Truth seems to be in short supply in our world today, even in our beloved nation. That is unfortunate, because while our wonderful Lord is the truth (John 14:6), Satan is a liar and the father of lies. He told Eve a lie in the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:4), and the great prevaricator has been bearing false witness and inspiring others to do likewise since the dawn of creation.
The prophet Isaiah declared that justice, righteousness, and honesty are in peril when truth has fallen in the public square (Isaiah 59:14). The examples of this happening in America are innumerable.
In Isaiah 59: the prophet declares. “…your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.” There was a disregard for truth. America has become a land of pathological liars, perjured testimonies, political cover-ups, fake news, doctored resumes, falsified research, artificial information, and calculated misinformation. In fact, James Stewart came out with a book several years ago entitled: Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America.
You see, the major battle that is taking place in our world today is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between capitalism and socialism. It is not a battle between conservatism and liberalism. It is not a battle between Marxism and materialism. It is not a battle between male dominance and feminism. It is not a battle between creationism and evolution. It is not a battle between nationalism and anarchy. The real battle in our world today is between truth and error, a battle between light and darkness.
Several years ago, Andy Andrews wrote a book entitled “How Do You Kill 11 Million People?” He was referring to the mass destruction of life that accompanied Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in Nazi Germany. Andrews responded to his own question by stating, “The answer is breathtakingly simple. And it is a method still being used by some elected leaders to achieve various goals today – Lie to Them.”
In Andrew’s book he quotes Adolph Hitler who said, “How fortunate for leaders that men do not think. Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.
Today we have politicians who dissimulate, teachers who indoctrinate, news analysts who equivocate, Internet scammers who prevaricate, and even some preachers who tergiversate.
Andrews explained, “It is important for us to know the truth, because it matters far more than most people think.”
Even before the Old Testament was completed Herodotus, commonly known as the author of the first great narrative history produced in the ancient world, emphasized the importance of truth. Herodotus’ expansive work was ultimately divided into nine books. In the first book, this astute historian tells us that from the age of five to the age of twenty, the ancient Persians instructed their children only in three things: (1) how to manage a horse, (2) how to effectively use a bow and arrow, (3) and to be diligent and responsible in always speaking the truth.
The Psalmist wrote, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and all Your righteousness judgments endure forever” (Psalm 119:160).
David prayed, “Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Psalm 25:5).
Jesus declared Himself to be the truth; and in John 8:32 our Lord said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
C.S. Lewis, the great Christian apologist commented, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.”
Why did God give us a Bible? So, we can know the word of truth. Why did God send the Holy Spirit? So, we can experience the Spirit of truth. Why did God give us the church? So, we could be the “pillar and ground of truth.” Why did God give us Jesus? So, everyone can know “the way, the truth and the life!”
Truth is the only tool that can set us free from a diet of deception, a web of wickedness and a future of chaos. With truth we can preach, teach, and bleach America clean again!
Truthful, anointed preaching is an absolute necessity in the pulpits of America today. The Bible says: “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle” (I Corinthians 14:8)?
As I reflect on this past Sunday, I am eternally grateful that well-conceived, carefully prepared, Holy Spirit-anointed, God-honoring sermons full of truth and power were proclaimed from thousands of churches across our land – many of them delivered by Georgia Baptist pastors. I am convinced that these pastors and churches can become the catalysts for another great awakening in America, and that is my fervent prayer.
J. Gerald Harris is a retired pastor and journalist who served as editor of The Christian Index for nearly two decades.