Quoting Maxwell Smart from the 1960's Get Smart series, that quote came to my mind while I was listening to Pastor Klaus on The Lutheran Hour this morning on my car radio while waiting for my wife to get off work. His sermon, one I think I've heard before was on the matter of ultimate truth. Pastor Klaus, while concluding that the large world religions of Islam, Buddhism and Christianity can't all be right, they are diametrically opposed to each other! Klaus posits: "When you're talking about where your soul is going to be spending eternity, you want to be sure you're believing God's own truth!" That, my friends, is a great statement! Klaus had a friend who asked several people how they knew their faith was THE right faith. A Christian answered, "My son was sick in the hospital, we prayed and he was made well! That's how I know the Triune God is real." Klaus adds, "many might find that to be a good answer, but does it hold water?" What if that man's son had died? Would that mean Christianity is false? Then his friend asked the same question of a man from India and he said, "My son was sick in the hospital and I prayed to the monkey god, he was made well! That's how I know the monkey god is real!" An atheist answered, "My son was sick in the hospital, I prayed to no one, the doctors and medicine made him well - that's how I know there is no god and if there was, there is no need for one." So Klaus concludes that mere anecdotal experiences are not adequate evidence of the existence of God, and he's right.
"That's a dangerous answer! We have movies of King Kong, Godzilla and Dorothy's house being dropped on one of the wicked witches of Oz!" Movies don't prove anything. "But we have eye-witness accounts, some of whom are still alive today!" "Well," said Klaus, "that's true and that's much better evidence - so let's make it a little harder... how do we know Cleopatra or Julius Ceasar or Alexander the Great or a Napoleon? While none of these are alive today, there were people who were alive when they were and wrote about them and we trust what they wrote. On top of the eye-witness accounts, these people affected the whole world, so much so that we still see these affects today. Good answer! Well done!" Proclaims Klaus, and he continues, "Now how about Jesus Christ? Is that question a little bit different? Some would have you believe so, but it is not. John the Apostle, who had been with Jesus throughout His ministry wrote, 'that which we have heard; that which we have seen with our eyes and touched with our hands was made manifest and we have seen it and we testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life which was made manifest to us; that which we have seen and heard we proclaim to you so that you too may have fellowship with us and remember indeed that our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son, Jesus Christ.' But it is not only the Apostle John who attests to the reality of the Redeemer. There is the physician, Luke who begins his narrative of Jesus' life by saying, 'Just as those who were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me, having followed all things closely - to write an orderly account for you that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.' Did you hear that? Luke interviewed the eyewitnesses so that believers might be certain regarding the Christ." Klaus goes on to tell about St. Paul recording that the resurrected Jesus appeared to over 500 brothers at one time - "and most of those 500 were still alive and kicking! Folks, that's five HUNDRED eyewitnesses!" Going back to the statement about how those other historic figures whose results have affected the world, even to this day, Klaus adds, "God's Son's life made a greater impact on this world than any other single person who has other lived and that impact was immediate and the centuries have shown it has been long lasting. You know, when the word of Jesus' life, death and resurrection reached Thesolonica, those who were impacted said, 'those men who have turned the world upside down have come here also!' It was not the men, it was their message which toppled the gods of Olympus and silenced the gods of Egypt in city after city, province after province. The Word of the Lord was proclaimed and the result was consistent and constant when people heard the facts about the grace and love of God which had been shown in the birth, life, death and resurrection of the Savior, they were transformed; they were filled with a knowledge of God's will, they had a new understanding of who they were and what their purpose in life was to be. They knew by the cleansing blood of the Lamb shed on Calvary's Cross, they had been rescued from the dominion of darkness and had been brought into the kingdom of Light." http://media.lhm.org/lhm/podcasts/LH8252US_Aug30.mp3Now what is to object to what Pastor Klaus is saying here? Nothing much, except from the position he is saying these things - as a Lutheran pastor. He's SO CLOSE to the "ultimate truth" he began with, but stops a bit short. Jesus not only was born, died and resurrected - but also spent the next forty days teaching His Apostles, our first bishops, how to run His Church. Think about it, they already had the gospel messages - they lived through them as eyewitnesses! But what was missing from the three years prior to the Passion of the Christ was the governing and management of His Church. So, as Pastor Klaus has also encouraged - look to the historical record! From day one the Church has been governed by the apostolic office of the bishop - and continues to this day as such. So, will a certain amount of the truth is found in Pastor Klaus' church - the "ultimate truth" of which Pastor Klaus teaches is found in the Catholic Church. Klaus' own arguments should show him this truth. Let us pray he reaches this end.