One of the core values that we celebrate about the culture of the Christian school where I teach is our open pursuit of truth. As in any body of believers, our community comes from a wide range of denominational backgrounds and holds to a broad spectrum of beliefs. But within this ideological and theological diversity we’ve created a safe space that allows for reason and debate within a context of mutual respect.
I am often reminded that our staff team is a diverse body. I can think of the odd staff devotional or chapel presentation that I couldn’t quite sign off on. Last year, I had the unique experience of listening to a direct and public rebuttal of a devotional that I had shared the previous morning. More recently, I was told that some of my dearest life choices may be misled or out of step with scripture. At our parent-teacher conferences, I was reminded that many parents in our school community favoured a Donald Trump victory in the recent US election. And on the days when the Surrey Four car pools together, we don’t hold back as we debate and dissect the tough issues.
This diversity of thought is actually comforting to me. It tells me that we are not a collection of muted conformists or intellectual sluggards. We are vibrant and authentic members of the body of Christ. And as we are real about our faith and real about our questions, we are modeling what it means to vigorously pursue truth. We are living out our identity as an institution that does not pretend to have it all figured out but is relentless in our pursuit of further revelation.
Here is Mark Clark, pastor of Village Church in Surrey. Check out what he has to say about the transformative pursuit of truth:
Here are three applications I think we can take from Mark:
- We don’t abandon truth because of a fear of conflict. Our worldview will inevitably create conflict in our world. In 2015 I gave a chapel talk in which I showed the contrast between the Biblical worldview and the philosophies of our day: consumerism, individualism, materialism, moral relativism, narcissism, nationalism, naturalism, etc. Bottom line: Christianity will often run counter to culture. That shouldn’t surprise us.
- We don’t pursue truth because it is comforting, but there is a comfort in knowing truth. There is a high cost to following Jesus: he called it taking up your cross. Being his disciple isn’t always fun. But there is power and there is comfort when we live in the truth and light of Christ.
- We don’t pursue truth just for truth’s sake. In other words, it’s never just about “being right.” We pursue truth for our personal liberation and transformation. To live in truth and light is to live in freedom.
That is the spirit and the gift that we want to impart to our students. Pursue truth and be transformed by it. Let us be found forever doing so in humility, love, and mutual respect. For we are the Body of Christ.