Peace if possible, truth at all cost–Martin Luther
Since the beginning of creation, truth has been under attack by ardent opposition. God (the Creator of all things) has no equal and shares His glory with no one (Isaiah 40:25; 42:8), yet Lucifer, In Isaiah 14:12-14, egotistically sought equality with God his Creator and was evicted out of heaven. Even after being evicted from heaven, Lucifer (Satan) continued his attacks against truth in the Garden of Eden. God commanded Adam in Genesis 2:15-17, not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil or else he would surely die. Satan however, (the Father of lies-John 8:44) sowed seeds of doubt in the mind of Eve by telling Eve, “…You surely will not die. For God knows that on the day you eat of it your eyes will be open and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5) Adam and Eve believed the lie of Satan and partook of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Just as Lucifer (Satan) was evicted from heaven for coveting equality with God, even so, God also evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden for falsely believing the same thing and, as a result, sin permeates all of humanity.
The necessity of truth is paramount especially in our day and age. During a time in our society where subjectivism and relativism have gained prominence, more than ever before, the Christian church must rise to the challenge of proclaiming the truth, which emanates from the very essence and nature of the Triune God. Tragically however, while the truth is proclaimed and taught within the Christian community amongst one another, there are not nearly enough Believers proclaiming and teaching the truth outside the Church community. Do we fear the objections we may receive if we proclaim the truth to those of different worldviews? We as Christians must not fear, but speak the truth in love to those across religious and philosophical landscapes. The question is: How much do we as Christian value truth? Do we really know what truth is and its impact on us and the Christian worldview? This article seeks to answer these questions for the purpose of cultivating a renewed love for truth and the Author of truth. If achieved, we can, with confidence, rise up with boldness and counter any truth claim that raises its ugly head against the knowledge of God. (II Corinthians 10:4-5)
What is Truth?
The question of “What is truth?” has been asked throughout history. During the trial of Jesus before Pontus Pilate, Pilate asked Jesus if He was a king. Jesus answered him, “You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:37) “Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38) Too often this response to Jesus’ claim is overlooked by the average Christian, but warrants our undivided attention. Unfortunately Pilate failed to stick around to hear the answer.
What exactly is truth? Jesus answers this in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” According to Jesus, God’s word is truth and since Jesus bears witness to God’s truth (John 18:37), we can be certain that God’s word is truth. “Wait!” says the Skeptic, “Just because Jesus said so, doesn’t necessarily mean it is so. What about the truth claims of other worldviews and religions? What makes your worldview and religion so exclusive?” In order to answer these objections raised by Skeptics, we must dig deeper in further defining what truth is.
Most philosophers define truth as, “That which corresponds to or adequately expresses what is real.”1 In other words, truth is that which corresponds with reality. For example: All single people are unmarried. This is a true statement about single people which corresponds with reality. There isn’t any such thing as a single married person. There may be married individuals who live like they’re single, but in reality he/she is still married. A biblical example of the definition of truth is as follows:
“For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. (II Timothy 3:3-4)
Is it not true that all these sinful character traits correspond with reality? Do you know of anyone who holds grudges easily? Do you know someone who goes into a fit of rage easily? Or do you know someone at work who constantly speaks negatively of their co-worker or boss? If we are honest with ourselves, we all know individuals who fit several of these traits. Since there are people who have one or more of these sinful character traits, then the truth claim of II Timothy 3:3-4 is in fact true. It corresponds to reality we can observe; even within ourselves.
As Christians, we can answer with confidence the objections of skeptic friends that the reason Jesus could declare that God’s word is truth is because His truth in fact corresponds with the everyday reality in which we live. When the Bible speaks concerning the moral depravity of humanity as well as many other claims, they are found to be true because they correspond with reality. In a nutshell: If a truth claim corresponds to the reality in which we live, it is true and is therefore the truth. If a truth claim does not correspond to the reality in which we live, it is false and is therefore not the truth.
Truth or Consequences
The Christian church has failed to see the necessity of truth and the consequences of that failure (upholding and defending the truth of God’s word) have been visible for all to see. While there has been a small remnant of Christians throughout history who have upheld and defended the historic truths of the Christian faith, the majority has failed to see the urgency to do so. As a result, Postmodernism, Religious Pluralism, and a vast sea of world religions, cult organizations, etc. which comes against Christianity has emerged with their own truths in an attempt to pull people away from the truth of God’s word; especially the gospel of Jesus Christ. Many within the Christian church today, sadly, are still silent to oppose opposing worldviews vie for the heart, mind, and soul of non-Christians as well as those within the church.
As a person who has spent much time dedicated to apologetics and evangelism among those in world religions and cult organizations, I’m troubled and grieved to see so little missionary work done among those in these groups. As a result, many within the church fall away and enjoin themselves to religions like Islam and Buddhism or cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science or the Heath, Wealth, and Prosperity movement (Word of Faith movement). Even worse, pastors and leaders have allowed false doctrines (false truth claims) to infiltrate their local churches.
One example of this infiltration is the false doctrine of the Heath, Wealth, and Prosperity movement (Word of Faith movement) into the Church of God in Christ. COGIC leaders from the top on down have embraced and taught its members that they can create reality with their words. The Bible states, “Who is he who speaks and it comes to pass, when the Lord has not commanded it? (Lamentations 3:37) This truth claim of creating reality with your words originated from the New Age Movement, not in the Bible, yet the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ, Charles E. Blake has embraced such WOF teachers such as Fredrick K.C. Price, whose truth claim concerning Christ’s atonement is blasphemous! Concerning Christ’s atonement for sin, Fred Price stated:
“Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God . . . Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound. And they threw a net over Jesus and they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence.” (Ever Increasing Faith Messenger [June 1980]) yet he was a guest speaker at Bishop Charles Blake’s Inaugural Celebration Banquet in Memphis 2009.
Why would the presiding bishop of the Church of God in Christ have a preacher who teaches a doctrine of atonement that clearly contradicts the very words of Jesus Himself: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30) There is no scriptural evidence of Jesus going to hell to atone for the sins of humanity.
In addition to the above mentioned, Joel Osteen was also invited by Blake to speak at the 2017 COGIC 110th Holy Convocation. According to Osteen, “We have to conceive it on the inside before we’re ever going to receive it on the outside.” (Your Best Life Now, chapter 1) This truth claim also stems from the New Age movement, not from the Bible. Tragically, the epistemic fall of the Church of God in Christ is a grim example of what Christian philosopher Douglas Groothuis calls Truth Decay. Truth decay, whether purposeful or nonpurposeful, is where truth is exchanged for falsity. Truth decay is the consequence the Christian church faces for not recognizing the extreme seriousness for the necessity of truth. Such a turn from or neglect of the necessity of truth can cause the fall of an entire denomination like that of the Church of God in Christ.
In conclusion, the necessity to proclaim and defend the truth is of crucial importance for the Christian church. There are numerous opposing worldviews and truth claims which seek to draw converts to themselves. We cannot afford to continue to sit idly by allowing opposing truth claims to go unchallenged. The apostle Paul exhorted us to “Test all things; hold fast what is good”. (I Thess. 5:21) The truth of God’s word is good and it must be used to counter-attack the false truths of our time. In order to proclaim and defend God’s truth, we must diligently seek to study and know it. Laziness is not an option in the pursuit of truth. Let us therefore pursue the truth of God and “Study to shew thyself (oneself) approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (II Timothy 2:15)
Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it–Blaise Pascal
 C. Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religions (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p.118-19