|Volume 22 Number 4 April 2020||
Absolute Truth? Absolutely!
A recent Barna survey examined the question of truth in American culture, and how people responded to the concept of absolute truth. 91% of all US adults polled believe the best way to find yourself is by looking within yourself. 84% said the highest goal of life is to enjoy it as much as possible. 86% said to be fulfilled in life, one should pursue the things he desires most. 79% stated people can believe whatever they want, as long as those beliefs don’t affect society.
The results for those who consider themselves practicing Christians are not much different. 76% believe to find oneself is to look within oneself. 67% said one should enjoy life as much as possible. 72% said one should pursue the things he desires most. 61% think a person can believe whatever he wants as long as it doesn’t affect society. Interestingly enough, these topics were entitled, “The Morality of Self-Fulfillment.”
In a summary statement of this, David Kinnaman, President of Barna group, said, “Millions of Christians have grafted New Age dogma onto their spiritual person. When we peel back the layers, we find that many Christians are using the way of Jesus to pursue the way of self…While we wring our hands about secularism spreading through culture, a majority of churchgoing Christians have embraced corrupt, me-centered theology” (The End of Absolutes: America’s New Moral Code).
Of course, not everyone falls into these categories, but the survey does offer some insights worth considering. Our culture is willing to allow anyone to believe whatever he wants, as long as he doesn’t disturb society by what he believes. Seeking self-gratification is the highest good one can pursue. This creates quite a challenge when it comes to evangelism, as people believe one shouldn’t affect society. Someone can hold private beliefs, but he shouldn’t express them publicly, as that might create an adverse reaction. One is reminded of the charge brought against the preaching of the Gospel, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also” (Acts 17:6). Is it possible, in a climate where we are not to upset society, the proclamation of the Gospel has become taboo? We must have the conviction of the apostles when they asserted, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Another disturbing factor these statistics reveal is how close the philosophy of the world is mirrored in Christianity as a whole. One could say this reflects denominational religion, but is the Lord’s church immune from the influence of the society in which it exists? Paul warned, “Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ” (Colossians 2:8). He reminded Timothy not to preach the desires of those who abandon sound doctrine, but to preach the Word and fulfill his ministry (2 Timothy 4:1-5). Our pursuit must be to perfect holiness, which means we live counter-cultural lives and show Christ living in us. We will not change the world for Christ if all the world sees in us is a mirror of itself. “But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world” (Galatians 6:14).
God is truth, and no lie is in Him (Titus 1:2). If God is truth, then His word is truth, unconditionally and unquestionably. In the end, it doesn’t matter what the world thinks or how it lives, but what matters is how we respond to the truth of God. The Gospel is still God’s power of salvation for everyone, and to good and honest hearts, it can bear fruit. For this to happen, we must be absolutely convicted in truth. We must be the light of the world, living it, teaching it and convicted of it. This is what makes a difference in us and in others. Is God’s Word absolute truth? Absolutely! That’s not the issue. The issue is whether or not we allow it to make a difference in us, that it can make a difference in others. “For God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
Gary C. Hampton
God’s prophets endured hardship, persecution and death to tell forth the inspired Word of God. Yet, they did not have the plan of salvation revealed to them. They delivered the key elements without understanding how and to whom they would be applied. Angels also wanted to know how God would save man, but that plan was reserved for Christ’s followers (1 Peter 1:10-12).
Prophets wrote Scripture as the Holy Spirit directed them (2 Peter 1:20-21). Peter indicated they did not comprehend some of the things they wrote but searched their own writings to gain understanding of God’s plan. Jesus told His followers that astonishing truth (Matthew 13:16-17).
Moses wrote of God’s plan for the seed of woman to crush the head of Satan, but he did not realize the seed would be the Christ (Genesis 3:15). Isaiah told of the suffering servant and the glory that would follow, but he did not understand it would take place on the cross (Isaiah 53). David wrote a song anticipating the glorious resurrection that would follow the suffering, but he did not fully appreciate the powerful events (Psalm 16:8-11).
The singer of Israel recorded the words that would be spoken on the cross, but he did not realize who would speak them (Psalm 22). The Messianic prophet spoke of a kingdom into which people from all nations would flow (Isaiah 2:1-5). He also described the painful beating God’s sin-bearer would receive, leaving him unrecognizable (52:13-15). Hosea told of those who had not been God’s people seeing a day in which they would be called sons of the living God (Hosea 1:10; 2:23).
Christians are greatly blessed. We come to know the unmerited favor God bestowed through the offering of His Son (Hebrews 11:39-40). Members of the church receive the very understanding for which the prophets longed. Praise God for the blessings we have in Christ.