Editorial: Guard the Gospel of Truth -- By: Stephen J. Wellum

Journal: Southern Baptist Journal of Theology
Volume: SBJT 07:3 (Fall 2003)
Article: Editorial: Guard the Gospel of Truth
Author: Stephen J. Wellum


Editorial: Guard the Gospel of Truth

Stephen J. Wellum

Stephen J. Wellum is Associate Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Wellum received his Ph.D. degree in theology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and has also taught theology at the Associated Canadian Theological Schools and Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary in Canada. He has contributed to several publications and a collection of essays on theology and worldview issues.

It is safe to say that the issue of “truth” has fallen on hard times in our day. Living in what has been dubbed a “postmodern” culture, people are quite skeptical about the human ability to know the truth. In a self-conscious reaction to the modernism of the Enlightenment, post-modernism has rightly criticized modernism’s naïve confidence in human reason, science, and progress. However, in so doing, it has also declared that there is no such thing as objective and universal truth. Instead, truth is merely subjective, perspectival, and culturally conditioned; and, thus, we are told on every side that we must respect and tolerate everyone’s viewpoint as equal no matter what it may be. It is in this sense that “pluralism” is an offshoot of postmodernism since, as pluralism maintains, if there is no objective truth that may be discovered by human beings then who are we to say that our view is any better than any other perspective.

Of course, the implications of this mindset and attitude for the gospel and Christian ministry are staggering. If accepted, in the end, there is no gospel, at least in the biblical sense of the word. For at the heart of the good news is the fact that the God of creation, providence, and redemption has disclosed himself to us in a Word-revelation, and uniquely so, in the life, death, resurrection, and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ (see Heb 1:1–3), and that it is precisely for this reason that there is such a thing as objective and universal truth. Moreover, it is also for this very reason that we, as God’s people, must stand firm for the truth of the gospel in such a day as ours. We must not only declare the truth, we must also practice it in our daily lives, both at the individual and corporate level. We must hear afresh the words of the apostle Paul to Timothy--“Guard the gospel of truth” (see 1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 3:14–17; 4:2–5; Titus 2:1).

A helpful antidote to help the church avoid the relativistic tendencies of our postmodern age is the Pastoral Epistles. Of...

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