Distortions, exaggerations, and outright lies plague the internet. State-sponsored disinformation from countries like China and Russia is about as common as lint in the dryer. Major corporations, politicians of both parties, and even mom-and-pop corner stores all too often succumb to the allure of deception for the sake of profit or a competative edge.
The battle for truth is, ultimately, a spiritual issue. We rationalize dishonesty even as we assuage our guilt with beliefs that soothe without saving. From “You be you” to “Truth is what you feel,” we’re awash in competing claims about God, meaning, and inner peace. Truth claims, including the assertion that there is no truth, call out like the seductive woman of Proverbs 5. Her lips “drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil,” Solomon tells us, “but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.” So with the falsehoods swirling throughout our culture — appealing, calming, and deadly.
Christians serve One Who claimed He was “the truth” and follow a book that asserts its own divine inspiration (John 14:6, II Timothy 3:16). It’s important to remember that our faith in these claims is grounded not in wishful thinking but credible fact and argument.
First, the Bible is full of historical information that can be verified. For example, as documented by Old Testament scholar John D. Currid, “In 1868, a missionary in Jerusalem found a stone tablet for sale that appeared to be from ancient times. … On the tablet is a text written in Moabite dating to the ninth century BC.” Currid reports that the first line of the table reads, “I am Mesha son of Chemosh, king of Moab.” What’s especially noteworthy is that the tablet records Mesha’s account of a war he fought with Israel. In 850 B.C., Moab rebelled against Israel’s northern kingdom, an event recounted in II Kings 3.
The New Testament is also filled with reliable historical references and events. Purdue University professor Lawrence Mykytiuk has confirmed 30 New Testament figures “who can be identified in the archaeological record and extra-biblical writings.” As Tim McGrew of Western Michigan University documents, the Book of Acts alone contains literally scores of references to people, places, and events that are found in extra-biblical sources or that can still be found in the ruins of the eastern Mediterranean region.
In sum, no one can point to Scripture and dismiss its texts as founded in hearsay or third-hand reports. Similarly, the internal consistency of the Bible is astonishing, not only in what it claims about time-and-space matters but in the view of God, the universe, humanity, and redemption it presents from Genesis to Revelation. David Dockery, former president of Union University and now at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, argues that “there is a definite Christian view of things, which has a character, coherence, and unity of its own, and stands in sharp contrast with counter theories and speculations.” Dockery writes that the “Christian worldview has the stamp of reason and reality and can stand the test of history and experience. A Christian view of the world cannot be infringed upon, accepted or rejected piecemeal, but stands or falls on its integrity.”
This does not mean there are not things in the Bible that are hard to grasp. But mystery and contradiction are two different things, and an extraordinary claim is not the same thing as an illogical claim. God does not disclose everything about Himself or His plan for the world, but these things make the claims of Scripture no less true.
The Christian “lens” through which we see reality enables us to make the most sense of what we observe and experience of any philosophy or faith. As C.S. Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the Sun has risen not only because I see it but because by it I see everything else.”
Finally, the pattern of life envisioned and encouraged in Scripture leads to human flourishing. Unlike other religions or philosophical systems, Christianity does not demand exotic forms of worship, soul-deadening stoicism, or adventures into the occult. It deals with life as it is, in the practical Tuesday afternoon realities of life. It offers joy instead of happiness, peace instead of placation, and hope instead of longing.
As we launch into another election year in which claims and counterclaims will pummel us until our heads swim, Christians need to remember what is permanent, what is trustworthy, what is true. God and the Bible are unchanging and also true. That’s a combination followers of Jesus can rest in during 2024 and for all time.
Rob Schwarzwalder, Ph.D., is Senior Lecturer in Regent University’s Honors College.
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