What is Truth?
I have been thinking a lot about truth this week. What is it? Is it really words of Scripture quoted or preached? Is it really doctrines of theology and understanding? Is it really a fact or a concept that is immovable or unshakable? Is it all of these things, or is it more or something totally different? These things that I have mentioned will always crop up in conversations and debates with Christians and will always be around on a Sunday. Preachers will preach their version of the truth that they think will set people free or at least give them a grounding in the Word that will make them a growing more mature Christian. Truth to people of the Word is the Word itself, or at least their interpretation of the Word. These become immovable, non negotiable doctrines of faith that become the reference points of true believers against those who are heretics or false teachers. Truth must be preached or taught to reveal who has it right and who has it wrong, we can align and fellowship with the right ones and keep the wrong ones at arms distance. This is all well and good in a literate world where we have a Bible in hand and learned teachers available, but what about a world without Bibles. What about a community that cannot read or does not have access to the written word in any form? Does this then exclude them from truth? Is mission hunting out these poor people and when we find them give them the fundamentals of doctrine, a Bible and some teaching notes? What about the world at the time of the book of Acts? How did the church grow without Bibles? What about the communities that the apostles couldn’t visit? Were they void of having truth and therefore full of error? If truth sets them free and truth is a verse or doctrine or a fact were they still bound? What about the underground church that used to exist in China, couldn’t be real had no truth because there was no access to Bibles or teachers or the internet? What about in the Muslim world today where Jesus is appearing to many in dreams, can these people survive without a sermon or doctrine? What is truth in the margins?
Truth as a Person.
I am beginning to think that truth is beyond words, it is not a Bible verse or a sermon or a doctrine. It is not a fact or a concept. All of these may be true but not necessarily the truth. It is like in the realm of science a theory can be seen to be true until it is disproved and a new concept is seen. They thought the world was flat until someone sailed around the world. They thought there would be no cure for TB until someone finds a cure. These truths shift, as have doctrines over time. Does this make them less truths and more theory? What we can conclude with the facts we have at our disposal at the time, plus our own cultural upbringing and all the baggage that goes along with that. Maybe much of what we conceive as truth is actually theory relative to what we are and what we know. If this is the case what is truth? I want to suggest that truth is beyond a concept or a teaching. Truth is more than a Bible verse that can be taught or doctrine that we build. Truth is a person. Like we see Wisdom as a person in Solomon’s writings, Truth is a person that was revealed to us in Jesus Christ. He said He was the Way, the Truth and the Life. When we read that the truth will set us free I believe it is talking about Jesus and not sitting under some preached word or teacher giving us the latest interpretation in a sermon. When it talks about speaking the truth it is talking about speaking about Jesus. The simple Truth that will bring life and release from bondage. Walking in truth is walking in Jesus. Lead me in all truth is being led in Jesus. When John says ‘your word is truth’ he knew this was Jesus. He knew the concept that the Word was Jesus, the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us and he equalled this with Truth. Word is truth. Jesus is truth, the Word is Jesus, Jesus is Jesus. We are sanctified in Jesus.
So many get so passionate about defending the book. This is not an attack on the book but a fulfilment of the book. They thought Jesus was attacking the law of Moses but instead He came to reveal the revelation of the Law. That is pointed to a person not a law or doctrine to obey or disobey. He showed the disciples on the road and during His resurrection visits that He was there in the lines all along, but missed by people who wanted truth to be words and ideas and concepts. Sharing truth then had to be about sharing about Jesus, not doctrines of faith but stories of walking with Him. They were not anti Moses they walked in the fulfilled story of Moses. It is the same now, I am not anti the book, just desiring to walk in the fulfilment of that book. The truth that set me free was not a doctrine but it was Jesus Himself. The truth we share is a Person not an ideology. Each interpretation of doctrine of the Gospel is different and shared in lots of ways viable to that form of doctrine. No wonder Joe Public gets confused. We need to preach the Gospel, but what is it? Surely nothing more than sharing Jesus with others in word and deed, the Truth. There is no need then for ten steps to salvation or a course for new believers to go on to get it right, whatever the it is, they just grasp truth in a person, a truth that can revolutionise the way of living. You don’t need to give out Bibles to do this or be able to preach and teach. You don’t need to have a sign on the line doctrinal statement of faith, just sharing life. Walking in Truth, living Truth, revealing Truth. Now that is truly something the whosoever can get hold of.