Tim Throckmorton: The truth is the truth and nothing but the truth

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 19, 2023

In Webster’s 1828 dictionary’s definition of truth we find, “Conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value.”

Today’s Merriam Webster’s definition includes, “the truth: the real facts about something: the things that are true, the quality or state of being true, a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true.”

Just ask Siri for the definition of truth and she’ll point you quickly to Wikipedia which kicks open the door to a number of opinions in a postmodern world that denies that truth can be known.

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Truth is not simply whatever works; Truth is not what makes people feel good.

Truth is not what the majority says is true.

Fifty-one percent of a group can reach a wrong conclusion. Truth is not defined by what is intended. Good intentions can still be wrong.

Truth is not simply what is believed. A lie believed is still a lie.

Great care should be applied to handling the truth.

I believe it was Sir Winston Churchill who said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”

A common complaint against the claim of absolute truth in matters of faith and religion is that such a stance is “narrow minded” or that it is arrogant to claim that someone is right and another person is wrong.

Yet another protest against truth is that it is offensive and divisive to claim one has the truth. Instead, the critic argues, all that matters is sincerity. The problem with this position is that truth is immune to sincerity.

The fact is that truth is unaffected by sincerity. Someone who picks up a bottle of poison and sincerely believes it is lemonade will still suffer the unfortunate effects of the poison.

Finally, truth cares nothing of desire.

A person may strongly desire that his car has not run out of gas, but if the gauge says the tank is empty and the car will not run any farther, then no desire in the world will miraculously cause the car to keep going.

As Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once shared, “The fact is, the truth matters … especially when you’re on the receiving end of a lie.”

And nowhere is this more important than in the area of faith and religion. Eternity is an awfully long time to be wrong! Truth today in America is perhaps our greatest need.

This week, Dr. Tony Evans pointed to 2 Chronicles 15 where the Bible says that the nation of Israel had been in a spiritual departure from God and there was no peace in the land.

The scriptures say, “for God troubled them with every kind of distress.”

Dr. Evans goes on to say, “If God is your problem, it doesn’t matter what kind of programs you put in place for if God is your problem, only God is your solution!”

The needs of our nation today are not economic or political. The greatest need of our land cannot be fixed from Washington, D.C. or Wall Street. The most important need of America today is first and foremost a spiritual need!

At the Constitutional Convention of 1787 Benjamin Franklin spoke up… “Mr. President, the small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other, our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ayes, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding… In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor… And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?”

Paul to the church in Ephesus writes, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.