The Thing About Truth: Only the Obedient Get It


“If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from myself” (John 7:17).

Truth is a funny thing: If you want it, you tend to find it.  If you don’t believe it exists, you never come across it.

A generation ago, Professor Allan Bloom wrote a bestseller called “The Closing of the American Mind” in which he said a growing percentage of young Americans considers the mark of the modern man to be an open mind.

By “open mind” they mean an intellect that tolerates everything and considers truth to be relative, that takes no hard and fast positions, and gives  all positions equal footing. To them, a “closed mind” ranks as the epitome of ignorance and backwardness.

Students enter the university, said Dr. Bloom, “just knowing” that maturity requires that they jettison all those “prejudices” and outdated restrictions from their parents’ repressed generation.  Those wishing to take a strong stand for (insert your favorite value here) patriotism, Americanism, the Bible, the Ten Commandments, or the church are old-fashioned and still bound in chains of ignorance.

In the years since Professor Bloom’s book topped the bestsellers’ lists, nothing has happened to change this sad state. To far too many young Americans, to be educated and sophisticated is to reject hard and fast notions of truth and to welcome relativity in every discipline.

Such is the philosophy of a large section of the up-and-coming generations.

“Open-mindedness” sounds so good, like a virtue we should all aspire to. Likewise, “close-mindedness” sounds like we have a Neanderthal in the room.

However, not so fast…

The typical expression of open-mindedness that we hear takes one of these forms:

–“No one should be judgmental.” People should be free to live out their beliefs, no matter how bizarre they seem to us.

–“That may be true for you but it’s not for me.” Why should you think your “truth” is any better than mine?

–“We should all be tolerant of other faiths.”

Question: How about the Islamic extremists who burst into that Nigerian school on April 14 and abducted 276 girls?  Did they do right or wrong? Are you willing to make a judgment on that?

Question: How about the terrorists who hijacked those planes on September 11, 2001, and crashed them into the towers in NYC and the Pentagon, killing many hundreds of innocents?  They did this in the name of their religion.  Were they right or wrong?

There is so much hypocrisy and tap-dancing around the truth and an unwillingness to even agree on what is truth.  What are we afraid of? That someone might be offended?

TIME magazine for May 26, 2014, calls the abductors of the Nigerian schoolgirls  “armed extremists” without one reference in the entire three page article to their Islamist identity.  By itself, “extremist” is meaningless, just as it would be to call another person a conservative, or to say someone is better or that another thing is worse. In relation to what?

Extremist is a meaningless term by itself.

Here then are seven statements about Truth (what Dr. Francis Schaeffer used to call “true Truth”) for your consideration…

1) There is an objective Truth in the world.

2) Truth is truth in all situations and not variable.

3) Only the truly wise will recognize Truth when they find it.

4) It’s possible to be so caught up in anti-truth that one looks at light and sees darkness, looks at love and sees hate, at righteousness and sees evil.

5)  The first step to attaining this wisdom (in order to know truth when we find it) is humility. Child-likeness.

6) The second step is to seek Truth.

7) The single most important step we can take to learning Truth is to obey the portion of Truth which we have and which we understand.  Additional truth will not be given to those who trample underfoot the portion they posess.

The astronauts boarding the spaceship for outer space are betting their lives on solid truths of science, on mathematical definiteness, on facts set in stone–and not on “your opinion is as good as mine” or “as long as we’re in the ball park, it doesn’t matter.”

The doctor in the operating room, the chemist in the lab, and the astronomer in the observatory, all hold to the definiteness of truth in their fields.

It’s only when we come to matters of faith and humanity that some want to forget that truth exists and try to construct a world where one person’s lies are as valid as another one’s truths.

The Bible has a word for that: fool.

Our Lord said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign?”  That is, they were wanting some shortcut to life and reality without having to make tough decisions about truth.  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation” (Mark 8:12).

Those unwilling to walk by the light they were given by God end up losing that light. To the Jewish leaders, Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God will be taken away from you and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it” (Matthew 21:43).

If you would have more light, use the light you have been given.