One Truth or Many ‘Versions of Truth’
by PASTOR MARK W. LOVE
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
As people who live with so much information and so much informed information provided by commentators and interpreters of anything and everything of our world, we are also a people left to decide whose version, interpretation and commentary of the facts are the truth. Our society today denies that there is one truth by which all things can be judged—there are only interpretations of it.
While this can be a hassle, many people like it because it allows them to pick and choose those “versions of truth” that permit them to have what they want. In short: “Getting or keeping what I want or think is right will determine what is ‘truth’ for me.” Variations of truth and the acceptance of them are both born of selfishness. We only have to go to Adam and Eve to see this one real truth. There was God’s truth and Satan’s “version of truth”—selfishness led them to accept the “version of truth,” which is NO truth at all, that gave them what they wanted.
Another important reason why we like to be able to pick and choose “versions of truth” is that the real and unyielding truth makes demands of us and it will always cost us something. Just as a person will adopt a certain “version of truth” to obtain something, this same person will also adopt the same or another “version of truth” to retain something. Consider the people who say, “It is such a big problem and I’m just one person, there is nothing I can do.” This “version of truth” allows them to obtain an excuse for their lack of participation, and it also allows them to retain their time, energy and money for their own use.
The unbeliever uses the “version of truth” that says “religion is all a matter of interpretation, there is no way to know the truth.” This “version of truth” provides the individual with a reason not to listen or study the Word of God, and it has also allowed him or her to retain his or her ungodly life.
In His high priestly prayer, Jesus asked God the Father to “sanctify them by the truth, your word is truth.” With these words, Jesus declared to all who would call themselves Christians, that God’s Word is truth for them in their lives. With this, the Christian has one real truth in God’s Word to guide and govern their lives.
Since this is the case, why is that so many Christians treat the Word of God as if it were a collection of “versions of truth” from which they can pick and choose? Answer: For the same reason they pick and choose from the “versions of truth” in the world—it enables them to obtain or retain something they want—something the real and whole truth of God will not allow them to have. It goes back to Adam and Eve: they exchanged the real and whole truth of God for a “version of truth” that would allow them to obtain something (wisdom and food) and still retain their life.
St. Paul explains why people exchange the one real and whole truth of God for other “versions of truth” in the beginning of Romans. “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather then the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen,” Romans 1:25.
Churches do the same thing. If standing by the one truth might offend or cause us to lose a member—alter it or twist it so that you can create a new version of it that won’t offend! This is called heresy. Such churches set aside that part of the Great Commission that says “teaching them everything I have commanded you.”
In the midst of the wholesale exchanging of the one and whole truth of God for “versions” of it, we find a clear direction through this evil, in the teaching of Jesus as He spoke to the woman at the well and to us. “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth , for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth,” John 4:23-24.
Jesus makes it clear to all who would call themselves Christian that there can be NO “versions of truth”; only the one truth of God. When Jesus was before Pilate, He told us how we can know whether we are dealing with the truth of God, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” The church or individual that listens only to the whole message of Jesus, from Genesis to Revelation, will always be on the side of the one real truth.
With these words to Pilate, Jesus tells us who is on the side of God’s truth: those that listen to Him. This is the way of faith for the individual or a church body, if they “rejoice with the truth,” I Cor. 13:6. It is not an easy course but it is one that is begun each day with the prayer of the Psalmist: “Into your hands I commit my spirit; redeem me, O Lord, the God of truth,” Psalms 31:5. May God grant us to listen to Him who is “the way and the truth and the life” for ”no one comes to the Father except by him,” John 14:6.