Monday, May 22, 2006

No. 8: Capital "T" Truth

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I have been thinking about the nature of truth. Is it absolute, or is it relative? Is it public, or is it private? Is there one universal Truth that applies to all of life, or are there many, individual truths that vary from person to person?

Consider the O.J. Simpson trial. After months of testimony, the jury acquitted the accused. Many black Americans celebrated. Not so with white America. And yet we had both watched the same proceedings. How is it that we came to such vastly different conclusions? Based upon the evidence and testimony at the trial, each group decided what was really true—for them.

For the Christian, the answer to the first and third questions in the first paragraph above, is obvious and clear. There is one, universal Truth, and His name is Jesus Christ. He said ...

“I am the … Truth.” (John 14:6 KJV)

He also prayed for us ...
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (John 17: 17 KJV)

Jesus Christ is also called the Word …
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1: 1-3 NIV)

The Word and the Truth are Jesus Christ. He is the Living Word made into human form. To embrace Him is to embrace the Truth. To embrace the Truth is to embrace Him.

Why is it so important to understand this fundamental idea? For many Christians, the answer to the first question posted above— “is [truth] absolute, or is [truth] relative?” —is easy. Of course Truth is absolute. But how about the second question?— “Is [truth] public, or is [truth] private?” The answer to that question may not come quite so easily.

Now, if we think carefully about the third question— “is there one universal Truth that applies to all of life, or are there many, individual truths that vary from person to person?” —the answer once again becomes crystal clear.

For the Christian, to believe in universal Truth must also mean a belief in public Truth. Some call it truth with a capital “T.” In other words, there cannot be a universal Truth that only matters to the private (religious or spiritual) realm. If Truth is universal, then it applies to all of life, not just to my own personal or religious life.

For those of us engaged in the battleground of ideas, a belief in one, universal Truth means that in the public arena, we hold firmly to a transcendent, uncompromised standard. This standard, This Truth, is set for us by a God who is separate and above—a God who has clearly made Himself known (Romans 1:18-20). This standard is not for Christians alone, but for all of God’s creation. Holding up God’s Truth in the world is what makes us salt and light.

Universal Truth is public truth.

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