Truth in a Wikipedia world

Dr. Darrell Tate

“For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (III John 1:3 -4)

Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that contains over 10 million articles in over 250 different languages. Everyday thousands of people visit Wikipedia to find information on a variety of subjects. However, Wikipedia is considered to be an unreliable source. Works cited from Wikipedia are not accepted in formal papers because anyone with Internet access can log on to the website and add their own views or edit the content thereby undermining its credibility. The word “wiki” has been backronymed to mean, “What I Know Is.” It has an element of truth but is often mixed with error. The frightening aspect of an unreliable source is the difficulty of recognizing where the truth stops and error begins. So it is in life.

Today we find ourselves living in a Wikipedia world that believes truth is relative rather than absolute. Humanist John Dewey co-author and signer of the Humanist Manifesto 1 declared, “There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.”

On the night of Jesus’ trial Pilate asks the sobering question, “What is truth?” Perhaps there has never been a search that has lasted longer nor produced more incorrect answers than the search for truth. Abraham Lincoln once said, “How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four; calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.” In this Wikipedia world where truth is relative and situational ethics abound can absolute truth be found? Absolutely! All truth is God’s truth. God’s truth transcends culture, climate and conditions. God’s truth is not edited, revised or amended.

Secular progressivism elevates man’s truth, which itself is an oxymoron, over God’s truth.

The backwash of replacing God with self is a culture that has lost its way and given birth to a hyper sensitive philosophy where everyone is offended about something because, “their truth” has been insulted. The Old Testament book of Judges speaks to the problem of situational ethics and says, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The cultural upheaval that ensued resulted from the confusion over right and wrong. What one person thought to be right another thought it to be wrong and vice -versa. A rejection of absolute truth was the root and chaos was the fruit.

God’s people are called and identified by truth. As followers of Christ we live in the realm of Divine truth. All that we do, all that think, all that we live and all that we say is to be rooted not in situational truth but God’s absolute truth. Walking in God’s truth is evidence that our lives have been transformed by the power of Christ living within us. If you walk in the truth, love will be a byproduct. There is a love that Christians share that goes beyond personal acquaintance or longtime friendships. We are a family that is held together by the common truth of the gospel. Our affection, our sympathy, our care, our compassion and our concern for each other is experienced because we are tied together in the truth. It is God’s truth that produces this love.

Within the little book of III John the word truth is used seven times in only fourteen verses. The emphasis is walking, living and abiding in the truth of God. He affirms the importance of bearing witness to truth, of walking in truth, of being fellow workers with the truth, of receiving a good testimony from the truth. At the foundation of life is God’s truth. That’s why John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” God is the God of truth. According to Deuteronomy 32:4, God is the source of truth. Christ is the truth John 14. Christ is full of truth John 1. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of truth in John 14:7. The Bible is called in the Scripture of truth in Daniel 10. We are saved by the truth. We are sanctified by the truth. We are judged by the truth. We are set free by the truth. We worship in the truth. We serve God in the truth. We rejoice in the truth. We speak the truth. We think on the truth. We desire the truth. We hear the truth. We obey the truth. Most comprehensively, we walk in the truth. As Christians our lives are characterized by the truth. Truth determines how we think and how we speak and how we act.

In a Wikipedia World where much of the news and information is unreliable it is reassuring to know that God’s truth is always reliable, trustworthy and immutable. The truth is God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die on a cross that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.

Dr. Darrell Tate is minister at Highland Park Baptist Church.

Dr. Darrell Tate

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