trust that foundation in determining what is really true?

I am reminded again by this whole dress ordeal that the legitimacy of a truth claim cannot be found in the sincerity of the person holding it.  Everyone is sincere and hold sincere beliefs about many of the same issues.  But, in returning to our viral illustration, ultimate the truth is revealed in the reality of the dress.  The dress exists, and it exists as blue and black.

This is why I am so thankful for God, whom I believe to be the source of all Truth, and his great gift of his Word that he has given to us.  My emotions often fail me.  I am often sincere, but sincerely wrong.  In the midst of my great error stands God’s Word, which is, “Forever…firmly fixed in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89).  I ultimately defer to it because “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

The dress reminds me that I am a lousy basis for truth.  I am glad God did not leave me to grope for truth in my own experiences, emotions and ill-shaped perspectives.  Instead he has revealed himself to us.  And since “God is light” (1 John 1:5), he offers me the opportunity to know what is true through what he has lovingly revealed.

So, what is the basis for what you claim to be true?  Without a basis outside of yourself, how can you know it to truly be truth?  Is it possible you could be wrong, even and especially concerning the biggest questions and issues you face?  What colors do you see when you look at the dress?

 

Simple Litmus Test for the Validity of ‘Biblical’ Promises

Would you like a simple litmus test to use to help you determine the Scriptural truthfulness/validity of doctrinal or theological statements or promises?  Look at the picture to the left.

Here is the test: Would you be willing to make that same statement to those 21 men at the time that picture was taken?  Is that statement equally true for those brothers in Christ as it is for you?  If a ‘promise’ from Scripture is faithful to the Scriptures, it will be equally true for all believers everywhere, not just for believers ‘blessed’ enough to live in America.

Nothing makes me more furious toward false teachers and their ridiculous prosperity gospel than when I see images of brothers and sisters around the world who are truly experiencing persecution and suffering for their faith.  Perhaps we should be more mindful of those brothers and sisters when we hear garbage like the following statements that have absolutely nothing to do with the very good news found in the Scriptures.

Can you imagine standing on that beachfront and proclaiming any of the following declarations to these men, moments before having their heads cut off because they refuse to denounce their faith in Jesus?  Would you admonish them with any of the following statements in an effort to help them begin to experience their best life now?

Besides the obvious deception of the Prosperity Gospel, the fact that it holds such little regard for most believers around the world (and especially for those who are severely persecuted) colors much of my hatred towards it.  If you seek encouragement from these types of empty, extra-biblical, gospel-less promises, you will be guilty of the same.

Can all of my brothers and sisters around the world be encouraged by this promise/statement in whatever circumstance they currently find themselves?  Let the truth and majesty of the true gospel encourage you, believer!  Pray that those same realities would encourage all believers everywhere in the same manner as we all focus our hope on the one who has redeemed us and will one day bring about the fulness of all that is ours in him!  We remain steadfast in that hope and continue to rest in his faithfulness in the meantime as we groan together.

That New Coke SuperBowl Ad & the Gospel

coca-cola-super-bowl-commercial-7

If you didn’t get a chance to see the Coca-Cola ad from last night’s SuperBowl, you can watch it below.  That ad resonates with so many, largely because we live in such a broken world.  People are grasping for answers to the tragic problems of hate and bullying, so Coke spends millions of dollars in advertising to promote its answer…happiness…and coke (of course).  Happiness has always been a central advertising strategy of the Coke brand, which is refreshing in our culture’s media.


Despite that, even Coke’s promotion of happiness offers a sadly erroneous answer to the pervasive problem it attempts to address.  In the end, a call to happiness offers nothing but false hope.  Nothing changes.  We cannot and will not solve the problem of hate through even the most well written and produced media campaign.  As for this coke ad, it ultimately misses the mark both in its diagnosis and its answer. Continue reading

Our Lives as Celebration

Rend-Collective

Our family had the awesome opportunity to see Rend Collective in concert this past Friday night.  I have wanted to see them live for some time, so this was a real treat for me!  If you are not familiar with Rend, they are a worship band from Ireland; although, on Friday night they actually referred to themselves as a Celebration Band.  You wouldn’t have to see them live for very long to agree with that assessment.  Their songs are generally upbeat and alive with a joy that’s rooted in gospel truth.  As I participated in this concert of celebration with my family,  I actually found myself feeling somewhat convicted.  Rend collective gave me more than just a good show; they reminded me that because of the gospel, the backdrop of my life should exude celebration. Continue reading

Jesus is Our Ark

Week 1, Day 4: Genesis 6-7

In light of the coming flood of judgment thousands of years ago, God provided a means of salvation.  He commanded his servant Noah to build an ark.  The Scriptures tell us that in the construction of that ship only 1 door was placed.  That door alone provided the only means of salvation from the coming flood.  As he built Noah preached and invited even the most sinful to seek refuge by trusting in God’s promise.  In the end only his family entered the door.  The passage goes on to tell us that just before God began to pour his wrath out upon the earth, God, himself, shut the door.

Judgment is once again eminent in our day.  Jesus will return and no one can say for sure when.  When he does he will return as King and as Judge.  He came on a rescue mission in his first coming, accomplishing all that was necessary to offer even the most sinful of people a way of salvation.  And just as there existed only one door into the ark, because he is the only one who actually dealt with sin and earned the righteousness that holy God demands, he exists now as the only way of salvation for sinful people (John 14:6).  That’s all of us (Romans 3:23).  When he returns God will once again close the door and there will be no more chance for those who have chosen to remain in unbelief and stay on the outside of that exclusive refuge.

The invitation is open once again.  The gospel proclaims a rescue that is available through Christ alone.  Anyone can enter by repenting of sin and trusting in Jesus.  Will you trust in him today?

Satan’s Tactics have Always Been the Same

Week 1, Day 3: Genesis 3-5

In Genesis 3 we find the story of The Fall.  We see a character enter the creation named Satan who takes the form of a serpent and tempts Eve.  In this brief encounter we can identify several tactics used by Satan in his wooing of Eve. The truth is, the tactics identified here are really the exact same tactics the Evil One uses today in luring us.  We can learn something of both the essence of sin and of temptation.  Notice them with me. Continue reading

“What is man that you are mindful of him?”

Week 1, Day 2: John 1:1-3; Psalm 8, 104

This morning I read this from Psalm 8…

O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!  You have set your glory above the heavens … When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?  -Psalm 8:1, 3-4

And then today I click on a link and see this updated Hubble Telescope picture of what has come to be known as the “Pillars of Creation.”

The article I read (that you can access here), then included an infrared version, which removes the gas and dust and reveals an enormous field of stars!

Wow.  The heavens truly do declare the glory of their Creator!  How can one not look at such majestic beauty and not respond with the Psalmist…

Bless the Lord, O my soul!  O Lord my God, you are very great!  You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent.  -Psalm 104:1-2