Public Truth

A reading for Wednesday, January 21, 2015: Mark 4:1-20.

Bishop Lesslie Newbigin wrote that that gospel of Jesus Christ is "public truth." It is not a matter of private belief or one argument over against another. This is the place where our modern world has taken faith, into an individualistic set of ideals that must be defended in order to be true... my personal salvation over against yours.

Instead, Newbigin claimed that the life, and the death, and even the resurrection of Jesus Christ was based in fact. It happened, and therefore it is public truth. Therefore, those that believe such a thing happened become it's rightful presence in the wider society.

"They affirmed that the message that had been entrusted to them was one that concerned the destiny of the whole human race. The one who died and rose again was the saviour and judge of the world. The news of this was therefore of vital concern to every human being. It was ‘public truth’." [Lesslie Newbigin, Lamin Sanneh and Jenny Taylor, eds., Faith and Power: Christianity and Islam in ‘Secular’ Britain (London: SPCK, 1998) 135ff]

The parable of the sower affirms such truth. It's not about one individual's experience of faith over against another individuals experience. One person receives the seed and bears fruit, while another doesn't for various reasons. That's back to personal salvation...

Instead, it's a message about the "public truth" of the gospel. Jesus is telling a story about the presence of the gospel in the wider society. It was and still is encouragement for disciples that are the rightful presence of the narrative of Jesus Christ.

"They hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirty and sixty and a hundredfold."


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