The Value of Truth

Truth holds a strange place in our society. On the one hand, we value and advocate for “truth-telling” among certain people and situations. For example, most of us (believers and unbelievers) are very upset with our children when they don’t tell the truth about why their brother or sister is crying, or why they got into trouble at school. Most of us (believers and unbelievers) cry out for truth-telling from our politicians. We want to know the truth about Benghazi and Michael Brown. We want full disclosure on Area 51. On the other hand, for many people, truth about more important matters is not valued. When it comes to questions of God, eternity, why we’re here, and what we should be doing, “truth” takes a backseat to preference. “All religions are basically the same”; “if it works for you, that’s all that matters”; “no one knows what is really true.”

The unfortunate thing is that I am not just speaking of postmodern relativist unbelievers over against Bible-believing Christians. Within the evangelical church, truth can be undervalued, which often leads to it being undermined, and even abandoned altogether. It is not hard to undervalue the truth in the local church. In the preaching, Scripture can be relegated to a supporting role in a clever sermon—and truth is undervalued. In the singing, mood and emotion are the goal at the expense of sound doctrine and praise offered to God—and truth is undervalued. In children’s and youth ministries, games and activities squeeze out teaching of the deep things of God—and truth is undervalued. When truth is undervalued in these, and many other ways, we leave the door wide open for truth to be undermined and even abandoned on certain issues. The results are disastrous as God is dishonored, His people stand for nothing, and the local church becomes powerless in its work and witness.

False Teaching

John Owen, the eminent Puritan pastor and theologian who served as a chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, once said, “If we would defend ourselves against apostasy, we must first of all be concerned for the glory of God…pray continually…contend for the faith (Jude 3)…keep careful watch over our hearts (Prov.4:23)…beware of trusting in the outward privileges of the church…and test to see if we are benefiting from the ordinances of the gospel.[1]

Seven characters of false teachers:

  1. False teachers are men-pleasers. (Jer.5:30-31)
  1. False teachers are notable in casting dirt, scorn, and reproach upon the persons, name, and credits of Christ’s most faithful ambassadors. (Num.16:3; 1 Kin.22:10-26; Matt.27:62-63)
  1. False teachers are inventors of the devices and visions of their own heads and hearts. (Jer.14:14)
  1. False teachers easily pass over the great and weighty things both of Law and Gospel and stand most upon those things that are of the least concern to the souls of men. (Matt.23:2-3; 1 Tim.6:3-5)
  1. False teachers cover and color their dangerous principles and soul impostures with fair speeches and plausible pretenses. (Num.24:17)
  1. False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinion than to better them in their conversations. (Matt.23:15)
  1. False teachers make merchandise of their followers. (2 Pet.2:1-3)[2]

What are the dangers of false teaching?
False teaching is dangerous for many reasons. Paul identifies several serious dangers.


  • It promotes and provokes controversy rather than faith in Christ. (1 Tim.1:3-4)


  • It leads to spiritual shipwreck and moral catastrophe like that of King Saul, Judas, and Demas. (1 Tim.1:19ff)


  • It leads to apostasy and falling victim to demonic activity. (1 Tim.4:1-4)


  • It engenders greed and discontentment, and ultimately results in ruin and destruction. (1 Tim.6:6-10)


  • It results in shallowness of character, emptiness, and false knowledge. (1 Tim.6:20-21)


  • It possesses a gangrene-like effect that multiplies and spreads throughout the whole body, destroying vital tissue, leading to division, decline, and, finally, death in a church. (2 Tim.2:17ff)


  • It corrupts the mind and defiles the conscience, so that one’s decisions and attitudes are no longer a reliable guide to faith and purity. (Titus 1:13-16)

How do you guard yourself from false teaching?

  1. Be sure that you possess true, genuine, saving faith. In other words, make sure that you have been truly converted. The unconverted mind is unwilling to submit to sound doctrine (Phil.3:18; Titus 1:16; 1 Cor.2:6-7, 14; 2 Cor.4:4-6; Rom.6:17; 2 Tim.4:3-5).


  1. Be intent on doing God’s will as it is revealed to you in Scripture (John 7:17). A true understanding of doctrine will not come unless one is inwardly yielded to the truth he hears.


  1. Be mindful and diligent in giving God your best, so that when you meet God’s inspection, you will stand the test and be approved, having no need for shame because of faulty workmanship (2 Tim.2:15).





[1] Apostasy from the Gospel, John Owen, Puritan Paperbacks, Banner of Truth Trust


[2] Thomas Brooks, Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, pp.230-234

Get Rich or Die Tryin’

Back in the early 2000s this was a popular mantra of our society and I would even venture to say that there is still a remnant of this mindset and attitude in our society today. The phrase “get rich or die tryin’” was made popular by an artist named Curtis Jackson III—better known as 50 Cent—when he released his music album in 2003 and then a movie in 2005 with the same title, “Get Rich or Die Tryin.’”

Unfortunately this desire to obtain material wealth has found its way into the church. Many of the Tele-evangelist and prosperity preachers have perpetuated this desire by teaching that, if you come to Jesus, He will bless you with material and financial riches. However, is this what Jesus Himself really taught? And does the Bible even teach this at all?

Jesus once said of Himself, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Matt.8:20). Jesus was saying that He Himself was living on this earth without the material or financial wealth that the prosperity preachers proclaim Jesus wants you to have. But Jesus even goes as far as to say that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:25). Why did Jesus say that?

Jesus understood the danger of desiring to be rich, because “those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction” (1 Tim.6:9). And it is this craving for wealth that causes some people to wander away from the faith and pierce themselves with many pangs. And I believe that is why Jesus could ask what it profits a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul.

But let me be clear—I am not saying, nor do I believe, it is a sin or sinful to have or to earn a lot of money. I am not promoting a theology of poverty, for God Himself is the one who provides the power to get wealth (Deut.8:18). But I do believe there is biblical warrant to say that desiring to keep a lot of money or to make for yourself “bigger barns,” so to speak (Luke 12:16-21), is where the danger lies and where we get ourselves into trouble.

So as Christians how are we to truly and rightly view finances in a society that says “Get rich or die tryin’”? As believers we are told that we are no long citizens of this world, but that our citizenship is of a heavenly kingdom because of our union with Christ. And since our permanent or eternal home is not this world, God never promises us that we will have riches in this world; but God does promise that “the light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are temporary, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor.4:17-18). So as God’s children we can live knowing that God will supply all our needs according to his glorious riches that are in Christ Jesus (Phil.4:19). And since our eternal resting place is not this world, let us be a people who have an eternal perspective by keeping our eyes on Jesus, who is our ultimate prize possession and in whom all the fullness of riches dwell.


Cracked Pots Make the Best Parents

As the mother of two adult children, this month’s post on truth is a timely and intriguing one. My daughter Jessica came home last week for a short visit. We always have a great time together and when my son Durrell joins us, it often makes me think of those early days of parenting.

In my unrealistic quest to be “the best parent ever,” I held my children and myself to some really unrealistic expectations. Along the way, I realized these expectations were not because they were the right or best way, but more about how I thought it made me look to others.

Truth: Perfect parenting leaves no room for the power and grace of God. Instead, everything is about performance. When we aren’t perfect as parents, we have to create the illusion that our kids are. 2 Corinthians 4:7 reminds us that “we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” The point is that Christ’s power is demonstrated best through cracked pots. If we were perfect, we wouldn’t need Him and nobody would see Him shining through our cracks. So take heart—crackpots make the best parents.

The older our kids get, the more they see our imperfections. Eventually, our defects will be on full display and failing to admit our failures (especially when they are so obvious) only serves to drive a wedge between our kids and us. So, what’s the best way? Truth—with yourself, with your kids, and especially before God. (Ps.25:5; 86:11)

Truth: Parenting is hard, humorous, complicated, messy, heartbreaking, filled with peer pressure, yet one of the greatest joys in life.

I would like to think I was a great parent when my children were young; the truth is, I’m just glad we survived it all and I still have their love, friendship, and the occasional piece of great advice they offer for my own life. Today, as I look at their lives, I see my days of parenting in the flesh (“Do what I say because I’m your mother!”) are over because they are adults. Now, it’s time to parent them in the Spirit. Earnestly and consistently praying for them and trusting God to do what I cannot do and believing He will.