Welcome to Knowing Christianity

To Share Christ, To Grow In Christ, To Glorify Christ

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jesus, God the Son

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9 NKJV).

It never seizes to blow my mind when I think that at some point in human history, God literally came into this world and walked, lived among mortal humans whom He created and loved with an eternal and divine love. You see, Scripture teaches us that the man Christ Jesus who came, lived, and died some 2000 years ago, was no less than God Himself.

Paul gives us in this verse one of the clearest statements regarding the divinity of Jesus Christ. This was for Paul, as it is for all who have met Jesus personally, an experiential truth that had fundamentally transformed him and had made of him a new creation in Christ. Paul teaches us that God’s nature and person are in Christ’s human body, that the man Christ Jesus possessed all the attributes of deity. Marvin Vincent says: “The verse contains two distinct assertions: (1) That the fullness of the Godhead eternally dwells in Christ…; (2) The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him…as one having a human body.”

Jesus Himself made the claim that He existed in eternity past before His birth in Bethlehem’s manger, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58). Christ has always been, in other words He never began and when He came as one of us, He came still being what He was. John concurs with the statements of both Jesus and Paul when he declares: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:1, 14).

The importance of this truth can in no way be overstated. Why is this doctrine so important, because Christianity stands or falls on the eternality, the preexistence of Christ. If it is true that Christ began at Jesus’ birth, then He is not God, He is not divine, He is not eternal, and it would mean that Jesus, Paul, and John, along with the others writers of Scripture, all lied.

So what other biblical evidence do we have to prove that the man Christ Jesus was indeed God incarnate? Let’s consider a few more biblical references:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6).

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8).

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col. 1:15-17).

We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thess. 1:12).

But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. 3The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven (Heb. 1:2-3).

Without question the New Testament presents Christ as fully God. Jesus Christ is unlike any other religious leader; none can be compared to Him. Jesus is the eternal God who willingly came into this world to reveal the Father and to die on Calvary’s cross in order to make salvation possible for any and all who would acknowledge their sin, repent, and trust Him and Him alone for eternal life.

Followers of Christ do not simply follow a mere religious leader from among a multitude of religious leaders, or a good teacher, or a prophet. Biblical Christians follow the one and only, eternal, sovereign, almighty, Holy One.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Rev. 22:13).

Behold What Manner of Love

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him (I John 3:1 NIV).

Whose family do you belong to? There are those who would have you believe that God is the Father of us all, regardless of our spiritual state. But is that true, is it biblical? Scripture teaches us that there are only two families in this world, the family of God and the family of the devil. Scripture also teaches us that all of us were born spiritually dead, alienated from God, and therefore as members of the devil’s family. Whether we realized it or not, we had as our father the devil. Yes, I realize that much of what I’ve said up to this point is politically incorrect. But honestly, do we really need more political correctness, or do we need the TRUTH?

Does God really love us? If He does, how much does He love us? We only need to look to the cross for the answer to those questions! He loves us with an everlasting love. John says that God’s love for us is so great, that He acted upon that love by sending, by giving His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die on that cross in our place in order to remove us from the devil’s family and bring us into His own.

Here is the dilemma every human being faces. We are all born sinners (Rom. 3:23) and the penalty of sin is death, both physical, but more importantly, spiritual (Rom. 6:23). As a result, from the time we were conceived we were already alienated from God, from the time we were born we were in enmity with Him, we were His enemies (Col. 1:21). The only hope of us being reconciled to God, the only hope of us having our sins forgiven, the only hope of us becoming members of God’s family would come through spiritual regeneration. Jesus told Nicodemus that unless we were spiritually “born again,” we would not see the Kingdom of God; much less enter it (John 3:3-7). Salvation is found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and in no one else, there is no one else who can save us (Acts 4:12). Even though virtually every religion in the world teaches that man can either save himself or at minimum contribute to his own salvation through some system of “good works,” that theology is completely inconsistent with what the Word of God teaches. There is absolutely nothing any of us can do, in part or in whole, to be reconciled to God (Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-7).

Yes, God loves us, but that doesn’t mean we get a free pass. God is holy, righteous, and just, as well. And because He is holy, righteous, and just, He cannot allow sin in heaven. Unless we acknowledge our sin, repent, and by faith appropriate the gift of eternal life by trusting Christ and Christ alone for our salvation, we will remain as members of the devil’s family here on earth and after physical death, we will spend eternity with him in hell. Listen closely, God desires for all people to know the truth and to be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). The Truth, not political correctness, will set you free (John 8:32). Here it is folks, For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

We all have a choice, to believe or not to believe. We all have a choice as to what we will do with this Jesus. What is at stake? Our soul is at stake! If what the Bible teaches is true, then no other decision we make in life will be more important than this one. Nothing else will matter much if we don’t get this one right. Are you willing to chance an eternity in hell, to risk an eternity completely, wholly, and utterly separated from God without ever even giving what the Bible teaches due consideration, without doing everything on your part to find out if Jesus Christ is who He claimed to be and to determine whether or not He did what the Bible claims He did for you? God will never impose Himself on you; He will never force you to do anything against your will. But know that if you reject His Son, if you reject the Gospel, then you have no one to blame but yourself for the consequences. By the way, not making a decision is a decision in and of itself.

Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12). How great is God’s love for us? Christ died on Calvary’s cross so that through a personal relationship with Him we might become children of God and members of His family. God is NOT everybody’s Father, but the real question is, is He YOUR Father?

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Bible's Uniqueness

Although not meant to be an exhaustive study on the uniqueness of the Bible, I would like to highlight six areas that help us see why the Bible is unlike any other book in history. Its uniqueness serves as evidence and is an incredible testimony that validates the historical, orthodox doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy.

The Bible is unique in its:


Consider some of these unique facts about its nature and composition:

The Bible was written over a 1500 year period,

Forty different individuals were involved in writing the books of the Bible, individuals from all walks of life such as kings, shepherds, fisherman, scholars, etc.,

It was written on three different continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and from many different places within those continents (prison, palace, wilderness, etc.),

It was written during different times in history (times of war, times of piece, etc.), as a result, it was written in different moods (confusion, joy, sadness, etc.),

It was written in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek),

It was written in a number of differing literary styles such as poetry, allegory, prophecy, historical narrative, etc.,

Hundreds of topics are covered in Scripture, including many of controversial subjects such as adultery, homosexuality, divorce, the nature of God, etc.

In spite of all these incredible facts, three important points need to be made:

(1) From Genesis to Revelation we find an amazing degree of harmony between the writers on all the subjects covered in Scripture.

(2) We find that there is an unmistakable unifying theme in every book of the Bible, one unfolding story, the story of redemption. Salvation is the one unifying common thread of Scripture. “The ‘Paradise Lost’ of Genesis becomes the ‘Paradise Regained’ of Revelation.”[1]

(3) The entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, is “Christocentric,” meaning, the Person of Jesus Christ is the central figure in both the Old and New Testament. As the story of redemption unfolds, we see the Old Testament pointing to Christ, looking forward to the cross, while the New Testament, after His death, resurrection, and ascension, points back to Christ, looks backward to the cross. Either way, Jesus is the one figure who can be found in every page of Scripture since He is the One who brings redemption and the unifying theme of the entire Bible is the progress of redemption.


Unlike any other literary work in human history, the Bible has been produced more than any other book, its sales are in the billions, with no indication that this trend is slowing down, and in terms of circulation, no other literary work comes even remotely close to that of the Bible. In one year alone, the Bible is distributed world-wide in the hundreds of millions of copies (in its various forms), no other literary work enjoys that kind of distribution during the entire existence of the work, much less in one year.


Unlike any other literary work in world history, The Bible is the only book that has been already translated into approximately 2200 languages. According to the Summer Institute of Linguistics, by approximately 2022, well within one generation, the Bible will have been translated into almost every single language in the world, making it the only book in the world to have been universally translated. No other literary work can even be remotely compared to the Bible in terms of translation.


The Bible has survived the test of:

(1) Time. As stated previously, its production, distribution, and sales serve as a testimony that rather it being a book slipping into obscurity, today, it is clearly being circulated and read more than ever before.

(2) Persecution. No other literary work has ever been so vigorously attacked nor had more enemies then the Bible. In spite of the fact that in history there have been individuals who have attempted not only to persecute Christians, but to in some way or another destroy the Bible all together (i.e. Roman emperor Diocletian), it has not only survived but flourished. In spite of the fact that there have been those who have assured the world that Christianity would cease to exist and pass into history (i.e. Voltaire), Christianity has survived the predictions and flourished. In fact, precisely the opposite has turned out to be true, the Bible’s enemies have been the one’s to come and go, it is the Bible which has remained. Jesus Himself stated, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:31 NKJV).

(3) Criticism. Higher criticism, which attempted to discredit the Bible by denying such things as Moses’ authorship of the first five books of the Bible (the Pentateuch), miracles, etc., failed. Why has it failed? Because time, discoveries, and archaeology and other sciences have proven over and over that the Bible is completely accurate in everything is says about any topic (i.e. history, geography, etc.). Down to the details, the Bible has been proven to be completely true.


Let’s now consider what the Bible teaches:

(1) Prophecy. “Other books claim divine inspiration, such as the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and parts of the (Hindu) Veda. But none of those books contains predictive prophecy.”[2] The question is why? Because predictive prophecy that fails to come true in all its details will expose those writings as false and non-inspired. The Bible on the other hand, is loaded with predictive prophecy, much of which (the exception being that which is yet to be fulfilled) has been fulfilled literally down to the minutest details, showing once again that the Bible is inspired and that everything it says is true and accurate.

(2) History. Archaeological discoveries, etc. have done much to prove that the Bible is completely accurate in its historical narrative. Many enemies of the Bible have been silenced over the years because the sciences have later proven that what the Bible has taught, in terms of history, is accurate.

(3) Characters. McDowell states, The Bible deals very frankly with the sins of its characters, even when those sins reflect badly on God’s chosen people, leaders, and biblical writers themselves…The Bible as a book focuses on reality, not fantasy. It presents the good and the bad, the right and wrong, the best and worst, the hope and despair, the joy and pain of life. And so it should, for its ultimate author is God.”[3]


“The Bible is one of the most important documents in the history of civilization, not only because of its status as holy inspired, but also because of its pervasive influence on Western thought. As the predominant worldview for at least fourteen centuries, Christianity and its great central text played a major role in the formation of Western culture. Consequently, many literary texts, even those in our post-Christian era, frequently draw on the Bible and the Christian tradition.”[4]

“The influence of the Bible and its teaching in the Western world is clear for all who study history. And the influential role of the West in the course of world events is equally clear. Civilization has been influenced more by the Judeo-Christian Scriptures than by any other book or series of books in the world. Indeed, no great moral or religious work in the world exceeds the depth of morality in the principle of Christian love, and none has a more lofty spiritual concept than the biblical view of God. The Bible presents the highest ideals known to man, ideas that have molded civilization.”[5]


[1] Norman Geisler and William Nix, A General Introduction to the Bible (Chicago: Moody, 1986), p. 28.
[2] Ibid., p. 196.
[3] Josh McDowell, p. 13.
[4] Susan V. Gallagher and Roger Lundin, Literature Through the Eyes of Faith (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1989), p. 120.
[5] Geisler and Nix, pp. 196-197.

Discernment: A Biblical Imperative

More so in recent years than perhaps during any other time in church history has the church become extremely gullible to false teachings. Heresy is running rampant and it is creating havoc among those who claim to be Christians, in part because of the crisis of apologetic, theological, doctrinal, and biblical illiteracy facing the church. Chaos and confusion threaten to overwhelm the church, all because we have neglected the clear instruction of Scripture to be students of the Word and the command to be discerning. People are willing to accept anything anybody in a leadership position says simply because they said it. It is as if people who “speak for God” have replaced the Word of God and they themselves have become inerrant and infallible. Blind faith has replaced reasoned faith, foolishness has replaced wisdom, and willful ignorance has replaced committed discipleship. We are now reaping the consequences; the church is being marginalized and shoved aside as irrelevant and out of touch, Christians are being rendered useless in their service for God, and the only message that brings real hope to the world is being overshadowed by heresy, falsehood and error. So what should we do? Go to the Scriptures!

Satan's Strategy

There are many passages in the Bible that discuss Satan’s work and strategy in the world. In this chapter we will look at a few of the New Testament references and explore their implications to the world as well as to the church. Considering the chaotic state of the world and the illiteracy crisis facing the church today, to say that he has been successful would be quite the understatement.

Matthew 7:15; Acts 20:29

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.”

Just preceding this verse, Jesus warned that the way that leads to eternal life is narrow and constricted because salvation comes only by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. The Bible is clear in teaching that there is only one way to be saved, one way to reach heaven, and that is by God’s prescribed way. He also warned that the way that leads to destruction is broad and wide and that many would travel through it because the false gospel being preached by the false prophets would be accepted and believed by the multitudes resulting in their eternal condemnation.

He warned that people impersonating true shepherds claiming to speak for God would come preaching a message that would not save anybody. An easy, tolerant, politically correct gospel that makes no demands on its listeners, that excludes sin or repentance from its message. The broad way gospel is a feel good gospel which seeks to avoid bringing conviction of any kind to those to whom it is preached to. It’s all about love and grace and acceptance, failing to ever mention God’s holiness, righteousness, anger towards sin and its consequences. We are told that these false prophets would infiltrate the church and assume positions of leadership in order to pervert the truth of the Gospel. They would be “scholars” and “pastors” whose only agenda is to lead many through the broad and wide gate which leads to destruction. One thing is clear, behind that charismatic personality and seemingly sincere, gentle, and kind facade, lies nothing more than a ferocious wolf whose goal is to take as many with him to hell as possible. In Acts we are told that they are nothing more than “savage wolves” that “will not spare the flock.”

II Timothy 3:12-13

“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

Paul, in this pastoral epistle to Timothy, his son in the faith, warns him and the church that “evil” people who misrepresent themselves (“impostors”) would come with the sole intention of “deceiving” others. He warned that things would go from bad to worse and that with the passing of time, false teachings would increase. He predicted that opposition to God, the Gospel, truth itself, and Christ’s followers would severely intensify.

How do they succeed in deceiving others? Through very subtle methods, by introducing false doctrines in every area of societal life and using society to apply incredible pressure on the church to compromise its convictions and cave under the pressure. Rather than the church influencing society, society has influenced the church because of our failure to discern truth from falsehood, right from wrong.

II Corinthians 11:13-15

“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.”

Countless “Christian” churches across the United States and the world have forsaken the historical, orthodox teachings of the church and embraced the false teachings propagated by these false teachers, precisely because they have successfully portrayed themselves as servants of God. They masquerade as Bible believing, Christ believing, genuine, sincere, loving “servants of righteousness,” while Paul warns that they are nothing more than Satan’s servants. They are so good at disguising themselves as angels of light that they now serve as pastors, professors, counselors, denominational leaders, etc. within the church. The result, liberalism is rampant within Christendom, the central, cardinal doctrines of the faith have been dismissed as either untrue or unnecessary to believe in, and the truth of the Gospel perverted. Yes, churches are busting at the seams, the tragedy being though, that they are filled with people who are being “deceived” and led astray by “evil men” and “impostors” who are condemning them to an eternity without God.

Satan’s Work

Scripture, over and over warns us that if we fail to be discerning students of the Word, we ourselves will become victims of the devil. Peter warned us that “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan seeks to accomplish his goal by introducing into the world and the church:

- Deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1)

- Destructive heresies (2 Pet. 2:1)

- Myths (1 Tim. 1:4; 2 Tim. 4:4; Titus 1:14)

- Distorted truth (Acts 20:30)

- Human commandments and teachings of men (Col. 2:22; Titus 1:14)

- Foolish and ignorant speculations (2 Tim. 2:23)

- Worldly fables (1 Tim. 4:7)

- False knowledge and empty, godless chatter (1 Tim. 6:20)

- Philosophy and empty deception, and the tradition of men (Col. 2:8)

The Command to be Discerning

I Thessalonians 5:21-22

“Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.”

Let us now consider the biblical command phrase by phrase:

“Test Everything” (v. 21a)

This is a clear call to be discerning. The Bible is clear in instructing us to carefully judge or discern between truth and falsehood, right and wrong, good and evil. We are to examine and filter everything we hear, be it coming from the pulpit or in a seminary classroom, with and through the Word of God. It is the responsibility and duty of every believer to test all teachings to determine whether they are human or divine in origin. We are to be careful not to blindly accept everything that is said in the name of God, we are to test everything against Scripture. John tells us that anybody not abiding in the teachings of Christ does not have God and that we are not to participate in their evil deeds by giving them a platform (2 John 9-11). Paul told Timothy that those who advocate a different doctrine are self-centered, have no true knowledge of that which is of divine origin, lack understanding, and have ulterior motives (1 Tim. 6:3-5). But we must know and test everything against God’s Word so we can identify error, expose it, and reject it.

“Hold Unto the Good” (v. 21b)

In Romans 12:9 Paul said “…hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” By discerning all things, we successfully hold unto that which is genuine and reject that which attempts to pass as genuine but is really counterfeit. We are to discard any teaching that is inconsistent with God’s truth and retain that which is in harmony with both the written and incarnate Word. We are to guard that which has been entrusted to us (1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 1:13, 14), this is a mark of a true Christian (Heb. 3:13, 14; 10:23, 25). Those who preach the broad way are successful because as Paul said, people will reach a point where they will not endure sound doctrine but will instead be easily deceived by those who preach what they want to hear rather than what they need to hear ((2 Tim. 4:3, 4).

“Avoid Every Kind of Evil” (v. 22)

Reject and avoid both counterfeit teaching and living. In fact, if you notice, Paul doesn’t stop at telling us to reject false teaching, he tells us to reject “every kind of evil.” Instead of giving evil a foothold, we are to obey God by shunning anything that is unbiblical. The word “avoid” emphasizes complete separation from evil in both teaching and action. If we know and walk in the ways of the Lord than we are wise and discerning (Hosea 14:9). Paul prayed that we would abound in two things, knowledge and discernment (Phil. 1:9).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Logical or Illogical?

Cornish writes, “The foundational pillars for thinking, pursuing truth, and acquiring knowledge are the Laws of Logic. These weren’t invented by Aristotle or anyone else. Like gravity, they just are—reflections of God’s reality and the world He made. They govern the way we think, often assumed to be part of our God-given common sense. No moment goes by in which we do not use or assume logic. To deny it requires using it.”[1]

Logic has three interconnected laws:

(1) The Law of Non-contradiction. This law simply states that two contradictory statements about anything cannot be true at the same time and in the same respect. For example, a person cannot smell and not smell at the same time and in the same way.

(2) The Law of Excluded Middle. This law states that something either is or is not. It cannot be both at the same time. For example: you are either smelling or not smelling, there is no middle ground (excluded middle).

(3) The Law of Identity. Simply stated, something is either itself or something else. For example: George Washington is George Washington because he cannot be someone else. To be both George Washington and someone else violates the Law of Identity and is therefore illogical.

As we explored the various “isms” covered in the previous blogs, we found a common denominator in all of them. Every single one of those philosophies is a self-refuting philosophy. They self-destruct because the very propositions used to make their claims destroy the claim itself. In every case the argument is defeated by itself rendering them all illogical.

[1] Rick Cornish, 5 Minute Apologist Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), p. 33.

Faith and Reason

Is Christianity unreasonable as critics claim? They say it is because according to them, faith contradicts reason. Many believe this and as a result we have seen many within the Church divorce faith from reason, a concern that many evangelicals are addressing, such as J. P. Moreland in his book Love Your God With All Your Mind, and others. This is a charge leveled by those who don’t understand how the Bible defines reason and what is says about the relationship between faith and reason. Neither do they know what orthodox Christianity has historically held and taught concerning this whole issue of faith and reason. Just because they don’t understand the relationship between the two doesn’t make faith or Christianity unreasonable. If only that which we fully understand is reasonable, then most of what we hold to be true in our lives would have to be labeled as unreasonable, isn’t that unreasonable?

God is a rational being; therefore we are rational beings as well since we are created in His image. There are a number of passages in the Bible that clearly teach us that we are to worship God and bring Him glory through our use of reason, we show God that we love Him by using our minds (Deut. 6:4-5; Matt. 22:37).

Faith is unreasonable they say, but why? Not because faith is unreasonable but rather because to them faith is foolish (1 Cor. 1:18). To prove that faith and reason are inseparable, just consider the doctrine of salvation, the threefold nature of saving faith: knowledge, assent, and trust. The point being, we respond to the Gospel through the use of reason, by using our minds.

To the dismay of many who don’t understand Christianity, Christianity doesn’t call people to exercise the type of faith that requires them to take a blind leap in the dark. That which Christians believe and hold as convictions is supported by a great deal of evidence, in fact, Christianity throughout the centuries has survived all sorts of scrutiny, precisely because it is a reasonable faith.

Although it is true that we cannot fully comprehend everything the Bible teaches since the finite mind is incapable of comprehending certain mysteries, this does not render faith/Christianity irrational.

Is It Credible to Believe In Absolute Truth?

In light of the arguments presented for the other philosophies about truth, it seems ridiculous to even ask the question of whether it is credible to believe in absolute truth. But we will ask and answer it as anyway.

People, either consciously or unconsciously, are on a journey in search for truth, for something to believe in. That truth or unchanging reality serves as what we call a fixed point (or absolute). That fixed point is what we use to measure our progress in our journey. Consider this, if truth is relative, then you have no fixed point, without that fixed point, how do we even know we are traveling in the direction we should be traveling in? Well, we won’t. The curious thing is that even relativists themselves have a fixed point (even though they would never publicly acknowledge that).

Relativists know that truth is not relative. That is precisely why they so fervently argue and propagate their view. Think about it, why the battle to convince everybody else that relativism is true if they themselves believed relativism to be true? The point is, relativists would not engage in converting others to become relativists because if they were true relativists, they would know and acknowledge that all worldviews and philosophies about truth are equally valid. But the fact that they do engage in converting people to their point of view and of accusing those who don’t convert of intolerance, just serves to demonstrate that they believe their view to be superior and truer than all other views. It sure appears they are behaving just like “intolerant absolutists,” doesn’t it?

Joseph Fletcher once wrote that, “The situationist avoids words like ‘never’ and ‘perfect’ and ‘always’ and ‘complete’ as he avoids the plague, as he avoids ‘absolutely.’”[1]

Geisler states, “What Fletcher is in effect saying is 1) “one should never use the word ‘never,’” 2) “one should always avoid using the word ‘always,’” and 3) “one should absolutely deny all ‘absolutes.’”[2]

Here is the issue, denying the validity of absolutes violates logic and is self-refuting and self-defeating. “Since it’s self-defeating to argue that all views of reality are false or relative, and it’s contradictory to believe that all views of reality are true, then the only logical option is to believe that some views represent in a more accurate way reality than others. Therefore, in order for philosophical inquiry to make sense, one is forced to believe in absolute truth. It makes sense to believe that there is a knowable, transcendent, and unchanging reality (a fixed point or referent).”[3]

It’s important to return to the whole idea that these philosophies about truth rather then uniting they divide. Moseley says that, “Even when people disagree about the truth, they still share common philosophical ground if they at least can agree that truth exists. When the quest for truth is abandoned, every viewpoint, however spurious, is legitimized, so there is no reason to search for consensus under the banner of the truth.”[4]

Listen to these sobering words, “Since the sixties we have been in the throes of this quiet but desperate revolution of thought—the death of truth…we refer to the truth of what the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer called ‘true truth,’ the extinction of the idea that any particular thing can be known for sure…Today we’ve lost the confidence that statements of fact can ever be anything more than just opinions; we no longer know that anything is certain beyond our subjective preferences. The word truth now means ‘true for me’ and nothing more. We have entered an era of dogmatic skepticism…When truth dies, all of its subspecies, such as ethics, perish with it. If truth can’t be known, then the concept of moral truth becomes incoherent. Ethics become relative, right and wrong matters of individual opinion. This may seem a moral liberty, but it ultimately rings hollow. ‘The freedom of our day,’ lamented a graduate in a Harvard commencement address, ‘is the freedom to devote ourselves to any values we please, on the mere condition that we do not believe them to be true’…The death of truth in our society has created a moral decay in which ‘every debate ends with the barroom question ‘says who?’ When we abandon the idea that one set of laws applies to every human being, all that remains is subjective, personal opinion.”[5]

How long can a society or civilization survive when the prevailing philosophy about truth is such? Has history taught us nothing?

[1] Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundation (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), p. 47.
[2] Ibid., p.47.
[3] Ibid., p.48.
[4] N. Allan Moseley, Thinking Against the Grain (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003), p. 68.
[5] Paul Copan, “True For You, But Not For Me (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998), p. 73.

The Truth About the Tolerance

In this postmodern, relativistic, and pluralistic society we live in, it is not unusual for those who believe in absolute truth to be accused of being intolerant and narrow minded. Are those charges and accusations true? Well, let’s consider them more closely:

(1) On the charge of being narrow-minded, there may actually be some truth to that, not because those who believe in absolute truth are narrow-minded themselves but because truth is narrow by definition. For example, if one person states that France is in Asia while another states the France is in South America, is the person who rejects those statements as being false because he happens to know that France is in Europe, intolerant? If somebody who knows that 5 + 5 = 10 rejects somebody else’s statement who says that 5 + 5 = 7, because he has never studied any math, does that make him intolerant? That is nothing more than political correctness run amuck. Truth is narrow by definition because it says that if something is true, then its opposite must be false.

(2) Hypocrisy reigns among those who argue that absolute truth is too narrow. Why? Because the one’s making those claims are as guilty of being narrow-minded as the people they accuse of being narrow-minded, since their claim is made by using absolute truth statements. I am intolerant and narrow-minded when I say that absolute truth exists (an absolute truth statement), but they are not intolerant and narrow-minded when they say truth is relative and there is no such thing as absolute truth (two absolute truth statements). Once again, a self-refuting, circular, and hypocritical argument is being used.

(3) Just because people, particularly Christians, disagree with worldviews or philosophies about truth other people hold, doesn’t mean they are intolerant. By accusing people of intolerance, they prove they don’t understand what intolerance means. Intolerance has nothing to do with truth itself; instead it has to do with the attitude in which one holds truth. Their accusation confuses what is held (truth) with how it is held (attitude).[19] Truth be told, the only way anybody is going to avoid being accused of being intolerant, is to agree with those making the accusations, to accept their claims. Is that not intolerance? When I disagree with their point of view I am intolerant, yet when they disagree with my point of view they are not. Do you see the hypocrisy? If I am intolerant, then they are just as guilty of intolerance as well!

Exploring the False Philosophies about Truth (Part 4)


Moseley states, “Hedonism as a philosophy, or worldview, measures the rightness or wrongness of a particular course of action by whether it is pleasurable. “If it feels good, do it; do it if it’s what you feel” is the contemporary proverb that expresses the philosophy of hedonism…hedonism formulates this natural tendency into a philosophy of life, an ism”.[16]

The philosophies of hedonism and naturalism are philosophies that are closely connected:

(1) Hedonism is a result of naturalism; it has a naturalistic view of nature and as such it excludes God from nature as naturalism does. When God is excluded then self is the only one left to whom we answer to.

(2) Naturalism is the result of hedonism. When self-pleasure becomes a persons highest good, inevitably, one’s worldview will exclude God from it because the very thought of God will hinder one’s pursuit of pleasure.[17]

Many of today’s venues that promote those “self-help,” “self-fulfillment,” “personal happiness,” topics have been heavily influenced by hedonism. There is often no mention of the divine during these types of conferences or in the written literature, again, because the divine hinders the pursuit of that which these proponents are peddling. Many Christians have incorporated hedonism into their personal worldview. When “self” takes the place of God in one’s worldview, then when it comes to worship, who are we worshipping? The answer is quite obvious, SELF!

There are, though, some problems with hedonism:

(1) As with all the other “isms,” it is a self-refuting argument and philosophy and as such, it cannot be true.

(2) As with all the other “isms,” its ultimate purpose is to remove God from its worldview thus removing any form of accountability to a divine Judge and elevating “self’ to a god status.

(3) Then there is “the hedonistic paradox.”[18] Here is the paradox; on the one hand, if a hedonist can’t reach the level of pleasure sought, frustration sets in, and frustration is pain. On the other hand, if a hedonist does find that pleasure, he will soon become bored with the pleasure itself or the source of that pleasure. Pleasure and the pursuit of pleasure become an addiction. Boredom and addiction also cause pain.

Either way, the final outcome for the hedonist is pain. Hedonism rather than containing the seed of pleasure, as its proponents argue, it contains the seed of pain.

[16] N. Allan Moseley, Thinking Against the Grain (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003), pg. 52.
[17] Ibid., p. 53.
[18] R. C. Sproul, Lifeviews: Make a Christian Impact on Culture and Society (Old Tappan: N.J.: Revell, 1986), 131.

Exploring the False Philosophies about Truth (Part 3)


This argument states that if you hope to ever discover truth, you must rely on your feelings and emotions to do so. In other words, if it feels right, if it feels good, then it must be true. There are several problems with this philosophy as well:

(1) Feelings and emotions are constantly changing, how can we possibly make them the test by which we determine whether something is true or not. If truth is subjective, then truth would be continually changing since our feelings and emotions are continually changing. Just think of how ludicrous that would be. Think of how often we would have to change our minds about any given thing in a week’s time. Many certainties such as the law of gravity or the law of thermodynamics would have to be revised often depending on how a given scientist feels. Why bother printing textbooks, after all, the authors’ feelings and emotions may change a month after the book has been published requiring it to be recalled and re-written, again and again!

(2) What if a lecturer made a statement in an auditorium full of people and hundreds of people felt differently about the statement he made. How would we determine what the truth of his statement is since everybody’s subjective feelings differ? Whose feelings are right? According to subjectivism, the only conclusion we can reach is that the statement is true, but only to him and those who may agree with him, even though the statement may be objectively true. According to subjectivists, there is no such thing as objective truth, can you imagine the nightmare that scenario creates? The deny something we all, either consciously or unconsciously, know to be true, not that objective truth can exist but that it does. The point is, nothing could ever be true if truth is determined by our feelings, emotion, and intuition!

(3) We all know that bad news can be true, or is it? Nobody likes or feels good about bad news, and if truth is only what makes us feel good then all bad news must be untrue. I suppose, then, that the next time someone’s boss tells that person he is being laid off from work, he should dismiss it as a false statement and still show up to work the next day as if nothing had happened. Insane! Geisler states, “In short, feelings can be a result of or reaction to truth, not a basis of truth.”[11]

Cornish states, “As with all good things, emotions must be kept in proper context. But in much of our culture, our feelings overstep our God-intended bounds because we rank them over reason. Emotions cannot determine truth or decide right from wrong. Feeling good does not suggest that something is true, and feeling bad does not indicate it’s false. Emotions contain no content, no information by which to evaluate truth or falsehood. Our reasoning capacity performs that function. Emotions are the part of the soul that appreciates and responds to life. Expecting them to identify truth is like asking our ears to smell a flower. They can’t because ears weren’t made for smelling.”[12]


In writing about pluralism, Guinness stated, “There is no truth, only truths. There is no grand reason, only reasons. There is no privileged civilization (or culture, beliefs, norms, and styles), only a multiplicity of cultures, beliefs, periods, and styles. There is no universal justice, only interests and the competition of interest groups. There is no grand narrative of human progress, only countless stories of where people and their cultures are now.”[13]

Moseley writes, “…pluralism is the cultural doctrine that each community’s ideology or religion is equally legitimate or ‘true.’…Therefore, no idea or system of morality can lay claim to a higher authority. All philosophies are on equal ground, so they should all be given equal validity. …No unifying principle exists, so no unity is possible.”[14]

Copan states that pluralism “maintains that no religion can be considered superior to another. To make an exclusive claim is deemed ‘intolerant’ or ‘arrogant’ by the pluralist.”[15]

The problem with this philosophy is that since all ideologies and religions are equally legitimate and given equal validity, no ideology or religion can ever be wrong or untrue. That would mean that if you took two truth statements, one from one religion and one from another, and they both contradicted each other, they would both still be true. Now, since there are hundreds of ideologies and religions around the world, most of whose truth statements contradict each other, pluralism would argue that all those hundreds of contradicting truth statements would still be true.

Pluralists would argue that when it is all said and done, it doesn’t matter what you believe because at the end all religions will lead all people to the same place, namely heaven. But what about those religions that deny the existence of God or heaven and hell? If their religion is as legitimate and valid as all others and their claims are as true as all others, then how will we know where we are going to end up, since many disagree about the existence of God and in the existence of a place called heaven? If my claim that God and heaven exist are true and their claims that God and heaven don’t exist are also true, how then do we reconcile these completely opposite statements?

Pluralism cannot be true because among other things, it fails to reconcile the simple fact that two or more contradicting statements about the same subject can’t possibly be true (the law of non-contradiction). Rather than uniting, pluralism divides, as does relativism. Pluralism ends up being just another self-refuting claim by arguing that in essence there is no contradiction in contradicting statements. To say that all ideologies and religions are right and true is obviously untrue.

[11] Cited in Geisler & Holden, Living Loud: Defending Your Faith (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2002), p. 36.
[12] Rick Cornish, 5 Minute Apologist Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), p. 36.
[13] Os Guinness, Fit Bodies, Fat Minds; Why Evangelicals Don’t Think and What to Do About It (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1994), 105.
[14] N. Allan Moseley, Thinking Against the Grain (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003), pg. 68.
[15] Paul Copan, “True For You, But Not For Me (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1998), p. 73.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Exploring the False Philosophies about Truth (Part 2)


Skeptics, unlike agnostics, don’t say that truth or God cannot be known. What they do say is that we should doubt or question everything. Skepticism is nothing more than the philosophy of uncertainty[7]. As a skeptic, I would say, truth and/or God do exist, truth and/or God can be known, but I doubt, question, and am indecisive about both. Skepticism by implication, teaches people to procrastinate in making any decisions and to set aside those things that need to be decided on. There are several problems with this philosophy as well:

(1) Skepticism refutes itself as well. Is it possible to be truly skeptical about everything? If skepticism is true, then I should by definition doubt, question, and be indecisive about skepticism as well, shouldn’t I? How is it that I should be skeptic of everything but skepticism itself? I wouldn’t be a very good skeptic would I?

(2) To procrastinate in making a decision about anything is to actually make a decision about it. If you are a skeptic and decide not to make a decision about God, you’ve just made a decision; the decision was not to decide (that is a decision, right?).

(3) Skepticism prevents people from being proactive and assertive in doing what they know needs to be done. It causes us to suppress the truth by making us question it (I am talking about the things all humans inherently know to be true in their very soul). It paralyzes us from moving either left or right because we just don’t know.


This is perhaps the most popular philosophy about truth in society today. Relativism states that absolute truth that applies to everybody, everywhere, always, is non-existent.

In his book The Closing of the American Mind, professor Bloom stated, “There is one thing a professor can be absolutely sure of: almost every student entering the university believes, or says he believes, that truth is relative.”[8]

Relativism is the most widely accepted philosophy about truth among our high school and college students. There are though, several problems with relativism:

(1) Relativism, as the previous three philosophies considered, is a self-refuting philosophy. They use an absolute truth statement when they say that “all truth is relative.” These philosophical arguments about truth are at best hypocritical arguments. Relativists claim that what they believe is absolutely true for all people, everywhere, always, and that any other view is untrue. But how can this be, how can everybody else’s views be false and theirs true if according to them there is no such thing as absolute truth because all truth is relative? Wouldn’t the statement “all truth is relative” be itself untrue and relative? It is a self-refuting and circular argument. To say that there is no absolute truth by saying that that philosophy is absolutely true is illogical and defies all common sense.

(2) Truth must have by definition “something fixed and absolute by which to correspond in the real world”[9]. If, according to relativists, truth is relative, then truth must be relative to something else. The question is what is it relative to? Well, it ends up being relative to the relative to the relative, and so on (with no end to what it’s relative to). The problem with that is that if there is nothing in the real world for a person’s view of relativism to correspond with, there is no test to see whether it is true. At some stage it has to point to something that is not relative to prove its truthfulness, but since it can’t, then relativism cannot be true.

In writing about relativism, Cornish states that in these postmodern days “Truth is no longer considered the same for all persons, at all times, in all places. Pick your own truth; one version is as good as the next.”[10]

Ironically and without realizing it, every time a relativist says “there is no such thing as absolute truth,” for that moment he has stopped being a relativist because for that moment he has believed in absolute truth. Every time they argue their position, they are arguing it from an absolute truth position, a position that they argue doesn’t exist.

[6] J P Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997), 146.
[7] Norman Geisler & Joseph Holden, Living Loud: Defending Your Faith (Broadman & Holman: Nashville, 2002), p. 33.
[8] Ibid., p. 32.
[9] Ibid., p. 34.
[10] Rick Cornish, 5 Minute Apologist Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2005), p. 31.

Exploring Different Philosophies About Truth (Part 1)


Agnosticism claims that neither truth nor God can be known. They don’t necessarily deny that either exists, they only deny that either can be known. There are several problems with this philosophy about truth:

(1) It is a self-destructive argument. One who holds to this philosophy fails to realize that he already possesses some knowledge about truth and God, i.e. that God and/or truth can’t be known. If agnostics are right, they would not be able to make such a statement because it contains knowledge about God. If we cannot know God, then how is it that we know we cannot know God since knowledge about God is implied in such a statement? Clearly, we would have to know something about God to know that He is unknowable.

(2) “Truth cannot be known by man,” is that a truth statement? In other words, if I am an agnostic and I believe I can’t know truth, then how do I know that what I am saying and what I believe (agnosticism) is true? Ironically, agnostics claim truth cannot be known by using truth statements.

(3) “Neither truth nor God can be known” is a negative statement. As Geisler states, “Remember, every negative statement presupposes positive knowledge.”[4] By making a negative statement about truth or God, the agnostic presupposes truth about both God and truth. For example, if I tell you that your car is not blue, by making a negative statement about the color of the car, it is presupposed that I actually do have a positive knowledge about the actual color of the car. If I didn’t, then why would I make the negative statement in the first place?


Moreland writes, “Scientism is the view that science is the only paradigm of truth and rationality. If something does not square with currently well-established scientific beliefs, if it is not within the domain of things appropriate for scientific investigation, or if it is not amenable to scientific methodology, then it is not true or rational. Everything outside of science is a matter of mere belief and subjective opinion, of which rational assessment is impossible. Science, exclusively and ideally, is our model of intellectual excellence.”[5]

Scientism holds that the most authoritative and valuable area, in terms of human learning, is science. There are also those within scientism who go as far as to say that there is no truth apart from scientific truth. As far as scientism is concerned, any other intellectual activities are considered and regarded as inferior to science. Nothing should be regarded as true, in fact, it should be regarded as irrational, if science cannot verify it or at least shed some light on it. There are a few problems with scientism:

(1) Scientism refutes itself. Scientism claims that only scientific propositions are true and rational. The curious thing is that it uses a philosophical argument to make its claims, rather than verified scientific propositions. So nothing is true unless science can verify it except the philosophical non-scientific statements they make. How ludicrous! Scientism’s (a non-verified and non-verifiable for that matter) claim is true, but no other such claim is. How can scientism be true when it uses a self-refuting proposition to make its case?

(2) Scientism is no friend of science but rather its foe because the very task of stating and defending the very propositions for science, as stated previously, are philosophical ones. In other words, “neither the propositions themselves nor their defense are a scientific matter”[6]. Scientism states that only its claims are true and rational (a philosophical proposition) yet such claims are not proven scientifically. Their whole argument rests on philosophical propositions rather than on scientific proof, therefore, science itself is undermined by the very arguments of scientism.

(3) If there is no truth outside of scientific truth, how then do we reconcile the fact that there is the existence of true and rationally justified beliefs outside of science? For example, “beating senior citizens is wrong.”

[4] Norman Geisler & Joseph Holden, Living Loud: Defending Your Faith (Broadman & Holman: Nashville, 2002), p. 32.
[5] J P Moreland, Love Your God With All Your Mind (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 1997), 144.

The Truth About the Truth

What is Truth?

“What is truth?”[1] This question was asked by a man named Pilate about two thousand years ago. Two thousand years later, this question is still being asked by many, even by many within the Church. Why? Because TRUTH itself has once again come under attack, to the extent that, all who have adopted the various false philosophies about truth being propagated in our growing liberal society today, now deny the very existence of absolute truth. Not only have they adopted for themselves these philosophies, but they propagate them, and in fact, they have been quite successful in doing so. National polls show that an incredibly large number of freshmen college students, Christian students included, when surveyed, state that they don’t believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth.

Why bother with this discussion? Does it really matter whether there is or isn’t such a thing as absolute truth? It does, because truth is foundational for the survival of society itself. If we allow ourselves to be convinced that absolute truth doesn’t exist and start living out that belief, we ourselves will be to blame for the collapse of society and history will once again show the error of our ways.

In this series of articles, among other things, we will define what truth is and discuss some of the erroneous views of truth that are held and propagated in the world today, and how truth can be known.

Defining Truth

Geisler states, “Truth is an expression, symbol, or statement that matches or corresponds to its object or referent (i.e., that to which it refers, whether it is an abstract idea or a concrete thing).”[2]

Nash states, “Truth is a property of propositions that correspond to the way things are…Truth…is objective, that is, is independent of human preference and desire. Our feelings cannot alter or change truth.”[3]

Truth is that which corresponds or relates to reality as it actually is. If a statement anybody makes matches the facts and the evidence, then it equals truth. On the other hand, if a statement anybody makes does not match the facts and evidence, then it equals that which is false or a lie.

If I said that the Carolina Panthers beat the New England Patriots and won the Super Bowl in 2003; that would be a lie, because the facts and the evidence would disprove my statement. Now, the fact that I wanted them to win and feel they should have won doesn’t change the fact that they lost. Instead, if I state that the Carolina Panthers made it to the Super Bowl in 2003 and gave the New England Patriots a run for their money; that would be true, for the facts and the evidence would demonstrate that. The latter statement corresponds and matches to the way things are, it relates to reality.

[1] John 18:38.
[2] Norman Geisler & Peter Bocchino, Unshakable Foundation (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 2001), p. 33.
[3] Ronald H. Nash, Life’s Ultimate Question: An Introduction to Philosophy (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), p. 228.