“Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
I am thankful for the education I received both in college and seminary. But to tell you the truth, the most important lessons I have learned didn’t occur in a seminary classroom, but in the classroom of the real world.
You have read in other blog posts how I was influenced by some of the liberalism that was dominant in my college and seminary. As a young pastor, I preached from the Bible, but I was taught that I probably should have a few reservations about the text. I was taught that the Bible needed to be updated and that modern scholarship now knew so much more than the writers of Holy Scripture knew.
You also know how my faith in the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture was restored through works like The Fundamentals and Why I Preach That the Bible Is Literally True. In addition to those books, my theology was greatly influenced by having to live in the real world. I dealt with real people with real problems.
Over the years, I have walked with young parents who lost a child, I stood by the bed of one of my dearest friends as he drew his last breath and I questioned why someone had to endure the horror of ALS. I’ve sat with families who struggled with a family member’s inability to even remember who they were because of Alzheimer’s. Most recently, I stood by the bed of my own father and watched as he made the transition from this life into the next. With age, hopefully comes wisdom — but with age DEFINITELY comes experience.
Through all those experiences — and countless others — I learned that when confronted with situations we don’t always understand, people were not interested in my opinions. They wanted something solid — something they could hold on to — they wanted TRUTH.
I watch many of the discussions on social media like Facebook about the issues of our day. It disturbs me at the number of people who call themselves Christians who want to stand on something other than the truth of God’s Word. When I give my opinion — you can give yours and they are both worth about the same. My daddy said, “Opinions are like noses. Everybody’s got one. Some are just a little prettier than others.”
However, when I stand on the authority of Scripture — I stand on solid ground. I have absolutely no problem at all saying to you and anyone else — “I believe the entire Bible is God’s Holy Word. I believe He protected it from any serious error. Though there are some things I don’t fully understand, I accept it as absolute truth.”
One of the problems we encounter in this day and age involves that term “absolute truth.” Most Americans (as many as 72% according to some studies) do not believe there is any such thing as absolute truth. Even more disturbing to me is the fact that as many as 40% of evangelical Christians do not believe in absolute truth.
The definition of absolute truth is this…
“unchanging truth from God that is applicable to ALL people in ALL situations ALL over the world.”
Americans are notorious for our belief that we are smart enough to figure out everything on our own. We therefore rationalize everything we do by saying — “what’s right for you is not necessarily right for me.” Religion becomes a matter of TASTE not TRUTH.
In every major world religion, there are some noble thoughts and ideas. As Christians, we should respect people of all faiths. Our major focus is to lift up Jesus Christ — not put down other religions. But…hear me well here…we should NEVER think for a minute that Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity are teaching the same thing just using different terms and ideas. There are distinct and mutually exclusive doctrines in the major religions of the world.
Let me give just two examples.
I believe that in Jesus Christ we meet God in human form. Jesus IS God in every respect. The other major religions do not make those claims for their leaders. Nobody suggests that Buddha IS God or Mohammed IS God or Moses IS God.
Muslims and Jews believe that Jesus was a good person — perhaps even a prophet — but they don’t believe that He was the divine Son of God. They don’t believe He was crucified for our sin or that He rose from the dead. Therefore, on this most significant issue — we disagree and in fact we contradict other religions.
Another major difference is the degree of tolerance extended to other faith groups. Among Christians — we do not tell you that your life is in danger because you affirm a different faith. But in non-Christian countries around the world — your life and your family are in danger if you dare to deviate from the faith of the majority.
My point is this…TRUTH is exclusive — otherwise it is just an opinion. When we make a TRUTH claim, we are saying that the opposite is NOT TRUE. When Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life,” He is saying that any other way is untrue. Either Jesus IS who He claimed to be or He is a fraud.
The argument over same-sex marriage, for example, is not about preference or sexual morality. It is an issue of TRUTH. Is the Bible God’s ABSOLUTE TRUTH for us or is it just one of many opinions? That’s the question.
There was an 18th century French philosopher named Voltaire. He was a skeptic of Christianity. He made this prediction: “In 100 years, the Bible will be a forgotten book found only in museums.”
Guess what? 100 years after he made that prediction — they turned his home into the office of the Geneva Bible Society!
The Bible not only CONTAINS God’s Word — you can put your faith in the fact that the Bible IS God’s Word. Trust it!
Have a great day.