What is it that makes truth, truth? In John 8:32, Jesus said that we would know the the “truth” that it would make us free. Part of the idea of truth is conforming to fact, being accurate and well, being truthful. Yet, what I am finding is that, at least, the pursuit of truth is anything but freeing. It can be quite cumbersome and binding in many respects. At least for me.
In my discipleship journey, I am having occasion to stop at many different venues to explore methodologies and curriculum used in discipling people. I am also putting in to practice some of these principles myself. Consequently, I am learning things that are quite interesting. One is primarily that of Bible study.
When it comes to the study of scripture and doctrines related to scripture, or the “church” for that matter, often discipleship programs script the curriculum. The goal is to actually teach people what they should believe, not so much how how to study the scripture for themselves – how to discover truth for themselves. This of course does two things; it perpetuates the internal “faith” and it prevents people from asking too many questions.
I am watching this in action at the church we are attending now. It’s a PCA church. Not that PCA is a bad thing. However, in the discipleship class, which is also a leadership class, it is pretty well a “this is what you shall believe” class. I may be the only vocal decenter in the group. That does not mean I do not agree with what is being taught, it just means I have serious questions and there are other options. Options that may be “true”.
Nevertheless, our teacher is like everyone else, when you hear something long enough, loud enough, and spoken by people you trust, you believe it and pass it along as truth. All disciplines do it. We see it in government with welfare or healthcare issues; in our schools with the perpetuation of the Darwin myth; in science with misinformation about global warming, etc. All have elements of truth, but none may be true. And yes, the church is the same way.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life…” (Jn. 14:6) And God desires “all people to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Tim. 2:4) So, without stealing Pilate’s thunder, “what is truth?”