CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

We Have the Truth and We Must Use It

Oct 22, 2020

Truth really is our primary weapon:

Let me begin by mentioning a dream I had last night. It seems I and a few others were under attack by some bad guys. They were seeking to break into our property, and we were trying to defend it. The problem was, the bad guys had weapons, but we did not. It was not a fair fight I said.

Two thoughts popped into my head upon awakening. One, this is getting to be the case in the US where lefties and Democrats are pushing to disband the police, defund the police, or disarm the police. That sure ain’t gonna work well. See more on that here: billmuehlenberg.com/2020/06/10/the-radical-left-and-the-war-on-police/

Two – and as is often the case – I thought about any spiritual application that might be found. So I thought of the Christian’s arsenal. The obvious passage on this is Ephesians 6:10-20 which speaks of the whole armour of God. As is well known, all the armour is defensive in nature, with just one offensive weapon: “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Of course Jesus made it clear that the Word of God is truth. As we read in John 17:17, “your word is truth”. So our primary offensive weapon is truth. While biblical truth is the main example of this, the Christian believes that all truth is God’s truth. So whether we talk about mathematical truth or Scriptural truth, we need to make use of it.

And – to revert to my dream – if we are under attack, we must have the truth and we must use it. Great Christians have always known this. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said in 1970 in his Nobel Prize in Literature lecture, quoting an old Russian proverb: “One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world.”

Os Guinness On Truth

Many more quotes from many more individuals could be offered here, but let me deal with just one important Christian author. He is a prolific writer and has often centred his thoughts on the issue of truth. I refer to the great Christian apologist and thinker Os Guinness.

The 79-year-old English writer and commentator has penned dozens of very important volumes over the past half century. Many of us first became aware of him in his association with Francis Schaeffer, and the publication of his superb 1973 book, The Dust of Death.

Here I want to draw upon just one of his key works. Twenty years ago he released Time for Truth (Baker, 2000). Although rather brief (just 125 pages), it is packed with powerful commentary and terrific insights. He especially takes on the postmodern war on truth, and lays out the vital importance of Christian truth.

In his introduction he reminds us of the practical relevance of truth: “Truth matters supremely because in the end, without truth there is no freedom. Truth, in fact, is not only essential to freedom; it is freedom, and the only way to a free life lies in becoming a person of truth and learning to live in truth. Living in truth is the secret of living free.”

In Ch. 4 he spends some time in defining the biblical notion of truth. He writes: “In the biblical view, truth is that which is ultimately, finally, and absolutely real, or the ‘way it is,’ and therefore is utterly trustworthy and dependable, being grounded in God’s own reality and truthfulness. . . . Belief in something doesn’t make it true; only truth makes a belief true. But without truth, a belief may be only speculation plus sincerity.”

He goes on to say this:

Image of Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, and Spin
Time for Truth: Living Free in a World of Lies, Hype, and Spin by Array Amazon logo

The Christian faith is not true because it works; it works because it is true. It is not true because we experience it; we experience it – deeply and gloriously – because it is true. It is not simply ‘true for us’; it is true for any who seek in order to find, because truth is true even if nobody believes it and falsehood is false even if everybody believes it. That is why truth does not yield to opinion, fashion, numbers, office, or sincerity – it is simply true and that’s the end of it.

In stark contrast is the postmodern take on things. Power relationships are the focus there. Says Guinness:

The promise of postmodernism at first sight is a brave new world of freedom. ‘Truth is dead; knowledge is power,” the exuberant cheerleaders tell us. We must all therefore debunk the knowledge-claims confronting us and reach for the prize – freedom from the dominations constraining us. What could be simpler and more appealing? There is only one snag. If truth is dead, right and wrong are neither, and all that remains is the will to power, then the conclusion is simple: Might makes right. Logic is only a power conspiracy. Victory goes to the strong and the weak go to the wall.

Postmodernism of course grew out of, and was a reaction to, modernism. This earlier stance is also problematic for the Christian. Modernism got some things right (truth exists, is objective, etc) but it got things quite wrong (man is the sole arbiter of truth, and no outside revelation is needed). Guinness says this:

The Jewish and Christian view of truth flies directly in the face of the modern view. . . . Expressed most powerfully in the Enlightenment, the modern view of truth made two claims: First, that truth is objective, certain, and knowable by the unaided intellect without the interference of personal distortions; and second, that the freer the thinker, the more he or she is committed to the fearless pursuit of truth at any cost. The biblical position rejects both these claims as pretentious and false. As human beings we are by nature truth-seekers; as fallen human beings we are also by nature truth-twisters. And a proper account of truth in the human project must do justice to both.

Those last two lines are crucial. Yes, because we are made in God’s image, we have a longing for truth. But because of the Fall, we are all sinners who run from the truth, or twist the truth for our own ends. So we both seek the truth and yet hide from the truth, or distort it.

But truth is the weapon believers have, and we need to make full use of it. Whether it is fighting in the culture wars, or dealing with other belief systems, or seeking that which is morally right, we must be people of truth. We must believe it, affirm it, and use it to take on the lies of the surrounding culture. As Guinness writes:

Postmodern forms of relativism, skepticism, cynicism, and the like may appear to shatter traditional convictions to smithereens. But fears that such views are beyond argument are groundless. For no human being lives outside the reality common to us all. Whatever people may say the world is or who they are, it is what it is and they are who they are. Again, no argument is unarguable, but there are thoughts that can be thought but not lived. When all is said and done, reality always has the last word. The truth will always out. Standing up to falsehood, lies, and crazy ideas is never an easy task, but … it is far easier than the hardest task of all, becoming people of truth ourselves.

The last chapter of the book speaks to this very matter. One final quote: “We face the challenge of practicing the truth before God. To become true we must live bathed in the full floodlight of One who is true. Only when we realize that all our pretenses, evasions, and fig leaves are useless can we achieve the honesty and humility needed for change. As Abraham Heschel used to say, going far beyond Socrates, ‘An untransformed life is not worth living’.”

Being people of truth, proclaiming the truth, and practising the truth. That is our offensive weaponry which we need to fully utilise. In these very dark days this is all the more important to understand and to implement.

[1344 words]

11 Responses to We Have the Truth and We Must Use It

  • Dear Bill, Os Guinness says it’s it is. ‘The promise of post modernism, at first sight is a brave new world of freedom…….’
    Our controllers differ, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Google they censor the truth to espouse ‘their’ truth : LGBT, transgendism, abortion post the 9 month delivery ( is murder) , the internet postulates free speech, (a lie) down is up and up is down. Wrong is right and right is wrong on & on & on it goes.
    Recently Obama, Clinton, Biden and Brennan were exposed in their dealings with seal team six – no mainstream media pick up there. The recent publication of The Paedophile coverup in Australia- ditto. Premier Andrews constant delivery of ‘truth’ at press conferences, particularly when questioned by Ms Credlin. ditto, The Australian Constitution altered without reference to ‘we the people’ – no mainstream media report at the ‘various’ times. The distinct lack of accountability of any member of parliament, certain CEO’s, bureaucrats, chief health officers, police commissioners, senior public servants and so on, not much truth there.
    Truth come out, Truth wins in the end, the casualties continue exponentially as we race toward ‘enlightenment’ ( I loath that expression), we need to be focused on the fact that we have been put here by design, we are passing through this life, with a calling concerning that Truth and we look with eagerness to complete the task set before us. There is a far better kingdom not of this world, and Jesus Christ Himself has gone to prepare a place for all those lovers and defenders of His Truth.
    That said it does pain me when Truth is deliberately hidden.
    Cheers Mark Bryant

  • Absolutely right Bill. As you have quoted from v. 17 of Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth,” we have the security of knowing that we are included in that prayer (v. 20, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word”). Our NT instructor had a wonderful saying in relation to the Scriptures: “The Bible is historically accurate, objectively true, and universally valid.” Yet, as you say, if we are to be effective in wielding our sword, we must be “doers of the word, not hearers only”, like the man who looks in the mirror and then goes away and forgets the blemishes (James 1:22-25). Thank you for the challenge. And it is only on that foundation that we can become one as Jesus went on to pray. I heard one preacher speak of the “great dichotomy” which we hold, and which offends the unbelieving world: that there is truth and error, light and darkness, right and wrong, good and evil, heaven and hell; and we must not resile from these truths.

  • That’s interesting because last night my son and I were talking about being defenseless should someone try to break into our home. It came up when we were discussing about the right to bare arms which is are big thing in America. That is when it occurred to both of us that there is going to be dark days ahead, and our houses will need to become our fortress’s. Now is the time to prepare. Talking about the Truth the thing I find most interesting is that Jesus did not say ” I speak the truth”, he said “I am the truth”. I just love that.

  • Great read Bill. We need a “top-up” or “refresher” on this topic regularly.
    The absence of truth correlates well with the intensity of the spiritual war we are all now in. Is it inevitable that a spiritual war degenerates into warfare?
    The absence of truth infecting governments is best highlighted by the inability of State Ministers to define what a woman is. So ably demonstrated by the Binary organisation. Truth is a casualty now.

  • Speaking of truth, or rather the opposite of it, it seems the Pope has gone over to the rainbow branch of the dark side:
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/pope-francis-calls-for-homosexual-civil-unions-bashes-trump-in-new-film

  • “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t goin’ away.” – Elvis Presley

    True; The king never did die Bill as to have a ‘true Elvis revival’ would by today’s standards be a Christian revival. And we will if we have to. We should support the Parkes NSW Elvis Festival, and hold more of them elsewhere. Elvis always talked about God. Always.

    Thanks again for all you do Bill, God Bless.

  • I saw the picture on the book and wondered how many Christians today would stand up against satan’s tanks???? How many people would stand up against military tanks if their president, premier etc, was the one in charge of them??? I wonder do we have the boldness and courage often displayed by satan’s people???

    How much more proselytizing has satan done over the past 50 years compared to us??? Especially in schools! Christianity is NOT passed on in the DNA or some tradition handed down each person MUST experience Christ for themselves!! As the going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to the garage makes you a car. Your child growing up in the church counts for nothing if he doesn’t experience Christ, and no my son come to Christ at two doesn’t cut it if it is below double digits it is highly likely he/she hasn’t had that experience and is simply saying something to please someone. If we can’t get our house in order making sure we turn out godly children with personal experience with Christ how can we bring others into our house?????

    I believe a guerrilla type civil war is coming to America and your dream could play out many times over night after night. The disturbing part is the are dem supporters in the military what assistance will they give the rebels??? And what if they get a hold of the nuclear codes???

  • So true Bill, “Truth really is our primary weapon” Truth is so important that for example, Riccardo Bosi of the new Australia One Party is basing his party’s success on it – “People want to hear the truth” – he says “We don’t want votes or finances – that will come if we tell people the truth.”
    One thing about the opposition and minor parties is that they like the truth to come out whereas the govt in power whether Federal, State or Local is bent on withholding the truth as it may make them look incompetent and they may lose their jobs.
    As you’ve previously said, Peta Credlin is bringing out the truth by scrutinizing Dan Andrews’ team. Also, ICAC in NSW is trying to find all the truth behind Darryl Maguire’s dealings with developers and whether Gladys Berejiklian knew or was aware of them. In a Dictatorship or Communist Country etc this wouldn’t happen – the people would have to rebel and protest even to violent measures to get justice if they aren’t killed beforehand. But that is not the case regarding the protests in the USA where I believe young people have been erroneously influenced in universities to attack Western Culture leadership. All these ‘truths’ I have learned from reading your website, so again I say Thank you.

  • Dear Bill,
    I thank you for the article on TRUTH. The Pope and ALL the Cardinals, Bishops and Priests without exception, if they cared about the TRUTH would, like St John Paul 2, be CONSTANTLY condemning the holocaust of the mass slaughter of unborn lives. They should be saying it gravely offends the Creator who is the author of Life. Instead most remain deathly silent. One priest told me he never mentions it because it hurts the women who have had abortions. Unlike Mother Teresa of Calcutta who said to women ‘if you do not want your babies give them to me’ Pope Francis has said we should not “obsess” about the issue. How will the mass slaughter end if it is never mentioned by those who have a sacred duty to speak up? They should be openly praising and encouraging Donald Trump for his pro life stance because he has done a lot to promote life according to Life Site news. This world is really clouded with the smoke of Satan who spreads confusion not TRUTH.

  • I agree with you Bill there certainly is are need for self defense but we are not allowed to defend ourselves with firearms as America can which is the point that I was making with my son. However I would be curious to know what other form of defense there may be available to us that you may know about that I don’t know about. Anyway hopefully it does not come to that and our greatest protection is the Lord.

Leave a Reply