The Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but The Truth

We’ve all heard those words, either in an actual courtroom or in a TV or movie portrayal, as a witness being sworn in promises to speak only the truth. But let us remember what comes after them, “So help me, God.” And God so values Truth that He will help anyone who is committed to being truth-full (cp. Ps. 51:6). “Yahweh is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him intruth” (Ps. 145:18). That is, we must come to the Creator on His terms, and when we do, He always shows Himself loving and faithful.

According to Proverbs 6:16-19, among what God hates most are “a lying tongue” and “a false witness who pours out lies.” In John 8:44, as Jesus castigated the Pharisees, he nailed the ultimate source of lies: “You belong to your father, the Devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” When truth is not valued, lies abound. And that is certainly playing out in our culture today.

The bottom line of life is whether or not God is who He declares He is, and whether His written Word is what it claims it is. It either is, or is not, “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” God’s Truth is not subjective or relative. It is not based upon feelings or experience or perspective. Truth is NOT the ever-changing consensus of the crowd. Rather, God’s Word is Truth. And, because the Lord Jesus Christ perfectly internalized the truth of God’s Word and then externalized it in his words and deeds, he could say, “I am the truth.” Thus, Truth is also a Person.

In today’s Postmodern culture, the concept of absolute truth—what is true for everyone—has taken a back seat to “my truth” and “your truth.” But there is no such thing as either of those—only THE TRUTH, which a growing number of humans don’t believe even exists.  And without a constant source of Truth, there is no resolution when “your truth” and “their truth” inevitably clashes. Thus, some people think that anyone who doesn’t agree with “their truth” must be wrong, and possibly teetering on the brink of moral bankruptcy. That is a very narcissistic outlook, and often leads to intellectual bullying.

As per the biblical Greek word aletheia, “truth” is synonymous with reality, that is, how things actually are. But in today’s upside-down culture, we might well hear a man say: “I choose to identify as a female hippopotamus, and I hope there is room for me in the Women’s bathroom.” Or a 25-year-old woman might say, “I feel like I am 65, so I’m applying for Social Security.” And, usually for fear of reprisal, too few people are willing to say what they surely must realize, “Excuse me, but that’s totally insane.”

Such a myopic mindset requires the acceptance of contradictions as well as the denial of reality and common sense, which, sad to say, ain’t that common any more. Rather than adjusting to THE Truth, many people want Truth to adjust to their distorted perspective. And think about this self-contradiction: to say that there is “no truth for everyone” is, in and of itself, a declaration of truth for everyone. No amount of doubletalk will change reality.

The Author and Designer of life filled it with many “absolutes,” which are unyielding in their often-painful consequences to those who ignore them. Take gravity, for instance. Anyone can stand on the edge of a high cliff and, as he is launching himself off of it, loudly declare that he believes gravity is not part of “his truth.” And gravity replies, ”SPLAT!” Oops, I guess gravity is absolutely true for everyone. Likewise, a compass directs you to true North. One can choose to think it is South, but reality says differently. Figuratively speaking, those who abandon the compass of God’s Word are “lost in space.”

Consider this cogent excerpt from a cultural pundit:

For many years I have observed and commented from time to time on the rise in American narcissism and [the corresponding] decline in cognitive ability. American narcissism has an emotional coloration…Emotional responses are gradually crowding out fact and evidence-based reason. Truth is losing its connection to objectivity and is becoming agenda-based. If it serves the agenda, and agendas are increasingly emotion based, it is truth. Many can no longer comprehend the content of what they read. Words become like a bullfighter’s red cape. They set off emotions, not thought. Depending on how people have been programmed by their education, indoctrination, and value inculcation, they have emotive responses. One consequence is that discussion is replaced by denunciation.

The Body of Christ is supposed to be God’s mouthpiece, teaching people His Word, but too often this is not the case. Consider this from a recent Colson Institute report: My pastor recently told me that 25 years ago, the first person that people would contact when they faced a marriage crisis was their pastor. Ten years ago, he continued, it was their counselor or psychiatrist. Today, it’s their lawyers…Barely half [of churchgoers] consider clergy to be trustworthy, and only slightly more regard them as “honest and intelligent…” Today, many Americans embrace expressions of personal liberation that wouldn’t have occurred even to those in the late 1960s dancing in the mud at Woodstock. It’s one thing to think you’re liberated from “the man.” It’s another to think you’re liberated from observable reality.

Yes, a small part of this problem is due to some high-profile Christian leaders “falling from grace” or publicly abandoning their faith, but I contend that the root of this dilemma is that MUCH OF WHAT MOST CLERGY TEACH MAKES NO SENSE, because it is NOT what God says in His Word. There is no substitute for Truth, and without it, people are adrift in a sea of speculation.

Another Colson piece compared what I would call “the grit of the Brits during the Blitz” of WW2, in large part inspired by Churchill’s stirring speeches, to a poll now showing that 89%of those under 30 in Great Britain said that their lives lacked meaning and purpose. The article states:

In a [postmodern] world where meaning is up to us, where life supposedly means whatever we say it does, it ultimately comes to mean nothing. A culture that abandons any fixed reference point and instead tells its young people that truth, purpose, meaning, and morality are purely subjective, will only, in the end, rob them of any truth, purpose, meaning, or morality worth fighting for.

In that vein, I recently read about a poll showing that Millennials, those born between about 1990 and 2000, are “skeptical of absolutes.” And from the International Man website: At this point, virtually all of us over the age of forty have encountered enough “snowflakes” (those Millennials who have a meltdown if anything they say or believe is challenged) to understand that, increasingly, young people are being systemically coddled to the point that they cannot cope with their “reality” being questioned. That’s putting it mildly in regard to the following incident, which someone who witnessed it posted on The Blaze website. It is a shocking example of the degree to which truth/reality is under assault in today’s “post-Christian” culture, and it illustrates the current need for many committed, dynamic young people to learn the Word and share it boldly.

A 25-year-old woman’s boss (also a woman) was giving her feedback and reviewing edits she had made on something this young woman wrote. They had been speaking in low tones, but their volume got louder toward the end of the conversation because the young woman was getting agitated about a particular edit. That particular edit was correcting her spelling of “hampster” to “hamster.” Apparently, she had used the phrase “like spinning in a hamster wheel” in her draft.

The young woman kept saying, “I don’t know why you corrected that because I spell it with the P in it.” The boss said (calmly), “But that’s not how the word is spelled. There is no P in hamster.” Young woman: “But you don’t know that! I learned to spell it with a P in it so that’s how I spell it.”
The boss (remaining very calm and professional), let’s go to and look it up together. The young woman insists she doesn’t need to look it up because it’s FINE to spell it with a P because that’s HOW SHE WANTED TO SPELL IT.

The boss says, “Let’s look over the rest of the piece so I can explain the rest of my edits.” They do, and I can see the young woman is fighting back tears. The boss is calm, cool, and handles this with professionalism and empathy. Boss says, “I know edits can be difficult to go over sometimes, especially when you’re working on new kinds of things as you grow in your career, but it’s a necessary process and makes us all better at what we do.” Boss gets up from table and goes to her office and the young woman can barely hold it together. She moves to another table in the common workspace area, drops all her stuff loudly on the table top, and starts texting.

A minute later, her phone rings. It’s her mom, whom she had texted to call her because it was urgent, and I’m sure her mother maybe thought she was in the ER or something. She then … PUTS HER MOM ON SPEAKERPHONE. IN THE WORKPLACE. She bursts into tears and wants her mom to call her boss and tell her not to be mean about telling her how to spell words like “hamster.”

The mother tells her that her boss is an idiot and she doesn’t have to listen to her and she should go to the boss’ boss to file a complaint about not allowing creativity in her writing. The young woman kept saying, “I thought what I wrote was perfect and she just made all these changes and then had the nerve to tell me I was spelling words wrong when I know they are right because that is how I have always spelled them.”

She then went on (still on speakerphone) to tell her mom in very great and office-inappropriate detail about how hungover she was and what she and her friends did with some guys the night before. Mom laughed and laughed. The colleagues in and around the workplace kept looking at one another and some even put earbuds/headphones in/on. It appeared as though this was a regular thing with her.

As members in particular of the Body of Christ, each of us is called to put on the mind of Christ, to internalize the Word of God, to hide the truth in our heart and live accordingly so that our lives glorify our Lord. Only when we hold fast to the Truth can we do so.

Too many preachers today hide behind statements like, “I don’t argue about doctrine.” Neither our Lord Jesus nor the Apostle Paul thought that way. For example, speaking about an overseer in the Body of Christ, Paul wrote to Titus that he “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it” (Titus 1:9). And to Timothy: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith” (1 Tim. 1:3-4).

Christianity is about getting involved in the lives of others in order to help them grow closer to the Lord Jesus Christ. In describing today’s young adults, another columnist wrote that “many hundreds and thousands of people in their 20’s and early 30’s seem to lack any sense of necessary connection to anything larger than their own narrowly personal aims and preoccupations.”

Go to the Word and get a vision of how important you are to God, and of how important it is for you to be a warrior for truth. In Jeremiah 8:18–9:2, God was lamenting the pitiful state of His people, Israel, who had turned from Him to worthless idols and were being crushed. He then said:

Jeremiah 9:3 (NKJV)
“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the LORD.

In the Word War raging on earth today, too many committed Christians have swallowed, and are regurgitating, lies about God and His Word that are hindering them from knowing Him and His Son like they could. My dear brother or sister, your heavenly Father has called you to be a Word Warrior. You can be valiant for the truth.

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