Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why truth matters for now and eternity

Jude 3 "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."

As solid as the case is for the Bible's argument for the exclusivity of salvation, we still have the issue of 51% of people in American churches denying such a reality.  Why?  I submit that the issue revolves around the denial of truth itself. 

How Western culture has changed its view of truth in the past 200 years 
Pilate asked Jesus in John 18:38 "what is truth?"  Many observers have termed our culture to be a "post-modern" culture.  Post-modernism implies the passing of a period of time called "modernism".  Modernism or "modernity" was a movement beginning over 200 years ago that asserted the ability of human beings to individually arrive at discovery of "objective, universal truth".  Positively Modernity still clung to the idea of "objective truth" outside of the observer, however in doing so, the movement replaced Biblical revelation and enthorned human reason as the chief way of knowing such truth. 

Post-modernism suggests that such a quest is futile, and prefers to say that there is no "universal truth", but rather "truths" that are held by separate communities or groups of people.  As a philosophical response to the "individualism" of modernism, post-modernism not only throws out the "baby" of certainty in knowing ultimate truth, but also the "bathwater" of ultimate truth itself. 

People who deny ultimate truth are still making a statement about ultimate truth!
In one respect the value of post-modernism lies in the fact that truth statements do not arise out of a vacuum or out of a "neutral" vantage point.  Yet to say that truth is nothing more than "truths" or "what is true for you is not true for me" is itself futile, since that statement itself concerns a univeral view of truth! Post-modernism is fraught with the absurdity of denying such a thing as universal truth by asserting that universally, truths are only true in given communities of people! 

Truth is the foundation of morality, ethics, faith
If we deny truth, the basis for all moral action is uprooted.  Author Tim Keller in His Book "The Reason for God" points out that people who deny objective, moral values will at the same time get angry over injustice.  If "injustice" is deemed by all to be wrong, then there has to be a universal sense of justice.  The Bible itself affirms this system of morality and ethics as being the Law of God written in the human conscience. (Romans 2:15) 

Without universal standards of right and wrong, the possibility of Christian faith itself would be eliminated.  In order for the Gospel to be effective, the Law of God has to be involved in showing the sinner there fallen sinful condition.  The Holy Spirit uses the Law of God written in the Bible and on the conscience to bear witness to man that he falls short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:10-23)  The Gospel demands that all men repent, and come to a knowledge of the truth. (2 Peter 3:9) 

Truth is both universal and exclusive
Unless we assert the universality and exclusive nature of truth, the biblical teaching on God being a One-way God will never be embraced.  The Holy Spirit brings home to the heart, and the mind, compelling demonstration that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life.  Could it be that what is missing in our American pulpits is a lack of conviction on the truth of the Gospel, as well as the need for truth in the gospel?  Frankly, the Biblical portrayal of the Gospel itself to be the only saving message that is The Truth, since it speaks about The One who is the Truth - Jesus Christ. 

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