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Where Is the Truth?

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Modern society rejects the idea of absolute Truth. This God-rejecting approach is not new. For it was the standard approach to unbiased reasoning exemplified 2,000 years ago by Pontius Pilate.

As a young man, I was guided by God to a place where the full Truth was being taught. A quiet realization came over each of us in this place that we really did understand God's way for mankind. We knew that we were not perfect—not any "better" humanly than others—but that God had opened our minds to understand and to obey what the Bible really said. We began to understand the concept of getting back to the full Truth of the message and way of life that Jesus Christ and the original Apostles actually taught and lived. It was a way of life.

When new members came along, we would discuss with them—and with each other—how each of us "came into the Truth." Understanding and practicing the full Truth of what the Bible said was the main theme of our little organization in those days.

Yet modern society rejects the idea of absolute Truth. This God-rejecting approach is not new. For it was the standard approach to unbiased reasoning exemplified 2,000 years ago by Pontius Pilate. In answering Pilate's question about His kingdom, Jesus said: "'You say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.' Pilate said to Him, 'What is truth?' And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, 'I find no fault in Him at all'" (John 18:37–38). Though millions of professing Christians say they get their religion from the Bible, most will vigorously resent any clearly proven biblical Truth that contradicts what their church, their society or their family believes. Perhaps without realizing it they are echoing Stephen Decatur's words of human patriotism: "Our country right or wrong!"

But when you are dealing with a genuine Spirit Personality who is the supreme God—and your eternal life is at stake—does this arrogant "my church right or wrong" approach to truth make any sense? Are we trying to force the omnipotent Creator to declare that all ideas and all religions are "equal"—even if they totally contradict what His inspired Word says?

The "key" is whether you and I genuinely believe that the book we call the Bible was literally inspired by the true God—the Lord and Giver of life. If you will sincerely accept this basic premise, then, yes, there is objective spiritual Truth! That powerful Truth can be clearly demonstrated from the pages of the Holy Bible. And you will find that the Bible does not contradict itself. And each challenge to this observation can be refuted objectively. Yet, for most professing Christians, the clear statement of Jesus Christ should be enough regarding the so-called "contradictions" in the Bible. For Jesus said: "The scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:35).

This is the foundation upon which the editors and writers of Tomorrow's World depend. This is the starting point of our thinking and our approach to any topic. The Bible really does have authority. In the Bible, "God says what He means and means what He says." No "funny stuff" allowed. No "word games" to evade clear biblical instructions or examples!

In other words, we at Tomorrow's World literally believe what the Apostle Paul wrote: "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

We know that when Jesus Christ said that man "shall not live by bread alone but by every word of God" (Luke 4:4), the only written Word of God extant at that time was what we call the Old Testament. So as Christ magnified and built upon the foundation of the Old Testament in His inspired teachings, we feel bound to obey these teachings as best we can through the help of the Holy Spirit. We also feel bound to follow the clear examples of Christ and the original Apostles in the way that they served and worshiped God.

"But don't all Christian churches believe that same approach to religious Truth?" you may ask.

No! They absolutely do not. Most churches very "loosely" interpret the Bible—and mix in with its teachings much human "tradition," and ideas and practices that are totally opposite those of Christ and original Christianity. Roman Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants alike do this. All serious scholars and students of religion realize and acknowledge this. As Jesse Lyman Hurlbut—a "mainstream" religious writer—acknowledged in his book, The Story of the Christian Church: "For fifty years after St. Paul's life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church-fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul" (p. 41; emphasis ours).

A current example of "mainstream" religion's approach to Truth is found in the recent book by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Garry Wills. In his latest book, Why I Am a Catholic, he states the following: "Abusing young innocence is not only a crime, but a particularly vile crime. And the long and energetic effort of the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy to cover up cases of priestly pedophilia is a crime added to a crime. Are the church authorities who did this moral monsters? What could have been their motive?… First, the papacy is a deeply flawed institution. Saying so is considered by some Catholics to be disloyal. Apparently they believe that the only real Catholic is one able and willing to deny a long history of abuses and corruption.… But, one may object, if the papacy is not the supreme and unerring teacher of eternal truths, what is its principle of continuity through all the disjunctions and dead ends of its past? The papacy, in fact, is the sacrament of the unity of the church. The church gathers around the papacy, and supplies the resources for its rebirth and continued life. And, gathered there, the Catholic Church has been highly successful in preserving the great truths of its creed."

Note, especially, Mr. Wills' last phrase: "the great truths of its creed."

As with most fundamental errors, Garry Wills' failure to understand the Truth is based upon a fundamental premise carelessly assumed and taken for granted! In his case, it has apparently not occurred to Mr. Wills to question the unbiblical teachings of his church regarding the papacy, the worship of the Virgin Mary, the entire concept of "penance" rather than genuine repentance, and a whole host of doctrines, practices and beliefs which stand in total contradiction to everything Jesus Christ and the Apostles taught and did.

Of course, the Catholic theology is at least somewhat consistent in all of this, because it teaches the doctrine of "papal infallibility"—which in effect presumes that this church somehow has the "right" to change biblical doctrines and practices as it goes along.

But millions of Protestants carelessly assume that their churches and their theology have been based upon what the Bible actually says. They could not be more wrong! For, as the above quotation from Hurlbut clearly points out, "mainstream" Christianity—Protestant and Catholic alike—has vastly deviated from the original teachings and practices of Christ and His Apostles. The original Protestant "reformer," Martin Luther, was ordained a Catholic priest. All his life he had been trained as a Catholic. So he assumed that the selling of papal "indulgences" and other immoral practices he observed were merely the result of "the true church gone off track." Luther at first attempted to get the church back "on track," until events induced him to start a different religious movement. Even then, he assumed that most Catholic doctrines were correct, such as the substitution of the "Day of the Sun" for God's Sabbath, the celebration of pagan holidays instead of God's Holy Days, the adoption of the "Trinity" idea from paganism, and—most important of all—the fundamental idea that the great spiritual law of the Creator, the Ten Commandments, did not need to be kept and obeyed fully.

That is why, for instance, Martin Luther countenanced the wholesale slaughter of the German peasants who eventually "went too far" in opposing the oppressive German princes who were also supporting Luther's movement. This is a fact of history!

Henry Vedder, in his highly respected work, A Short History of the Baptists, quotes the writings of Martin Luther directed against a peasant uprising: "Rebellion is not a vile murder, but like a great fire that kindles and devastates a country; hence uproar carries with it a land full of murder, bloodshed, makes widows and orphans, and destroys everything, like the greatest calamity. Therefore whosoever can should smite, strangle, and stab, secretly or publicly, and should remember that there is nothing more poisonous, pernicious, and devilish than a rebellious man. Just as when one must slay a mad dog; fight him not and he will fight you, and a whole country with you.… Such wonderful times are these that a prince can more easily win heaven by shedding blood than others with prayers" (pp. 173–174; emphasis ours).

Well may we ask ourselves: "If these are the words of a reformer sent from God, then what is the measure of true religion?" Are these the words of a man directed by the Holy Spirit of God? Was the risen Christ using this man to purify His "little flock?"

Scholar after scholar acknowledges that "the Church"—meaning the mainstream development of professing Christianity—has never seriously attempted to follow the literal example of Christ and the Apostles. As Professor Rufus M. Jones points out in his landmark book, The Church's Debt to Heretics: "If by any chance Christ Himself had been taken by His later followers as the model and pattern of the new way, and a serious attempt had been made to set up His life and teaching as the standard and norm for the Church, Christianity would have been something vastly different from what it became. Then 'heresy' would have been as it is not now, deviation from His way, His teaching, His spirit, His kingdom.… What we may properly call 'Galilean Christianity' had a short life, though there have been notable attempts to revive it and make it live again, and here and there spiritual prophets have insisted that anything else other than this simple Galilean religion is 'heresy'; but the main line of historic development has taken a different course and has marked the emphasis very differently" (pp. 15–16; emphasis ours).

According to the Bible, Jesus Christ was the "light" that God sent into the world. Christians are supposed to follow that light! The Apostle Peter wrote that Christ left us "an example that you should follow His steps" (1 Peter 2:21). The Apostle Paul instructed the Church: "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). And the beloved Apostle John tells us: "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:4–6). In His teachings and in His perfect example, Jesus Christ exemplified the Truth. Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).

If you are genuinely interested in finding the "little flock"—the true Church of God that Jesus founded—please get in touch with us. If you are interested in finding an organization that truly seeks to find and to live by the Truth, then take the time to write for and study the Tomorrow's World Bible Study Course.

Without fear or favor we will pursue the Truth. We will no doubt be severely persecuted in years to come for this. But following the ultimate Truth will bring us genuine blessings and peace of mind in this life—and eternal life in tomorrow's world. Jesus said: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32).

Each of us can be "free" from human tradition and error. And we can be "free" from the frustration and emptiness and sense of guilt resulting from the shackles of sin and superstition if we have the courage to accept and to live by the full Truth. Do not be afraid of Truth! For as this deceived and violent civilization comes to an end, and Christ's Kingdom is established over all the earth, those who have been willing to follow the real Truth will be blessed above all men.

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