Here Dr Bahnsen speaks on the myth of neutrality or the neutrality fallacy.
Here Dr Bahnsen speaks on the myth of neutrality or the neutrality fallacy.
Question: “Is there such a thing as absolute truth / universal truth?”
Answer: In order to understand absolute or universal truth, we must begin by defining truth. Truth, according to the dictionary, is “conformity to fact or actuality; a statement proven to be or accepted as true.” Some people would say that there is no true reality, only perceptions and opinions. Others would argue that there must be some absolute reality or truth.
One view says that there are no absolutes that define reality. Those who hold this view believe everything is relative to something else, and thus there can be no actual reality. Because of that, there are ultimately no moral absolutes, no authority for deciding if an action is positive or negative, right or wrong. This view leads to “situational ethics,” the belief that what is right or wrong is relative to the situation. There is no right or wrong; therefore, whatever feels or seems right at the time and in that situation is right. Of course, situational ethics leads to a subjective, “whatever feels good” mentality and lifestyle, which has a devastating effect on society and individuals. This is postmodernism, creating a society that regards all values, beliefs, lifestyles, and truth claims as equally valid.
The other view holds that there are indeed absolute realities and standards that define what is true and what is not. Therefore, actions can be determined to be either right or wrong by how they measure up to those absolute standards. If there are no absolutes, no reality, chaos ensues. Take the law of gravity, for instance. If it were not an absolute, we could not be certain we could stand or sit in one place until we decided to move. Or if two plus two did not always equal four, the effects on civilization would be disastrous. Laws of science and physics would be irrelevant, and commerce would be impossible. What a mess that would be! Thankfully, two plus two does equal four. There is absolute truth, and it can be found and understood.
To make the statement that there is no absolute truth is illogical. Yet, today, many people are embracing a cultural relativism that denies any type of absolute truth. A good question to ask people who say, “There is no absolute truth” is this: “Are you absolutely sure of that?” If they say “yes,” they have made an absolute statement—which itself implies the existence of absolutes. They are saying that the very fact there is no absolute truth is the one and only absolute truth.
Beside the problem of self-contradiction, there are several other logical problems one must overcome to believe that there are no absolute or universal truths. One is that all humans have limited knowledge and finite minds and, therefore, cannot logically make absolute negative statements. A person cannot logically say, “There is no God” (even though many do so), because, in order to make such a statement, he would need to have absolute knowledge of the entire universe from beginning to end. Since that is impossible, the most anyone can logically say is “With the limited knowledge I have, I do not believe there is a God.”
Another problem with the denial of absolute truth/universal truth is that it fails to live up to what we know to be true in our own consciences, our own experiences, and what we see in the real world. If there is no such thing as absolute truth, then there is nothing ultimately right or wrong about anything. What might be “right” for you does not mean it is “right” for me. While on the surface this type of relativism seems to be appealing, what it means is that everybody sets his own rules to live by and does what he thinks is right. Inevitably, one person’s sense of right will soon clash with another’s. What happens if it is “right” for me to ignore traffic lights, even when they are red? I put many lives at risk. Or I might think it is right to steal from you, and you might think it is not right. Clearly, our standards of right and wrong are in conflict. If there is no absolute truth, no standard of right and wrong that we are all accountable to, then we can never be sure of anything. People would be free to do whatever they want—murder, rape, steal, lie, cheat, etc., and no one could say those things would be wrong. There could be no government, no laws, and no justice, because one could not even say that the majority of the people have the right to make and enforce standards upon the minority. A world without absolutes would be the most horrible world imaginable.
From a spiritual standpoint, this type of relativism results in religious confusion, with no one true religion and no way of having a right relationship with God. All religions would therefore be false because they all make absolute claims regarding the afterlife. It is not uncommon today for people to believe that two diametrically opposed religions could both be equally “true,” even though both religions claim to have the only way to heaven or teach two totally opposite “truths.” People who do not believe in absolute truth ignore these claims and embrace a more tolerant universalism that teaches all religions are equal and all roads lead to heaven. People who embrace this worldview vehemently oppose evangelical Christians who believe the Bible when it says that Jesus is “the way, and the truth, and the life” and that He is the ultimate manifestation of truth and the only way one can get to heaven (John 14:6).
Tolerance has become the one cardinal virtue of the postmodern society, the one absolute, and, therefore, intolerance is the only evil. Any dogmatic belief—especially a belief in absolute truth—is viewed as intolerance, the ultimate sin. Those who deny absolute truth will often say that it is all right to believe what you want, as long as you do not try to impose your beliefs on others. But this view itself is a belief about what is right and wrong, and those who hold this view most definitely do try to impose it on others. They set up a standard of behavior which they insist others follow, thereby violating the very thing they claim to uphold—another self-contradicting position. Those who hold such a belief simply do not want to be accountable for their actions. If there is absolute truth, then there are absolute standards of right and wrong, and we are accountable to those standards. This accountability is what people are really rejecting when they reject absolute truth.
The denial of absolute truth/universal truth and the cultural relativism that comes with it are the logical result of a society that has embraced the theory of evolution as the explanation for life. If naturalistic evolution is true, then life has no meaning, we have no purpose, and there cannot be any absolute right or wrong. Man is then free to live as he pleases and is accountable to no one for his actions. Yet no matter how much sinful men deny the existence of God and absolute truth, they still will someday stand before Him in judgment. The Bible declares that “…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools” (Romans 1:19-22).
Is there any evidence for the existence of absolute truth? Yes. First, there is the human conscience, that certain “something” within us that tells us the world should be a certain way, that some things are right and some are wrong. Our conscience convinces us there is something wrong with suffering, starvation, rape, pain, and evil, and it makes us aware that love, generosity, compassion, and peace are positive things for which we should strive. This is universally true in all cultures in all times. The Bible describes the role of the human conscience in Romans 2:14-16: “Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them. This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”
The second evidence for the existence of absolute truth is science. Science is simply the pursuit of knowledge, the study of what we know and the quest to know more. Therefore, all scientific study must by necessity be founded upon the belief that there are objective realities existing in the world and these realities can be discovered and proven. Without absolutes, what would there be to study? How could one know that the findings of science are real? In fact, the very laws of science are founded on the existence of absolute truth.
The third evidence for the existence of absolute truth/universal truth is religion. All the religions of the world attempt to give meaning and definition to life. They are born out of mankind’s desire for something more than simple existence. Through religion, humans seek God, hope for the future, forgiveness of sins, peace in the midst of struggle, and answers to our deepest questions. Religion is really evidence that mankind is more than just a highly evolved animal. It is evidence of a higher purpose and of the existence of a personal and purposeful Creator who implanted in man the desire to know Him. And if there is indeed a Creator, then He becomes the standard for absolute truth, and it is His authority that establishes that truth.
Fortunately, there is such a Creator, and He has revealed His truth to us through His Word, the Bible. Knowing absolute truth/universal truth is only possible through a personal relationship with the One who claims to be the Truth—Jesus Christ. Jesus claimed to be the only way, the only truth, the only life and the only path to God (John 14:6). The fact that absolute truth does exist points us to the truth that there is a sovereign God who created the heavens and the earth and who has revealed Himself to us in order that we might know Him personally through His Son Jesus Christ. That is the absolute truth.
Recommended Resource: True Truth: Defending Absolute Truth in a Relativistic World by Art Lindsley
Out Of the Treasure of His Heart Tyson Fury Speaks
What do you care about? What drives you? What are you hungry for?
It’s easy to discover your heart, get very drunk. Drunks who I have met thus far over the festive season have exposed insecurity, frustrations and a self destructive nature.
Oh, you don’t want to get drunk! That’s an encouraging sign. You’ll have to adopt a different test. Where do you go to first to stimulate your senses? Is it current affairs, luxuries, social media? What motivated where you invested your time treasure and talent today?
Was it to repay a debt you furnished yourself with for the convenience of a decent car? Was it to accrue the funds to take a holiday where you can indulge your desire for sun, or maybe one of those annual gatherings of nominal Christian like New Wine? Maybe you’re are concerned for your dotage?
Tyson Fury seems to have invested his considerable time treasure and talent to the service of the Lord. Seeing as Jesus Christ, as the author of life itself, provides him the talents to box Tyson is simply doing what is wise.
What about you?
This article is seeking to provide a faithful rendering of the Scriptures. I intend to define the doctrinal dispute and show that God does perform miracles today but not through ‘miracle workers’. A miracle being a supernatural event such as turning a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.
My assumption is that our omnipotent Living God, Yahweh, can do as He pleases. Scripture attests that His miraculous works continue today, at the very least, in saving unbelievers. However, for the purpose of this article I will define miracles such as those seen in three distinctive biblical eras: Moses, Elijah and Elisha, and Christ and the apostolic eras.
The doctrinal issue under question is continuism versus cessationism. A cessationist says that the Apostolic gifts of prophecy, tongues and healing (by nature all miraculous) ceased at the death of the Apostles. Those Apostles were appointed to establish the Church, Matthew 10:2,3, 16:18 and are defined as those personally appointed by Jesus Christ, 1 Timothy 1:1. Cessationists understand apostolic gifts passed away with the establishment of the Church , that being the spotless bride of Christ, Revelation 19:7,9, Ephesians 5:25,27. We are now desiring higher spiritual gifts and a more excellent way, 1 Corinthians 12:31 and 14:1, but what is this excellent way and these higher gifts?
The Continuist makes the case that these gifts are tongues, prophecy, signs and wonders, as seen in the apostolic era. Furthermore, they do not recognise that the Apostolic era has finished, 1 Corinthians 12:28. Today men and women assume the office of Prophet and Apostle; Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua (TB Joshua), Thomas Dexter popularly called T. D. Jakes, etc. The Latter Day Saints claim to have modern prophets that follow in the line of Joseph Smith. The Pope as one who can speak, Ex Cathedra, and can speak infallibly, is by inference a continuist.
Paul dedicated an extended portion of his letter to the Corinthians to gifts, particularly tongues. Important texts for the continuist includes 1 Corinthians 12: 4,10, 28, 1 Corinthians ch 14:1, 5, 18. When Paul wrote this letter the New Testament scriptures had not been completed. However, with the Canon closed and the Bible being a progressive revelation we may, by spirit guided exegeses of the bible ‘speak prophetically’. Does this direct us to understanding the meaning of seeking the higher gifts? Does this help us understand why such emphasis is placed on maintaining sound doctrine in the Pastoral Epistles, dividing the Word with care, and calling out false teaching, Romans 16:17? This would lead me to believe that the higher gifts are interpreting the word, 1 Cor 2:10, teaching 2 Tim 3:15,17, speaking prophetically through scripture, proclaiming the Gospel – sharing the love of christ.
Texts to support the continuists position include: Joel 2:28, Mark 16:18, Acts 2:17. Matt Slick of Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry is a continuist. He quotes Romans 14:5 to support his claim that this is a non-essential issue . And says: “Interestingly, 1 Cor. 1:7 may be consulted, It says, “so that you are not lacking in any gift, awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The Greek word here for “revealed” is apokalupsis. It means the apocalypse, the return of Jesus. In both this verse and 1 Cor. 13:8-13 the gifts, which aren’t differentiated as to kind, are connected to the return of Christ not the completion of the Bible. One more thing, the word gift in the Greek is charisma. This is where we get the word ‘charismatic.”
Miracles allow Prophets and Apostles to Authenticate their Appointments
Christ’s signs convinced Nicodemus, recorded in John 3:2, that Christ was from God. A contextual reading of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles helps us understand the purpose of miracles. In Acts 5 we see that it is by the hands of the Apostles that signs and wonders are regularly undertaken. We see that a multitude of men and women became believers at that time and people are brought for healing to the Apostles. There is no indication that as a result of their belief they too went home to continue with miraculous healing.
Given the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, John 14:17, and Christ’s promise that whatever you ask in my name it shall be given, Matthew 18:19, and 21:22 and Mark 11:24, surely can I not invoke the miraculous through the power of prayer? I too can take on the mantle of healer, speaking in the name of Jesus Christ.
First let’s consider the role of the person of the Holy Spirit, why was He sent? Christ says He is sending a helper. We are also explicitly told the Spirit’s role of convicting people of sin thereby showing them their need to be saved from their condemnation under the law John 16:8. This is reiterated in Acts 5 where we see the person of the Holy Spirit, as a witness to Christ’s exalted position at the right hand of the Father. We see how it is the indwelling gift from God the Father, who allows the believer to be a faithful witness to the saving work of God the Son.
So this power we see is not to undertake miracles it is in fact a power to go, a power to proclaim and a power to overcome the trials, anguish and persecution that comes from being a follower of Christ, Matthew 5:11. We must treat with determined caution those who would offer demonstrations of godly powers through miracles. When the Devil himself challenged Jesus Christ he used Scripture, Psalm 91 but went no further than verse 12, knowing that verse 13 echoed the protogilion, “..and the serpent you will crush under foot.” Christ rebuked him saying not to put the Lord your God to the test. The man who would claim to be working miracles on behalf of God is in a fearful place if he remains unrepentant when death seizes upon him.
Christ is inviting faithful prayers. He knows that the born again believer with a contrite heart is seeking unity with his Lord. He is providing disciplinary authority to those he has commissioned to go and make disciples. Moreover, He is offering assurance that prayers are answered. We only need see our Lord’s anguish and prayers at Gethsemane, Stephen’s prayers as he is being stoned or know the fate of any of the Apostles to realize that this is not an invite to summon up enough faith to work a miracle but to enjoy the faith that comes through belief. It was Jesus’ will to see the Father glorified, John 12:28 ,and that will be the will of the born again follower who believes his Lord.
Continuism is the bedfellow of limited assurance, offering experiences as evidence of trust in the promises of God. The Israelites moulded a golden calf, the Pharisees wanted signs and the fickle crowd hounded Christ. In the same way the continuist leads his narrative with anecdote, and experience as an outward sign of his inward spirituality. It is within the continuist community that I meet those whose assurance of salvation rests on little more than walking an aisle, signing a prayer card, getting baptized or groaning in the spirit. The primary difficulty for the continuist is discerning if the workers of great signs and wonders Jesus speaks of in Matthew 24:24 are wolves or shepherds. How do they identify the lawless one, 2 Thessalonians 2:9?
Continusists are fond of anecdote, making experience of God at work in people’s lives as a means of corroborating their position. However, if scripture is sufficient why bother? It is the Gospel that is the power unto salvation, Romans 1:16, not signs, 1 Corinthians 1:22,23. Jesus said they have Moses and the prophets, they’re not going to believe even if someone is raised from the dead, Luke 16:31. Moreover, their position has a profound difficulty, for if I as a cessation tell them I have a word from the Lord telling them that their position is wrong they have no basis for contention!
It is the Holy Spirit who keeps us orientated on Christ. For in addition to helper in time of persecution, the Holy Spirit helps us understand His written word. The Holy Spirit will be with us that we may never forget it is the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom and that if we stray from our Father’s House our diet will be nothing but indigestible pigs’ fodder. In so doing He will point us to Christ and bring us to our knees in glad and penitent worship. The cessationist knows his Jeremiah 17:9 heart, and knows the Genesis 6:5 proclivities of man. God is no longer performing miracles through His prophets and Apostles but He is still performing the miracle of turning rebellious hearts of stone to repentant hearts of flesh .
PS. Finding myself in a different camp doctrinally to a theologian like Matt slick, who I respect and trust is interesting. However, as christians we learn to disagree, agreeably, and in issues that are non-essential be prepared to, dare I say it, change!
I dialogue with an enthusiastic and engaging biologist on Twitter. He has staked a truth claim that the Bible is replete with contradictions. Given that God’s Word is inerrant, 2 Timothy 3:16, “all scripture is God breathed”, this is a counter intuitive claim. However, there are reasons for this unbeliever reaching his understanding and primarily it is because he lacks the fruits of repentance. He has not put his trust and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 2: “the spiritual things of God are not understood by natural man”.
I am offering here a rational which might even be apparent to the secularist, for Jesus made it clear in the Gospels why he spoke in parables, Matthew 13:13, “so that hearing people would not understand”. You see the Bible explains that it is “the fear of the Lord that is the beginning of wisdom”. In other words, “you do not reason to God, you reason from Him”, for apart from him you could not reason; Colossians 2:3, “in Him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”.
In this blog I aim to refute Ollie’s claim that Leviticus 9:6 is contradictory. I am using material gleaned from http://www.genesisnet.info Fundamentally we know that God’s Word is without error, so there cannot be contradictions. “While there may be many theories and ideas that contradict the biblical narrative, the facts never do”. Take for example the biblical flood. Most scientists deny that there was a global flood, preferring theories surrounding tectonic plate movements to explain why there are sea shell fossils in the upper reaches of the Himalayas. That’s true for we know that there was catastrophic movements in the earths surface when God flooded the world, however, if there had been a global flood you would expect to find millions of dead things buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth. Did you know that today we find, millions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth?
Theories and ideas may contradict the biblical account of world history, but the facts never do. Now let’s address the apparent contradiction of Leviticus 11:6 that says hares are ruminants:
The Bible truly isn´t a scientific textbook. The ruminating hare is mentioned in a different context: the command about unclean and clean beasts. Now in what way is the hare a ruminant? Let´s have a look in the encyclopaedia. Grzimek´s Animal life describes it in the twelfth volume:
“Morot published his observations concerning mucus-covered gastric pills of rabbits in a French veterinarian magazine in 1882. Besides a normal solid form of faeces these animals produce a second one – soft, moldable balls that are taken in and swallowed unchewed right after their deposition. They are collected in a certain region of the stomach (in the cardia region) and digested again. This way parts of the food pass the intestines twice and are macerated more effectively. In some way, this double digestion is similar to the rumination of most cloven-hoofed. The faeces (caecotrophe) is produced in the vermiform appendix and there strongly enriched with vitamin B1. Quoting studies of Scheunert and Zimmermann it contains four to five times more vitamins than normal faeces. For the lagomorphs the appendical or vitamin-faeces is essential, it probably also helps them to survive longer periods of fasting in suboptimal weathers.” (Italics not in the original.)
By the way, a friend of mine told me that his children watched the coprophagia of hares without knowing about this certain peculiarity. (I needn´t say, that they didn´t find it very appetizing.) What my friend´s children found out today has as well been noticed 3000 years ago. People didn´t “invent” the ruminating of hares – they just could observe it as well as modern zoologists.
What conclusion can we draw from this? The ruminating hare serves as an example that the Bible does have scientific relevance, certainly the remarks are not textbook-like, but do serve other purposes. The hare doesn´t belong to the bovidan ruminants, it belongs to another mammalian order than the other ruminants. Leviticus 11 doesn´t talk about zoological systematics. But whatever is described, is correctly presented in an illustrative, comprehensible way. For this, the coprophagous hare is a good example.
It seems the latest victim is Khali Best. Did he say that there is only one name under heaven by which men may be saved? Looking to the authority of the Bible is strictly off limits. Maybe he made mention of the fact that men and women are created in the image God, with equal value dignity and worth, the same but different. That would be a terrible contravention. The last thing the BBC needs is a loose canon suggesting that somehow a monogamous marriage between a man and woman is the safe, healthy and right place to bring up children.
What about being old fashioned ghetto rapper who speaks his mind of what he believes regarding sex, men, women and life? A short period of correctional training, establishing correct patterns of thought for Mr Best before he is invited back into the multi cultural world of the BBC is necessary. Unless he responds to the agenda like the Russell Brands of the world then no more mainstream for you my son.
What’s the point in engaging with people who claim atheistic convictions? If their worldview is such that they deny the God who gave them the very breath, reason and senses they are employing to deny what they know but suppress that truth, is there any purpose? The bible explains that whatever they believe, they will be without excuse. God’s divine nature eternal power is apparent through his creation.
From a human perspective there is no point engaging. If Cyril Smith didn’t repent he is paying the price for his perversions. However, that’s not the end. For God is rich in mercy and while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. He gave his life for all the unbelievers, rapists, atheistic abortionists, liars and perverts. Justice and mercy cannot co-exists from a human perspective but God, the creator of all things, who is truth, and love, can forgive all who truly repent.