The first official day of the Lausanne Congress began with a declaration of the truthfulness of truth and the truthfulness of Jesus Christ.
Our setting differs from earlier moderns, the speakers said. They merely had to address questions on the content of truth. We not only have to address this question, but also the issue of the very nature of truth. We have a double challenge, and it gets precarious when those in the church begin to draw back from speaking about truth.
Delegates today heard three speakers warn about the perils of denying truth. Carver Yu, President of China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong, Machael Herbst, German professor of the University of Greifswald, and American evangelical sociologist Os Guinness. All made a strong appeal. But it was Guinness who brought the theme to a crescendo. He said, “If we do not stand for truth, the congress might as well stop. Jesus is the way the truth and the life.”
Guinness spoke about why truth matters. “Only a high view of truth honors the God of truth. He is the true one whose covenant loyalty may be trusted.”
“Those who weaken their hold on truth weaken their hold on God. The record of Scripture shows us that there are three main reasons why we believe. We come to faith in Christ driven by human need. He (Christ) seeks for us and finds us. We come to faith in Christ and we find the claims of the gospel are true. It is because of truth that our faith in God is not irrational, emotional, a psychological projection weapon, wish fulfillment or the opiate of the masses. Only a high view of truth keeps us on track. Skeptics and relativists undermine truth. Without truth science and all human knowledge would collapse into conjecture. Without truth the worlds of politics and business result in power games.”
Guinness went on to say that Western skeptics, “in denying truth, actually cut off the branch on which they sit. Because without truth, science and all human knowledge collapses.”
“We as followers of Christ must be guardians of truth. Only a high view of truth undergirds our defense of the faith all truth is God’s truth.”
“All humans are not only truth seekers. Our stand for truth must stand in the church itself. We must not downplay truth for methodology, truth as entertainment or seeker sensitivity, nor must we place modern and revisionist views of truth in place of the biblical view.”
Guinness added, “Only a high view of truth is sufficient to counter evil and the lies of our age.”
He explained, “Post modern thinking is occurring with global expansions of markets and freedom, technology and human dysfunction we are facing the greatest human rights crisis of all time. Hypocrisy and evil always use lies to cover oppression. Only a high view of truth can stop this.”
“All sectarianisms lead to a weak and compromised faith. To abandon truth is to……. commit theological adultery leading to spiritual suicide. Let the sorry fate of Protestant liberalism be a stern warning to us all.”
He continued: “Shame on those Western Christians who casually neglect or scornfully deny what the scriptures defend and what many brothers and sisters would rather die [for] than deny – that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life.”
And so all the speakers said we must radically differ from those who say there is no singular truth. We must affirm the truthfulness of truth, and the truthfulness of Jesus.
And if in fact we do believe in the truthfulness of Jesus, if we really do believe he is the savior of the world, then keeping this truth to ourselves is implausible!