Summary: Christians must fight a battle for truth - not just for "truths" but for the very idea and possibility of truth.
The God of Truth
As a campus minister, it is easy enough for me to see problems in our world today -- from individuals who are just not sure if there is any way to make sense of life to the "Gay and Lesbian Alliance." There is an almost endless list of people and groups without an anchor, without a foundation in a world of conflicting ideas. Universities today typically don’t help with these problems. Often, they make them worse.
But these are really just symptoms of one, underlying, fundamental problem: the problem of truth. The problem of truth is not new. You can see the problem, unchanged essentially from its modern form, in the exchange between Jesus and the politician Pontius Pilate. Pilate found himself in a position in which the truth was both rather obvious, rather unpopular and, shall we say, inexpedient. Looking for some way to avoid the problem of truth, Pilate questioned Jesus, and as John records in the eighteenth chapter of his gospel:
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here."
Pilate therefore said to Him, "Are You a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice."
Pilate said to Him, "What is truth?" And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no fault in Him at all. (NKJ)
Pilate tried to pretend that truth was either non-existent or unknowable. It is a reaction that has been shared by many throughout the centuries, but it is especially popular in our time.
Many particular questions come up as we attempt to communicate the Word of God to the world around us. In many ways these are just manifestations of the one key question, the question of truth. This is the basic debate the followers of Jesus must have with the world. With that in mind, we will have a look at this matter of truth.
We Cannot Over-estimate the Importance of the Idea of Truth.
When Jesus was about to say something that “went against the grain” of those around Him, He was fond of beginning with the word "amen."
"Amen" is essentially the Greek version of the Hebrew word for "truth." It is translated in the NIV, "I tell you the truth." Perhaps that should not surprise us from someone who claimed to be "the truth."
God and truth are inseparable according to the Bible. In Psalm 31 The LORD is referred to as "the God of truth." In the Bible, coming to God and coming to the truth are synonymous. On the other side of the coin, rebellion against God is identified with the rejection of truth. Paul puts the matter this way:
Romans 1:18 -- The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, (NIV)
Romans 1:25 -- They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator
Truth is central to the very character of God. Therefore, if Christians are to reflect the character of God, our ultimate concern must be with truth.
Yes, our concern must be with truth, but we cannot avoid the modern version of Pilate’s question, “What do you mean by ‘truth?’”
Many will grant us the term, but that is not enough. We must carefully consider: The Nature of Truth
We live in a world that has a “truth deficiency.” We live in a world where most people pretend that there is no truth.
We retain the word "truth" but its meaning has been twisted, truncated, and tortured.
A statement is true when it describes reality rightly. We live in a world, like that of Pilate, where the light of reality is unbearable to those living in darkness.
Trying to avoid this discomfort, "truth" has been gutted of its original meaning. It is now defined in all sorts of other terms. "Truth" is a quality of statements that make me feel good about myself. "Truth" is whatever brings me personal satisfaction. "Truth" is that which produces something I want.
When "truth" is measured by the individual or a group attempting to apprehend it, it is made “relative.” Our world has relativized truth to the point of obliteration.
If you study the society in which you live and the people you know, you will realize that this is very much the case. It is almost impolite in many circles to even speak of "the truth." It is considered immodest. It is considered arrogant.