Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | October 18, 2014

October 18, 2014 “”Exclusive or All-Inclusive?”

“Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. 32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8: 31-32)

Good Morning My Friends in Christ!

As a philosophy major at Grove City College in Pennsylvania in the early 1970’s, I remember lively classroom discussions regarding the nature and the definition of truth. Perhaps someone has said to you at one time or another, “Well, that may be true for you, but not for me.” Of course, what the person is really saying is “You’re wrong!”, for it is contradictory to say that a belief can be true and not be true at the same time, even from different perspectives.  You may sincerely believe in the supposed factual nature of something, only later to discover the error of your thinking. Truth is absolute. I remember one class where a student took umbrage with the statement “truth is absolute”, trying to argue that “Nothing is absolute…everything is relative”, meaning that truth is defined not by some absolute certainty, but by particular circumstances. The wise professor then asked the student, “Are you sure about that?” The student answered, “Absolutely!“thereby contradicting his own previous statement regarding the nature of truth. Realizing the untenable nature of his argument, the student then responded, “Everything is relative except the statement ‘everything is relative.”  The professor again responded, “Are you absolutely sure about that?” The student wisely acknowledged that his heretofore held position of universal relativity could not be logically defended and he sat down.

Truth, by definition, is absolute. So when we hear Jesus call himself the very embodiment of truth itself, we must not be cavalier regarding such an audacious claim. In John’s gospel, Jesus’ definition of true discipleship is faithful adherence to his teachings, and one of those teachings is his claim of being “The way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) There is no ambiguity whatsoever in Jesus’ claim. This means that he either is all he claims to be, or he is not, for these claims are absolute. These claims are not merely true for believers in Christ, but for all people. Believers are set free by the truth. Non-believers are ensnared, just as that student in philosophy class was ensnared by the fallacious argument he advanced. Christian author Walter Martin saw it like this:

“Truth by definition is exclusive. If truth were all-inclusive, nothing would be false.”

Not everything is true, no matter how fervent the belief one holds in something happens to be. If everything were true, we would live in a chaotic, contradictory world without moral restrictions of any kind whatsoever. By its very definition, truth is exclusive, not all-inclusive. Sometimes, as was the case of Pontius Pilate, we may ask “What is truth?” Ironically, it may be standing right before your eyes. Truth has a name. Truth has a nature. Truth has a body. What is truth? Jesus Christ is its name, its nature, and its body. Come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Let’s pray!

God of all Truth; I acknowledge that there is nothing on earth or in heaven that surpasses your holiness, your glory, or your greatness. You are Truth. Set my heart free as I learn more of you and remain faithful to your teachings. This I pray in the Name of Jesus, the way, the truth, and the life. Amen!

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