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.