Ten Obstacles to Saving Faith: Obstacle Two

Truth

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18).

Ralph Edwards hosted the former television show called Truth or Consequences. The guests on the show had to answer certain questions. Answering correctly gained a monetary reward. However, an incorrect answer caused a contestant to suffer a consequence. Among these consequences consisted of a woman proposing to her escort on the show on her knees and a sailor calling his girlfriend while a woman sat on his lap saying, “Watch out honey, you’re ruining my hair” (http://www.otrcat.com/truth-or-consequences-p-1945.html?osCsid=7d8c9bjhrbski1eqb80s7el0l0).

This show, while humorous, reflected the real world in many ways. Truth does exist. The results of not abiding by the truth have their consequences. The consequences are not humorous but grim in many respects and at times damaging. For example, committing perjury under oath in court can bring about an indictment and a penalty.

The Apostle Paul writes that there is a cause and effect concerning the suppression of truth.  The causes of truth suppression are ungodliness and unrighteousness. Both of these characteristics aggressively disregard truth. In doing so, they substitute a lie that those who resist God hold up as truth. One of the major restatements of truth in postmodern culture is encapsulated in the mantra, “Your truth may not be the same as my truth.” Those who claim this mantra live by ever changing values of right and wrong, sometimes calling what is right wrong and what is wrong right.  Such a way of living is the penalty for the suppression of truth.

The value system this mantra dictates not only works its way into the life of individuals but also within all segments of society. This leads to lawlessness permeating organizational leadership, the court systems, the executive branches of government, and even with pastors and leaders of churches. Changing values result in ever-wavering application of standards, rules, and laws. The various institutions of our society become infected, including marriages and family, business ethics, the administration of justice, and our approach to God.

Our cities and states become safe havens for lawlessness as mass demonstrations and violence disrupt our way of life, such as with the occupy Wall Street gang and the destructive events that occurred in Ferguson Missouri and like activity throughout our nation when truth receives light treatment or modification according to the whims of individual dictates.

Elected officials have fallen and taken many with them because truth was not germane to their lives. We can name numerous companies that have taken hits to their finances and very existence because of corruption and violation of codes of ethics.  Enron and Arthur Anderson come to mind.  Their Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and other high-level decision makers have discovered similar fates as a number of elected officials because of their suppression of truth. We need only recall Presidents Nixon and Clinton as witnesses to cover-up and the suppression of truth. So many more have fallen in disgrace, resigning from office or receiving far worse consequences.

In such incidences, the consequences of truth’s suppression resulted in eruption of violence, destruction of property, and personal ruin. The suppression of truth not only rises from ungodliness and unrighteousness, but it also promotes them. Truth does exist, and its consequences reflect and give evidence of its existence regardless of its denial among postmodern philosophers.No one is immune to lapses into what the Bible calls sin or transgressions.  It tells us,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NKJV)

Our approach to God is the most devastating in the compromise of truth.  The compromise of truth within churches often occurs first with Scripture as having its source in divine authority.  Faith diminishes to the extent of the devaluing of God’s word in life and practice..  When the authority of Scriptures falls, so also do its teachings.  For if the Bible itself fails to gain our trust, how will its teachings?  Its teachings have come under attack among liberal theologians so that Christ’s death and resurrection becomes relegated to myth.  Philosophical and religious speculations rise to replace the historical-grammatical reading of the Bible.

Two specific perspectives on Scripture contribute to the dilution of Scriptural authority: the Jesus Seminar and Higher Criticism.  Many scholars from the Jesus Seminar claim that they can act as authorities or arbiters for determining which words of the Bible Jesus spoke and which were added later to the text of the biblical books.    Higher Criticism holds that certain books of the Bible (the Pentateuch – first five books of the Old Testament) were stitched together by a single editor and had a number of different authors.  Higher critics question the validity of the Bible as God’s word.  Rather, according to them, it arose from myths (See D. James Kennedy, “Archeology and the Bible,” Bible and Spade Journal, Volume 24:2, Spring 2011.  Such perspectives diminish the truths the Bible teaches as well as faith.

Scott Newman writes,

Post-modernism postulates that truth cannot be known, and that man is the real source of truth. “Evangelical” post-modernism bears the same family traits of its father by diminishing the importance of knowledge and truth. In some “evangelical” circles the likeness is so striking, that man is taught to be a god, and therefore the source of knowledge and truth” (“The Appeal Of God’s Truth To The Mind: Theological And Exegetical Answers To Post-Modern Trends Within Evangelical Thought,” Scott Newman, “Conservative Theological Journal,” Volume 1:2, August 1997, https://www.galaxie.com/article/ctj01-2-06?highlight=truth).

What a tragic commentary on postmodernism. The very essence of truth is that it is knowable by the very fact that we constantly acknowledge it daily in our lives.  We accuse others of wrongdoing, make judgments of right and wrong, establish administration of justice, and trust others to be truthful in their dealings with us. Truth is innate to and assumed in human behavior, judgments, actions, and the establishment of ethics in organizations and society.  Denial of truth leads to chaos and lawlessness.  Some may claim that certain behaviors do not necessarily reflect universal applications.  Each society has its own rules. That denies the common core principles existing universally as foundational to those rules from which people draw for establishing them.

Humanity depends on such a universal application for order and interaction. Our communications call upon truth to trust, make promises (or contracts), call for fairness, and create order in a multitude of interacting societies. Even the functions of language assumes the absolutes of truth.  Chaos otherwise ensues and results in implosion of interactivity and societies themselves. The extinction of societies throughout history gives witness to the suppression of truth at the root of societies and in the heart of every individual. Truth resting on individuals leads to tyranny as power becomes the mediation for truth: “It is true because I said so and I am the power source.”  The lie is at the root of every other evil: adultery, betrayal, deceit, slander, gossip, boasting, mistrust, murder, and cheating.

Only one remedy exists for reducing and halting the destruction of society and life within it – the acknowledgment of the God of truth and embracing His way through faith in His wise counsel and way of living revealed in His word the Bible. That comes through faith in Him and reconciliation with Him as the source of godliness and righteousness. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, the source of truth, to return us back to God. Those who suppressed the truth murdered Him to cover up their lies with those around them. He came to tell us the truth about God and to reconcile us to the truth. Living in the truth embraces His judgment on its suppression in our lives. We embrace the truth when we place our faith in Him as the remedy God gave to draw us back to God and to live a life pleasing to Him.

Copyright (c) 2014 Action Faith Books Press.  All rights reserved.  May not be stored or published in any form, except for brief excepts as noted by copyright law, without expressed written permission from the publisher.

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