The eminent Horatius Bonar offers, perhaps, the most astute paragraph to describe our current state of affairs:
The difficulty of judging what is truth seems increasing, instead of disappearing. You know not what to think, nor which way to turn, in order to discover who is right, or where certainty is to be found; so many novelties stagger and amaze you. There seem to be good men on both sides, and that perplexes you still more.1
And to think that that was written in the mid-1800s in Scotland!
It feels entirely modern to suggest that there are “good men on both sides.” Could it be that “the other side” isn’t all bad? They aren’t all big meanies who twist their mustaches in malcontent? Yes, and that’s what’s so perplexing. The onslaught of news that all vies for the ground of truth leaves our heads spinning. The reader is recommended a sermon I delivered back in January on the text of Psalm 62, entitled, “The Rock of Truth in a Storm of Falsehood.”
And so it is that we are brought to the same foundational realization — namely, that our only recourse, our only certainty is the inspired and holy Word of God. “Cleave, then, to the Word of God,” continues Bonar. “Distrust your own hearts, lean not to your own understandings — but receive with meekness the ingrafted word.”2 In these times that are fraught with aggression and agitation and conviction on “both sides,” may we hold all things loosely except for Scripture. “Let us,” then, as the writer to the Hebrews affirms, “hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, since he who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).
Grace and peace.
Horatius Bonar, Truth and Error; or, Letters to a Friend on Some of the Controversies of the Day (Edinburgh: W. P. Kennedy, 1847), 1.