The Safety of an Absolute


Carl McLaughlin

Some things in life must be unchanging in order for us to understand the legitimacy of things that do change. An unchanging point of reference is defined as an absolute. An absolute then becomes a standard by which all other changes can be measured.

Have you ever stopped at an intersection and looked at another car that was moving and suddenly you had the sensation that you were also moving? Automatically, you firmly press on the brake to make sure you are not moving into a wreck. You then look at something such as a telephone pole to make sure you are not moving in relation to the pole. When you see the unmoving absolute, you feel safe.

What would you do if the telephone pole started moving? An immediate disorientation would occur because you know there are certain things that should not move. All of life is measured by the absolute.

The rhythm of life consists of three things:

1) Orientation—Life is stable; it makes sense; and it is predictable. We all have an orientation to God and to His Word, and then someone moves the telephone pole.

2) Disorientation—The telephone pole moves and it causes a feeling of loss and confusion. This happens to us psychologically, socially, and spiritually.

3) Reorientation—The absolute revelation of the Word of God comes into our disorientation and provides a reorientation to the future. Fear and confusion lift and life makes sense again.

The safety of an absolute lies in the power to become reoriented to the truth. An absolute will birth a reorientation to the future! This miasma of being disoriented caused Asaph, (writer of Psalm 50, 73-83) to enter into a mental slippage until he got to church,”But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well-nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end” (Psalm 73:2-3, 17).

Preaching absolutes in a world of relativity is the telephone pole that keeps the church from wrecking. There are three things to remember when considering spiritual rhythm and the need for absolutes:

  1. Satanic temptation will always attempt to move the telephone pole.

Matt 4:3-4 – 3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded) out of the mouth of God.

Satan tried to get Jesus to believe He was entitled and He deserved to change the stones into something that would satisfy the desires of his flesh. He does work through humans who are on a power trip and who feel entitled as well as deserving. This person then becomes demanding in an attempt to change the unchangeable. In His sent ministry to this world, Jesus understood that as an expression of the invisible, He could not change the doctrine. If Jesus was not entitled to change the doctrine to please the crowds, where does that place the church?

John 7:16 16 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

  1. Truth is not created; truth is discovered.

+ Truth exists independently of our minds. When one changes his or her mind, it does not change the objectivity or the absoluteness of truth!

Ps 119:89-93 NKJV 89 Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. 90 Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. 91 They continue this day according to Your ordinances, For all are Your servants. 92 Unless Your law had been my delight, I would then have perished in my affliction. 93 I will never forget Your precepts, For by them You have given me life.

Pilots tell us that in the densest of fog their instruments alone tell the truth as to where they are. In the fog one does not know if he is upside down or right side up. Absolutes are necessary for life and for equilibrium. When one’s homeostasis is disrupted and one is thrown off balance, the need for stabilization is necessary. Entrance of absolute truth brings normal function back into balance.

Dynamic equilibrium is when an inner balance resists outside forces of change. Inner balance is stronger than outer change and it will find stability. As God manifested in flesh, Jesus was full of grace and truth! If the balance of grace and truth could resist the pressure of Greek philosophers, the Gnostics, the Corinthian rhetorics, and such like, to establish the first century church, certainly the same balance of grace and truth resident within the body of Christ today will not cave in to postmodern theology that is culturally inclusive, not exclusive, and relative, rather than absolute.

  1. Truth must never be sacrificed on the altar of cultural approval. A danger to undiluted truth is theapproval addiction:’ Inebriated with the need for religious and cultural approval, the spirit of a man is open for seduction. This danger lies in two things: 1) the deadly crossroad of those who crave approval, and 2) the seducers who are frothing at the mouth to give it. Sobering, wise words from the Apostle Paul kept Timothy from them, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (II Timothy 3:13-14).

The word goeetes, which we render seducers, signifies “jugglers, or pretenders in magical arts:’ They were workers of miracles to endorse false doctrine. What better way to seduce than by false miracles! With the sleight of hand and flattery of speech, these jugglers who know the tricks of the trade will drain doctrinal truth right out of the heart. The message to the church is this: “Continue in the things which thou hast learned.” Continue literally means, “to remain, to keep on, do not waver:’ Generations are looking for the telephone pole.

Telephone poles are important.