Used by permission from Forthright Magazine (forthright.net). Copyright © 2013 by Stan Mitchell
“I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6).
We live in a time when truth should be up with the whales and bald eagles on the Sierra Club calendar–listed as an endangered species. Politicians parse the verb “to be” (that’s what “is” is, remember?), while Hollywood teaches the absolute truth that morals are relative.
Remember when Churchill accused a fellow member of parliament of expressing a “terminological inexactitude”? He meant that the fellow had lied. And one recalls the Nixon era bureaucrat who spoke of the “credibility gap.”
Lying behind this factual unspecificity (is that politically correct enough for everyone?) is society’s disregard for truth in general. In his marvelously entitled book Truth Decay, Douglas Groothius speaks of the nature of truth.
God reveals truth. “It is not constructed or invented by communities” (page 67). Various beliefs may arise out of one culture or another, but truth is revealed when God chooses to communicate that to mankind. Because God reveals truth, it is therefore “objective and knowable” (page 68). What is more, Christian truth is “absolute in nature.” It is true “without exception or exemption.” (page 69).
There are no occasions when truth can be justifiably abandoned when its application becomes the source of discomfort or it represents a personal and financial setback. The weather may change, but God will not.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35, ESV).
Truth is universal. It applies to dictators and peasants alike, to our age and to future generations. God’s truth is not “trendy or superficial” (page 73).
Truth is “exclusive, specific, and antithetical” (page 75). That is, for every theological “yes,” there must be a thousand “no’s.” That which is true excludes all that opposes it. “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), means that all other gods are imposters. Truth is exact and precise, and the slightest departure from the truth is falsehood” (page 75).
When God speaks a word, it is truth. People are limited, and thus express their perspective, their biases, or their limited knowledge. God is limited by none of these things. Those unforgettable words from the Bible, repeated hundreds of times, carry such weight.
“And God said… When we hear, that, “all the earth” should “keep silent” (Habakkuk 2:20).