What is truth?
It’s not an original question. Socrates, Plato and even Pilate pondered truth, where it could be found and how it could be obtained.
My inclination is to believe truth is currently clouded over by human reason. I use examples from my world and compare it to what I know of history. It seems that truth is being assaulted more than ever.
Bill Clinton’s White House escapades assaulted truth.
- Kwami assaulted truth by denying and then lying under oath.
- Denying that life begins at conception and abortion kills humans murders the truth.
- Believing there is always next year for the Detroit Lions assails NFL truth and common sense
It seems human reason and logic trample truth like never before. It seems that way until I read John 18: 37 - 38
“Then you are a king?” Pilate asked Him.
“Yes, I am a king!” Jesus answered. “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who lives in the truth listens to Me.”
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”
Even Pilate questioned truth. So it’s not a new phenomenon just as yo-yos, long hair, side burns and texting are not new. Well, maybe that last one is but I’m sure even Plato had some shortened code he could quickly chisel into a rock tablet.
And so it puzzles me that when faced with false prophets and scriptural lies, people overlook the truths of scripture and cling to what is false, despite God’s warnings. Honestly, I don’t get it.
People will read food labels searching for toxins like gluten, polysorbate 60, red dye 2, cereal fillers and pork lips but they will not scrutinize the words of false prophets.
“Dear Friends, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God. Many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can recognize God’s Spirit: Every spirit who confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God. Any spirit who doesn’t confess this Jesus, isn’t from God.”
I John 4:1-3a
People will go out of their way to make sure they buy products that have not been tested on animals but they will not be as adamant about making sure God’s Word is taught in all its truth and purity.
“I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.”
People would rather eat shards of glass than a chunk of animal flesh but they will lap up spiritual toxins without any discernment.
“Before God and Christ Jesus, who is going to judge the living and the dead, I solemnly call on you – in view of his coming and ruling over us – preach the Word, keep at it at the right time and the wrong time, correct, rebuke encourage, being very patient and thorough in your teaching.
A time will come when people will not listen to sound teaching but, craving to hear something different will get more and more teachers whom they like. They will refuse to listen to the truth and will turn to fictions.”
II Timothy 4: 1- 5
“Be careful or somebody will capture you by his philosophy, tricking you with meaningless words, as he follows the traditions of men and the elements of the world but not Christ.”
Oh, Mr. Brandt you’re just a cynic who always looks for something negative. You just want to be right so everyone else is wrong. Sure, that’s an easy, although delusional, argument to make. It doesn’t take thought. It jumps to conclusions and ignores my purpose. Common sense dictates that concern for scriptural truth is not focused on winning arguments. Concern for scriptural accuracy is so that God’s grace may abound. We are called to test the spirits. I John 4:1-3, Acts 17:11 We are called to be discerning and use God’s inerrant Word , not human reason, as our guide. I defer to Reverend Daniel Preus as explains the grace-driven need for truth in his book, Why I am a Lutheran: Jesus at the Center:
We do not need to live in uncertainty regarding what is true about God and our
faith in Him. God does not give us truth simply so we can be correct in
what we believe. God does not give us truth so we can know that we are right and
those who disagree are wrong. God does not give us truth so we can ‘win
the argument.’ Jesus, the Son of God, did not take on human flesh, did not
become one of us, simply so we can know what is true. John tells us in his
Gospel that when Jesus came into the world, He was full of truth and grace (John 1:14). Jesus brings truth for the sake of grace, that is, for the sake of
God’s undeserved kindness (23).
As Reverend Preus so eloquently points out, we have truth for the sake of grace. The devil smiles as seemingly small skirmishes for our souls are at stake. However, there is nothing small about resting on man’s reason and shunning the efficacy of God’s enduring, endearing, eternal and final Word.
“I am not concerned with life but with doctrines. Evil life does no great harm except to itself. But evil teaching is the most pernicious thing on earth, for it leads hosts of sold to hell. Whether you are good or bad does not concern me. But I will attack your poisonous and lying teaching, which contradicts God’s Word; and with God’s help I will oppose it vigorously.” -Martin Luther
So if you read books like The Shack, or Forty Days of Purpose, or Velvet Elvis: Repainting The Christian Faith or Your Best Life Now or if you listen to authors at winter youth retreats, listen with a discerning ear - an ear that is grounded in God’s Word and God’s truth. My hope is that youth leaders and pastors would help clarify the inherent dangers of books that claim there are ways outside of Christ to enter heaven. My hope is that youth leaders and pastors would take the opportunity to point out the dangers of books that claim God died on the cross. My hope is that youth leaders and pastors would see what a great opportunity they have to instruct young minds and clarify any confusion that leads anyone away from the truth of God’s Word.
Praise books, sermons, songs and hymns that clearly preach God’s Word in all its truth and purity. In the same manner, warn people of false doctrine because its ultimate purpose is to confuse, create doubt and quite honestly win your soul to the devil.
- II Timothy 2:17
- Finally, take great comfort from God in the words He gave to Paul to share with the Philippians:
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything go to God, and pray to let Him know what you want, and give thanks. Then God’s peace, better than all our thinking, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, my fellow Christians, keep your minds on all that is true or noble, right or pure, lovely or appealing, on anything that is excellent or that deserves praise. Do what you have learned received and heard from me and what you saw me do. Then the God of peace will be with you.”