The Importance of Truth
by Bill Muehlenberg
In contemporary culture truth decay is a massive problem. That idea that there is fixed, absolute truth which applies to us all is rejected by most people. In terms of what we can know, black and white has been replaced by ninety-nine shades of grey.
Even more worrying is the fact that many people in the churches no longer believe in objective truth either. The church is meant to be the “pillar and ground of the truth” as Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 3:15. Yet far too many churches today are awash with relativism, scepticism and uncertainty about even the basic Christian doctrines.
Gladly not every church has been infected by these modern trends. Indeed, I just read today of one church which gave its pastor the flick after he performed a homosexual wedding. At least this congregation put truth well ahead of political correctness.
When Pilate asked Jesus “What is truth?” (John 18:38), he asked him a vitally crucial question. Yet sadly he did not bother to hang around for the answer. This is also the case with far too many people today. Scripture speaks often to this absence of truth, and the absence of interest in truth:
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-“Truth is nowhere to be found.” (Isaiah 59:15)
-“This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.” (Jeremiah 7:28)
-“Falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land.” (Jeremiah 9:3)
-“They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:4)
Jesus and the New Testament especially emphasise the importance of truth. As Jesus so forthrightly proclaimed, “I am the way, the truth and the life; no man comes to the father but by me” (John 14:6). Indeed, in the same encounter with Pilate Jesus said this: “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:37).
All up, the phrase “the truth” is used around 152 times in the New Testament, of which some 48 instances occur in the Gospel of John. God is a God of truth, so truth is vitally important. To know God is to know the truth. To reject God is to believe a lie.
So just what exactly is truth anyway? In his Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics Norman Geisler offers a helpful list of what truth is and is not…