I have no idea how many times I’ve read and reread the entire book of John, but I’m not sure that I ever really took notice of Pilate’s remark in John 18:38 before now. After Pilate asks Jesus if he is a king, Jesus replies: “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
Pilate’s replied: “What is truth?”
It immediately made me think of the dangerous postmodernism that infects not only secular culture, but far too many Christian churches (especially emergent churches).
According to a 2006 Christianity Today article by Charles Colson, Barna research found that 63 percent of Americans do not believe in truth. Even more troubling, neither did 53 percent of evangelicals. And that was six years ago. My guess is the percentage has dropped. (If anyone has seen more recent stats PLEASE send them my way!)
The Bible proclaims itself to be truth, and as Jesus specifically proclaimed himself to be “The Way, the Truth and the Life.” Sadly, the truth of Scripture gets put down by many people who call themselves Christians today. Some times it is put down with words, like those of self-proclaimed Christians who put down doctrine like Brian McClaren who has said “None of us has arrived at orthodoxy” or Rob Bell who wants to “embrace mystery, rather than conquer it” when it comes to understanding the Bible. Like Pilate, many scorn the notion of the existence of absolute truth or at the very least its knowability.
Others deny the truth with their deeds by choosing pragmatism over what the Bible says or by changing the message of God’s word in order to “attract” people to do it.
In his book The Truth War, Dr. John MacArthur condemns this postmodern disdain for truth that claims that “Christian messages should be kept pliable and ambiguous…” He explains, “that is not authentic Christianity. Not knowing what you believe (especially on a matter as essential to Christianity as the gospel) is by definition a kind of unbelief. Refusing to acknowledge and defend the revealed truth of God is a particularly stubborn and pernicious kind of unbelief.”
If you haven’t read The Truth War I highly, highly recommend it. MacArthur makes the case for truth as well as the necessity of defending truth and I personally think it is a must read for every believer.