Sunday, May 16, 2010

Absolutely Relative: The Breakdown of Truth Bravado

"If you abide in my will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31b-32)

Post-modern thought (and beyond) has led to a historically unique understanding of truth. Truth has been redefined in our time to fit nicely with any and every alternative. This is the popularized version. Truth, simply put, is not understood as truth anymore. Truth is much more of an "and/or" than an "is" for an increasingly larger portion of Americans today. A book written over 16 years ago by Don E. Eberly recognizes that nearly 70 percent of Americans did not believe in an absolute truth. What does this mean? It means that an overwhelming majority of Americans (much higher today than the nearly 70 percent in the mid-90s) no longer understand truth as truth at all.

Truth, by its very definition, means its alternative(s) is false. If something is true, something else has to be false. If something is true, then, it has to be absolutely true by definition, doesn't it? What seems to be a no-brainer has become such a pool of confusion today. Relativism is in. Absolute truth is out. Since the reality of truth establishes a standard and a benchmark of right and wrong, post-modern culture has sought to remove all standards through the introduction of a relativism that no longer challenges falsities. R.C. Sproul magnifies this by explaining:

Relativism says this: “truth is what you perceive it to be, and what is true for
you may be false for somebody else.” In our present society, you’re
perfectly free to believe whatever you like, but the one thing you may not do is
to deny its antithesis. You can say, “I believe that this is true.”
But you cannot say with impunity that that which opposes it is false. We
have a whole generation of Christians who have been brainwashed by the spirit of
relativism so they’re completely hesitant to say, “I deny that error over
there.” We don’t have heresy trials anymore because, in relativism, there
is no such thing as heresy.
How should the church respond to this cultural shift away from absolute truth? Answer: Proclaim truth! Stand for what you believe. I have heard it said, "If you stand for everything, you are no longer standing for anything at all." How the church needs to rediscover the absolutely reliable truth of the Word of God! The absolutely reliable truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must be upheld! The church needs to reclaim its bravado and truth fortitude!

Today's culture says that claiming an absolute truth is narrow minded and hateful. The Word of God says that the absolutely true Gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe (Romans 1:16).

This creates a dilemma for the church in a culture of relativity. Are we willing to proclaim the absolute truth of the gospel, even if it means we are to be labeled as narrow minded and hateful? Or will the church lose all remaining bravado and surrender into a culturally acceptable institution of relativity? If the answer is the latter, the church will cease to be the church. In fact, it will become everything else but the church.

We live in a time in which the church must "cowboy up" and once again hold fast to the absolute truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church must abide in the Word of Christ. Only the truth of God in Christ Jesus is able to set the world free.

Do you believe this to be absolutely true?

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