Walking in the Truth in a Postmodern World (Newsletter 5-2)

by David K. Bernard

Like the apostle John, ministers of the gospel have great joy when they see people walking in the truth. God Himself takes great joy in us as His children-not to see our “success” as we often measure it but to see us walking in the truth. For most people today, truth is relative. They think, “What you believe is good for you, and what I believe is good for me. Truth is subjective.” Indeed, the prevailing philosophy of our world can be summarized by the statement, “There is no absolute truth.” This view is often called postmodernism.

This philosophy is self-refuting, for it makes an absolute truth claim. When people say there is no absolute truth, how do they know that what they are saying is true? If they adopt this philosophy as the guiding principle of their lives, then in effect they treat it as absolute truth.

The prevailing value of our society is tolerance. Tolerance is good when it means treating our neighbor right, for Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. But our society has redefined tolerance to mean that all beliefs and lifestyles are equal in value. In other words, there is no absolute right or wrong; there is no objective morality. Everyone’s choice is valid.

This view is false. It is also self-refuting because people who hold this view are tolerant of every belief except the belief in objective morality. They can tolerate Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, polygamy, homosexuality, and all other beliefs and lifestyles. However, they do not tolerate those who say, “Some beliefs, choices, and lifestyles are right while others are wrong.” There is no tolerance for people who believe in biblical doctrine, holiness, and morality.

Every view is tolerated until someone says, “This behavior is sinful. This choice is wrong. This teaching is false.” They accuse those who believe in objective morality of being hateful and bigoted and in many cases would deny them the right to speak. In short, our postmodern society says we should tolerate everyone except those who have a firm belief in truth.

We do not hate people who commit sin or hold false views. We are not bigoted against those who live a worldly life. We simply recognize that some choices are right and some are wrong.

God has given humans freedom of choice. We do not try to take away that freedom, but in accordance with Scripture we warn people of the consequences of wrong choices. Some consequences occur in this life, and some consequences will become evident in the judgment and the life to come. We cannot deny the reality of divine judgment that awaits everyone of us.

If we are not careful, postmodem ideas can affect the church. We may begin to wonder why some tenets of Apostolic doctrine-s-such as baptism in Jesus’ name and speaking in tongues are so important. We may begin to think some aspects of practical holiness such as Apostolic teaching about wholesome speech, godly use of media, modesty of dress, men having short hair, and women having long hair are merely personal preferences. Some may say that these Apostolic beliefs are old-fashioned or legalistic.

We must realize, however, that the Bible teaches specifically on these and other matters. These teachings were true in the first century, and they are true in the twenty-first century. We are still accountable to walk in the truth.

The apostle John spoke of “the truth,” using the definite article the. In other words, there is such a thing as “the” truth, or objective truth.

Absolute truth is grounded in God. He is the source for knowing what is right. He is the basis of holiness, justice, and morality.

We find ultimate truth in God’s greatest revelation of all-when God came in flesh as a human being, lived a sinless life, and purchased our salvation through His death, burial, and resurrection. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). We encounter truth in Jesus Christ, the living Word of God. God reveals truth to us today by His written Word, the Bible.

To walk in the truth means more than knowing something mentally or acknowledging something verbally. It is a daily relationship with God. When we follow Jesus Christ, we receive His Spirit, and His Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16: 13).

We face a great challenge in this day of many choices, many voices, and many so-called truths. In the midst of all the noise and confusion, there is the still, small voice of God. There is the gentle voice of the Savior, who says, “My sheep know My voice, and they won’t listen to another.” (See John 10:4-5.) Through a relationship with Jesus, we can obtain clear direction, and we can walk steadily toward the goal of eternal life. We begin our new life of faith by repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ, and receiving the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38).

“Buy the truth, and sell it not” (Proverbs 23:23). Let’s make a fresh commitment to truth. Let’s keep walking in the truth. ~