Truth: absolute or relative?
Pastor Orval Wirkkala, Kingston Apostolic, Lutheran Church
In this day and age, many contend that truth is that which is relative to one’s own knowledge and experience within their particular framework of ideas.
As Christians, we believe the Bible is true, and therefore, it is the basis by which we discern right from wrong as well as upon which we build our view of life. But we acknowledge that even though the Bible is infallible, our interpretations and understandings are not, always leaving open the possibility that our understandings and opinions may not be consistent with the Word of God.
This most often happens due to our excessive dependence on the understandings/traditions of men as the basis of our knowledge. We must always be careful that we do not allow the fallible traditions and opinions of mortals to have precedence over that which God has clearly outlined in the Holy Scriptures, knowledge which comes to us as a result of the work of the Holy Spirit, always in agreement with the divinely-inspired scriptures.
In the early days of my ministry, an older, more experienced minister and I were talking on the phone and I was relating to him that the spiritual writings and teachings of those of days gone by were important, but that it was not essential to read them. He was somewhat quiet and then he said, “God has revealed Himself to his servants in the past, too.”
As I thought on that, it came to me that I was out of balance in thinking that there was little benefit in utilizing the knowledge and experiences of those to whom the Lord had revealed Himself in the past and whom He had used as his servants through the years. Since that time, I have received much instruction and encouragement from reading and meditating on writings as supplements to the infallible Word of God, both from times past, as well as contemporary writings.
But I continue to do so with caution, attempting to compare everything I read or hear with the Bible, so that I will not allow fallible writings to unduly influence my interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. Never should we allow the opinions of men, which have no scriptural backing, to be our source of knowledge.
Accepting and teaching as truth ideas (from the past or contemporary) that are not consistent with the Bible have to this day, created many not sanctioned by God) walls between denominations and churches, which separate the people of God as well as families from one another.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5