In last week’s article we discussed three philosophical tests for truth. Truth cannot be self-contradictory, it must fit with the known facts, and finally it must work in life.
Whenever one approaches this subject, the words of Pontius Pilate come to mind. "What is truth?" Or perhaps we picture the cynic philosopher Diognes of Sinope (ca 404-323 B.C.) wandering through the streets of ancient Greece with his staff and lantern, looking for an honest man.
Throughout history man has searched for truth in one form or the other. Philosophers have attempted both to define it and to decide if it is knowable. Religious figures expounded their versions of truth, claiming their particular path to be the way to truth, and some modern thinkers believe that each of the various world religions contain some parts of truth. Those who have no understanding of world religions are actually trying to find common ground between the various world religious views. The British satirist Steve Turner puts this pursuit in its proper perspective when he writes, "We believe that all religions are basically the same — at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God and salvation."
Jesus is unique. Jesus didn’t come claiming his way to be truth; his claim was much more startling than anyone who went before him, or anyone who has come after him. He didn’t claim to come to teach a way either of or to truth; he came claiming to be truth. He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me" (John 14:6, NCV).
Now I have written on this verse before. Those who may choose to disagree, please understand that you are not disagreeing with me on this point, you are disagreeing with Jesus. He made the claim for himself, I am not making the claim for him. Some may choose to disagree arguing that Jesus said no such thing, only his followers afterwards put these words in his mouth. To you I say you might as well stop reading now because the only standard of truth you are prepared to accept is what you yourself make up in your own mind. There will be no convincing you, and to read further will only infuriate you.
To those open enough and honest enough to continue reading, notice please Jesus’ claim, "I am the truth." You can never know true truth until you know the embodiment of that truth, the Lord Jesus Christ. The only way to know him is through his self-revelation found in the pages of the book we call the Bible. Certainly there are secular sources that speak of Jesus; Tacitus and Josephus are two that come immediately to mind. I find it interesting that where Josephus is concerned, modern scholars accept him as a reliable source of first century Jewish history, but, in the same way they treat the Bible, when it comes to the clear references Josephus makes to Jesus, they want to cut those out; they want to claim that they were only added much later to the text and hold that while all other references in Josephus are reliable, the ones and only the ones that refer to Jesus are not reliable. Am I the only one that sees not merely a double standard here, but also catch a whiff of a rat in the scholastic pool?
Far too many in their claim to be in search of truth systematically deny the very things that would lead them to truth. Why? Because in their own minds they have already determined that certain things about the Biblical record simply can’t be true. Again, Steve Turner has an interesting twist on it when he writes, "Jesus was a good man, just like Buddha, Mohammed and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher although we think His good morals were bad."
That really says it all. Modern man does not want Jesus the Truth; modern man wants a Jesus they can construct and a Jesus they can also de-construct as it suits their personal views or desires. Thus you have many who claim to be Christian, who deny the very essence of Christianity. No one, who refuses to face and deal with the embodiment of truth, will ever be able to come to the truth. Bottom line: refuse to deal honestly with the Jesus of Scripture and you are only fooling yourself. One day, perhaps sooner than any of us think, we will face head on The Truth (Jesus), and according to the Bible, at that time, all excuses will be out the window.
Dr. John Pearrell is pastor of Gateway Community Church in Covington. He can be heard on the radio on WMVV 90.7 (FM) at 8:30 p.m. Thursday nights.