Martie and I were born in the forties. Both were raised in the reformed tradition, but specific events in our lives launched us on a decade long journey in 1996, which saw us moving through the Pentecostal and Charismatic environments. In all the congregations we were involved with throughout the years, whether Reformed, Pentecostal or Charismatic, we had wonderful experiences and many lovely memories remain. We met beautiful people everywhere whom we shall always respect and appreciate. They include leaders of congregations and larger networks, as well as the ordinary members in the pews (so to speak). We truly appreciate the wonderful work many local congregations within the different denominations are doing in their communities and beyond.
However, times have changed. Knowledge has grown enormously since the years of our youth (the fifties and sixties).
Modern information technology has changed so much of what we know and do. As a result of their everyday exposure to so much more and contradictory points of view than we had been, the young people of today often ask much more penetrating questions compared to what our generation would have done.
Preachers, church leaders and others need to understand that our answers (or lack thereof) will not only establish and embed our personal integrity in the eyes of the young people, but the integrity of the Bible as well.
Sadly, the information media today, whether printed, the Internet, or audio-visual, bears sad testimony of many whom once were Christians and are now outspoken atheists (and often in vulgar terms). The question we need to consider, is why?
Christian blogger, Jeremy Myers, is one of many who have started to note that there is a difference between what the Scriptures really say about God, and what so many think it does. On the other hand, we need to remember intellectual knowledge has no value in God’s eyes if the heart, the emotions of the inner man, does not support it (Isa 29:13).
The heart of this blog lies in a sincere contribution to stimulate accurate understanding of the Bible in its original full context. While it is inevitable that some (or many) of our long held traditions might be questioned in the process, the focus is not to find fault with doctrines at all cost. I appreciate the blogging platform as a valuable environment to connect with people from all over the world in exchanging views and thoughts in our search for accurate understanding of the Scriptures.
The concept of truth: first observations
“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” “What is truth?” said Pilate (HCSB, John 18: 37, 38).
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you really are my disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (HCSB, John 8:31, 32).
My people are being destroyed because they don’t know me. It is all your fault, you priests, for you yourselves refuse to know me. Now I refuse to recognize you as my priests. Since you have forgotten the laws of your God, I will forget to bless your children. (NLT, Hosea 4:6)
The Scriptures record many instances of the denial or twisting of the truth. Life in the Church of the previous and present centuries has not been different. Peter warns the Church to this effect:
"1But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of the truth will be blasphemed." (2 Peter 2: 1, 2)
In Paul's last letter to Timothy, he warned Timothy to turn away from those having a form of godliness but denying its power. Such people are dangerous as they easily influence those who are always learning but never come to the knowledge of the truth. Men such as these he warned against resist the truth; they have corrupt minds, and are disapproved concerning the faith (2 Timothy 3: 5-9).
These warnings are not sounded to just anyone, but specifically to the ecclesia (assembly) of believers in Christ.
Today the Church is faced with a renewed and almost frantic onslaught against everything she has stood for since her foundation, but especially against the status of the Bible as the inspired Revelation of God. This onslaught is seemingly gaining momentum even in countries that have traditionally been known as "Christian countries". South Africa is such a country, together with the United States of America and the United Kingdom.
This onslaught against the Bible and the truth is not only being waged from outside the Church, but to a large extent from within. The Barna Research Group found in their December 2003 survey (12 January 2004) of 2 033 American adults that only 51% of Protestant pastors nationwide (the United States of America) hold a Biblical view on six core beliefs:
The survey found that only 4% of Americans possess a Biblical worldview, while just 9% of born-again (sic) Christians and 7% of Protestants have such a perspective on life. In some denominations the vast majority of clergy do not have a Biblical worldview, and it shows up clearly in the data elated to the theological views and moral choices of people who attend those churches.
In questioning the status of the Bible the concepts of truth and knowledge are being redefined in both academic and traditional church circles. Because this blog and website are based to large extent on the Biblical record as the truth about the kingdom of God, it is necessary to establish a firm foundation of what truth is. Jesus said that His followers would know the truth and be set free by it (John 8:32).
The five posts that follow this one will focus on shedding biblical light on the concepts of truth and knowledge.