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Christian Living

Can We Really Know What Is True?

Our writer today is Wairimu Thiauri. She is a member of and works at Redeemer Bible Church. Wairimu enjoys reading, writing, hosting people, cooking, and baking. She is married to John Thiauri.

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Philosophy refers to the current age starting from the late 20th century as the postmodernism age. It stems from the modernism age that believed science to be the absolute truth. Some distinct marks of this age include broad scepticism, subjectivism or relativism, a general suspicion of reason, and the denial of objective truth. 

David Porteous, in his research paper, A Christian View of Postmodernism and Its Roots, rightfully states, “Truth, says postmodernism, instead of being something that is discovered, is something that is constructed.” For once in history, people take pride in ignorance. This scepticism is fashionable to the extent that people perceive those who claim to know the objective reality about things as bigots. The irony is that refuting objective truth and claiming its inexistence is an attempt at asserting an objective truth. It is self-contradictory. 

Christianity, on the other hand, claims absolute truth. God is the author of all truth and reality. God, Himself is truth. It then follows that we cannot know the truth apart from Him. He has graciously provided us with His word that is the source of all truth and against which we can hold all other claims of truth and determine their truthfulness. As believers, the accuracy of God’s Word dictates our logic and reason and all of our practices. 

Postmodernism has infiltrated many facets of our lives as a society. Several Christians have bowed to the pressure by conforming to scepticism and uncertainty, even on matters that are crystal clear in the Scriptures. Believers are now afraid to respond to circumstances with absolutes and offend those of different opinions. We have also sacrificed holiness on the altar of political correctness. Since a standard of truth held in high regard is non-existent, people are free from accountability for their actions. 

My objective in writing this article is to remind us that we have a yardstick of truth. Therefore, claiming to be ignorant of the truth is prideful and hurts the body of Christ more than it tries to unite us. 

All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), and possible to understand

One foundational truth we need to establish is that the Scriptures are God-breathed. This truth is the premise upon which knowledge is possible. As far as trustworthiness goes, the Word of God is the most trustworthy source of truth because God Himself is the author. As I mentioned earlier, God is truth. Because He is truth, His Word is infallible, i.e., incapable of making mistakes or being wrong.

Another characteristic of God’s Word is perspicuity, i.e., plain to the understanding, because of clarity and precision of presentation. The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith states, “All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them.” 

David Porteous further says, “Since men are image-bearers of God, being created with rational minds endowed with knowledge, righteousness and holiness, bearing the creature-creator distinction, but with the likeness to God, they can know the same truth that God knows, not exhaustively but qualitatively.” Claiming ignorance about matters spelt out in scripture is not a show of humility but pride. God has made known to us the mystery of His will according to His purpose, which He set forth in Christ (Ephesians 1:9). 

The Holy Scriptures are our yardstick for all truth and reality. They should inform our thinking, actions, experiences, and emotions. 

Experiences and emotions 

A big part of our culture today is experiences and feelings. Everyone wants recognition of what they have experienced and feel about reality or an experience. However, the problem is that sometimes we hold experiences and feelings above truth, the truth of God’s Word. One person will say a truth they believe, and another will nullify it because it is not a part of their experience. 

Emotions are a gift from God, and they are particularly helpful in diagnosing and identifying the state of our hearts. But emotions are not always right and ought to be subjected to the truth for identification, examination, and interpretation. When we hold them above the truth of God’s Word, we are guilty of walking by sight and not by faith. Emotions can be fleeting, proving their unreliability. Although our convictions are not devoid of strong feelings about a subject, they should be based first and foremost on God’s Word. 

God has also endowed us with many experiences as we sojourn on this side of eternity. Not only so, but He has also orchestrated and ordained every experience we encounter. Sometimes our experiences, especially the bad ones, have a way of obscuring truth and reality. We ought to be careful not to fall into this trap. For instance, the tragic death of a loved one does not mean that there is no God. A better way to interpret experiences is by tracing the providences we experience, whether sad or welcome, back to the heart of God. As believers, we are sure that God’s love for us will never fail. 

Postmodernism wants harmony and community with all

Granted, more often than not, postmodernism’s desired goal is harmony and community. Tolerance is one of the most revered virtues of the age. Everyone wants a table long enough to accommodate all people regardless of their beliefs and enjoy community with one another without splitting hairs over matters. That is why relativism is a distinct characteristic of postmodernism. Everyone has their truth, and we respect each other for it. I must admit that one of the temptations I face is letting truth slide to enjoy peace with someone in case we do not agree over a matter. Unfortunately, this peace is plastic and often does not last. 

For believers, our source of unity is in our continual growth in the knowledge of God. So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-13). We become united as a body when the people God has gifted equip us and build us up with the truth. When we aspire for unity apart from the truth of God’s word, we are in error. 

It is worth mentioning that while we are still on this side of eternity, our unity around truth will still be imperfect. Even when we have a yardstick of truth, we often see things differently. That is why, historically, theologians have categorised some doctrinal matters as fundamentals and others as non-fundamentals. As long as we are not deviating from orthodox Christian beliefs (fundamentals), e.g., the infallibility of Scriptures, the deity of Christ, and the Trinity, we can enjoy fellowship with one another. We wait for the day when we shall acquire a perfect understanding of all things and be perfectly united with one another around God’s truth. 

Conclusion

As God’s chosen people, we have one thing that the world lacks; the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, we can be confident and unapologetic in our convictions against sin and worldliness because God Himself breathed out the Scriptures. Let us not conform to the liberal Christianity that is vague about truth. Let us boldly proclaim the excellencies of God to an unbelieving world that God may save them from their sin and unbelief. 

4 replies on “Can We Really Know What Is True?”

Excellent. Thank you for sharing wise words for such a time as this. 💙
Loved this: “We become united as a body when the people God has gifted equip us and build us up with the truth. When we aspire for unity apart from the truth of God’s word, we are in error.”

Liked by 1 person

I often find that my own confidence in the Scriptures is what’s in question when I am struggling to be bold with truth. Thank you for the reminder of the trustworthiness of the word of God!

Liked by 1 person

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