(Read the series so far.)
Last time I asked whether the facts speak for themselves. My answer was that they do not, they are freighted with interpretations, whether right or wrong. In Part Seven I called attention to the temptation of attaching ourselves to slogans and ideas from the world. Before proceeding along the lines I started with in the last post, I want first to take two common but deadly slogans which Christians use and look at them, for though they sound alright, they have been the cause of much confusion among Christians. The phrase I have in mind today is “All Truth is God’s Truth.”
Misusing a Slogan to Place Man’s Authority above God’s Word
We have come as far as seeing the importance of embracing the Truth, not for our sake primarily, but for its own sake—because it is an attribute of God. An accurate view of Truth is essential to a correct Christian Worldview, and a correct Christian Worldview is necessary for the defense of Christianity. Thus, a clear idea of the character of Truth is of the utmost importance for our children to understand, and this motto, “All Truth is God’s Truth” requires careful handling.
For some people—and that number sadly includes some Christian apologists—the slogan could be paraphrased as, “All that the experts call truth is God’s truth.”
In such a scenario it ought to be clear that it is not what God says that is of first importance, but human estimations and perceptions of what is true that matters. We think it’s true so we lumber God with it. Then it is easy to pronounce the Big Bang as God’s truth, or theistic evolution (which is rearing its ugly head again!), or the most recent “findings” of archaeologists or Semitic experts, whether they believe the Bible or not. What this approach asserts is that we decide what is true and then piously say that God did it. This will not do.
A Use of the Slogan Which Gives the Glory to God
So is there another view? There is. It interprets “All Truth is God’s Truth” within the strict parameters of the Bible. A paraphrase of this position would be, “All that really is true according to Scripture comes from the God of Truth.”
This way of looking at it comports well with the authority we are all supposed to be under: the authority of Scripture. It automatically has no truck with human assessments of truth, which are always changing anyway. What is true and what is not true is not ours to decide about. Our opinion, or the opinions of those we esteem and listen to are irrelevant if they cross what God says about it in the Bible.
What I am saying is that if the phrase “All Truth is God’s Truth” is to be of any acceptable use to us it has to bear a meaning which we can take to God as in agreement with His Word. We must not let our kids leave our homes with the slippery notion that we can decide what is true and then expect the Lord to place His Divine imprimatur on our assessment.
In the next piece I want to examine another oft-used but dangerous saying which I have encountered in Christian literature. It is the slogan, “The Bible tells us how to go to heaven; science tells us how the heavens go.”
Paul Martin Henebury is a native of Manchester, England and a graduate of London Theological Seminary and Tyndale Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). He has been a Church-planter, pastor and a professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics. He was also editor of the Conservative Theological Journal (suggesting its new name, Journal of Dispensational Theology, prior to leaving that post). He is now the President of Telos School of Theology.