A famous question was asked by the Roman Governor of Jerusalem who had the temporal authority “ordained by God” to crucify Jesus. His name was Pontius Pilate. He asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Most today believe as Pilate did. He believed that the most important thing was power. Truth to him was irrelevant. Pilate like most in our society fail to understand that real power is rooted in truth. Pilate stood before the One who was truth and who possessed sovereign power.
Observers of culture have called our time in the west the post-modern era. Simply stated, this era subverts the importance of truth as Pilate did. In the post modern’s mind, there is no such thing as absolute truth. One of the symptoms is reflected in our culture by what is called spirituality. We see it in movies and television. There are popular dramas centered in the world beyond this one. Talk shows on T.V. have segments to discuss the importance of having a spiritual connectedness to something, anything. People seem to be on never-ending quests to experience the latest spiritual guru’s method for attaining a deep spiritual fulfillment. You may have heard someone say, “It’s all about the journey.”
The obvious problem with this philosophy is that the “journey” may indeed end in destruction. The only revealed way to avoid destruction is to receive the Truth, Jesus Christ as He is offered in the gospel.
The simple definition is truth is reality. The Bible teaches that men naturally suppress the truth. We like to press reality down in a futile attempt to live above it or ignore it. A friend of mine once said that denial is not only a river in Egypt. We can deny or suppress the truth all we want. But we must live in and face reality.
Every time we look around, we see men and women telling us that truth is relative; it is a matter of perspective. What is true for you may or may not be true for me. Those who see reality are referred to as simple-minded or judgmental bigots. The charge against those who recognize absolute truth is: “Who made you the purveyor of truth?” The political world is filled with such charges. For example, there are those who take pains to make numbers say whatever is expedient. We have poll numbers, jobless numbers, positive case numbers, etc. that are used to support an agenda.
The church is no different. Some prominent church leaders would have us believe that it is all about relationships and that truth is something contrary to what they call love. They claim that all this talk of doctrine is of no value. What is important, they say, is one’s relationship to Jesus and to others. The word “missional” is often used to describe the outworking of relational importance. However, it never enters the realm of possibility in their minds that there are many different Jesuses proclaimed. Having a relationship with the real Jesus is what matters. There is only one true Savior. He said that He is the truth and the life and the way. He is the revealed Jesus of the Bible. Dare I say that He is not simply known in the eye of the beholder? He is the reality of life!
The church’s job, some leaders say, is to meet “felt needs,” or to offer courses on how to have a better marriage or how to live as a single person, or divorced person. Rather than to see that the church is to teach what is in accordance with sound doctrine, what the Bible teaches. This emphasis enables believers to apply God’s word to every circumstance of life as people who have been set apart by Him. Thereby believers are equipped to make a difference in the world for the glory of God.
In answer to Pilate’s and culture’s question, “What is truth?” Let me be bold and say very simply and clearly that truth is that which is real. Truth matters since it is reality. By God’s grace, He has revealed truth. His name is Jesus. He is the only begotten one of God, not born, but eternally proceeding from the Father. He is the one revealed in the Bible. He is the one offered in the gospel. All life is lived in response to Him. Every relationship is designed by God to find meaning through knowing the Truth, Jesus.
The Rev. Lou Tiscione is the pastor of the Weatherford Presbyterian Church.