Truth or Peace? Must We Decide?

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God (Matt. 5:9).

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword (Matt. 10:34).

Believe it or not, I actually do think before I put my pen to paper. I think that people might actually read what I write and that they might actually have some sort of reaction to it. I do think that when I write, I write, to the best of my understanding, what is true according to Scripture and think that truth will set people free when it is brought forth in the power of the Spirit (cf. John 8). And I admittedly default to a Lutheran stance on the subjects of truth and peace and say just as Luther himself said, “Peace if possible; truth at all costs.”

But I do wrestle mightily with the desire for peace. I genuinely believe that the Church of Christ is supposed to be a united body with Christ as her head, and it grieves me deeply to see the innumerable divisions in her. I wonder why these divisions exist and why a Universal and United church has never existed apart from compulsion by fear.

I also wrestle with notion of degrees of truth. Are there things that are true in Scripture and yet are not significant enough to address in the body for the sake of unity? Are there, like the Fundamentalists attempted to concoct and failed, a set of doctrines that are “fundamental” to Christianity and the rest of Scripture’s truths are trivial when placed in the light of peace?

I honestly do not know. I do not like stirring the pot of strife, but I feel compelled to speak the truth. Is my compulsion founded in Scripture and in God, or is it founded in something that is not of God? I love God, and my conscience compels me to continue in spite of murmurings, and I feel that I must continue until I am adequately rebuked from Scripture.

But I am curious of others’ thoughts. What do you think about truth and peace? Are they mutually exclusive, or can they exist together? Which should we desire more–truth or peace?

Categories: Theology

Tags: ,

2 replies

  1. This may not be helpful, but I think there is a false dichotomy here in many people's thinking. Truth brings peace. There cannot be true peace without it being centered on God's truth. Note that Jesus refers to peacemakers and not peacekeepers in Matthew 5:9. The only way to make peace, in its truest sense, is to bring the unwavering truth of God's Word to bare on a person's life.

    Just some thoughts.


  2. Wonderfully worded. True peace only comes when we as the Bride of Christ submit fully to him who is the Word. And I like the distinction between peacemakers and peacekeepers. I have never thought of it that way.


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