The Truth About Truth -- By: Vernon C. Grounds
JETS 38:2 (June 1995) p. 219
The Truth About Truth
While evangelicalism is a much disputed term, all of us who are willing (even eager) to be known as evangelicals adhere to the basic tenets of Biblical faith as they are spelled out in the great creedal confessions. That commitment entails a concern about the dilution of those essentials in the aberrant teachings of individuals and groups as they emerge on the cultural scene seeking to win adherents to their beliefs. We therefore endorse and support efforts to point out where those beliefs are misbeliefs that deviate from the norm of revelational truth. Polemical defense of traditional orthodoxy may not be our personal responsibility, but we are grateful for the work of scholars who are called to that ministry. We realize that any such ministry, no matter how graciously it is carried on, precipitates controversy. Indeed it is inescapably controversial because it is not simply a hairsplitting discussion about academic issues. It is spiritual warfare in which inexpressibly momentous issues are being debated. Sometimes the heretical deviation may seem trifling, but ultimately in the battle between truth and error the eternal destiny of human beings, God’s image-bearers, is at stake. Hence those prayerfully engaged in polemical ministry are agents of the Spirit of truth in his ceaseless struggle against the spirit of falsehood (1 John 4:1–6).
All of us, then, who hold to basic Biblical tenets are concerned about God’s truth. That means we share a unifying conviction about truth. With mind and heart we accept the self-assertion of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). We are unshakably persuaded, as Isaiah declares twice in chap. 65 of his prophecy, that God is “the God of truth.” We are persuaded as well that our Lord’s affirmation in John 17:17 applies to the entire Bible: “Your word is truth.” We are also persuaded that the Holy Spirit, who himself is truth, has come into the world for the express purpose of guiding us into an understanding of truth. So we take with utmost seriousness Paul’s charge in 2 Tim 2:15 that we “handle the word of truth correctly,” and we do this in order to lead our fellow sinners into a saving “knowledge of the truth” (v. 25).
It is utterly imperative, therefore, that we have a Biblical understanding of truth. How does Scripture answer Pilate’s well-known question, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). I have no intention of engaging in a lexical and exegetical study of OT and ...
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