On Truth, Knowledge, and Language

The world has increasingly grown averse to truth. We run with rumors and scoff at truth. We hate correction, repulse honest rebuke and loath any absolute Truth claim that discomforts us in any way. As the Master said, we love darkness and loathe every appearance of light (John 3:19-21).

This absurd reality is prevalent both in the skeptic circles as well as those who confess to know Christ, the ultimate absolute Truth. Among the skeptics, the hatred for absolute truth claims is summed up by the assertion that all truth is relative.

Among those who claim to confess Christ however, the rising concept is that of ‘deep revelation’. It is the Gnostic mysticism which eludes correction and teaching, under the guise of a personal revelation, seeking to escape subjection to God’s word. It is not hard to meet with the statement ‘this is my truth’ among this postmodern generation. And this is relativism re-baptized in the emergent church.

As Christians we must be aware that we are not founders of truth and truth does not depend on us. He who is the Truth has always been ‘the same yesterday, today and forever more’ (Heb 13:8). The 2nd century African church Father Tertullian once asked remarkable questions of this spirit thus:

(Did) truth (have) to wait for certain Marcionites and Valentinians to set it free? During the interval (was) the gospel was wrongly preached; men wrongly believed; so many thousands were wrongly baptized; so many works of faith were wrongly wrought; so many miraculous gifts so many spiritual endowments, were wrongly set in operation; so many priestly functions, so many ministries, were wrongly executed; and, to sum up the whole, so many martyrs wrongly received their crowns! Else, if not wrongly done, and to no purpose, how comes it to pass that the things of God were on their course before it was known to what God they belonged? That there were Christians before Christ was found (if it be only our generation that rightly found Him)? (Was) there were heresies before true doctrine? (Against Marcion)

The spirit of this age is not content to know that this faith we possess was ‘once delivered to all Saints’ and ought to be contented for (Jude 3). We did not found it and we have no freedom to change it. There is nothing new that the church of today is called to preach, but to be faithful to the doctrine we received from Christ and the Apostles.

‘If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.  Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.’ (1 Tim 4:6, 13, 15-16).

What we here today as ‘new revelation’ is nothing but age-old heresy clothed anew, albeit not carefully. But our hope is in knowing that He who called us is faithful and immutable. And because God is immutable, truth is immutable. What was true to Adam is still true to us and will be true to our children. We do well not to confuse historical facts with eternal truth, or else we will damn both ourselves and those who hear us. Our calling is to witness to the world of Christ, to lift Him up for He promises that when He is lifted up, he will draw all men to Himself (John 12:32). Lift up Jesus Saint, not yourself.