There was an interesting exchange that took place this week between Alex Jones and the judge overseeing his trial related to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
In it, the judge insisted that Jones needed to tell the truth under oath. Jones then claimed that he believed that what he was saying was true, to which the judge responded that it did not matter if he believed what he said was true or not; either it was or it wasn’t.
“Just because you claim to think something is true, does not make it true.”
Finally, it came out through evidence that Jones had actually done something which he claimed he hadn’t done. Jones claims that this was an honest mistake, whereas others assert that he intentionally lied.
Here’s a recording of that exchange:
An Interesting Cultural Moment
Whatever your opinion of Alex Jones or this legal proceeding, this is an interesting moment in our culture, because – despite the attempts of some to relativize “the truth,” here we have an argument which acknowledges the existence of objective reality.
In recent history in the United States and the Western world, there has been a lot of debate over what makes something “true.” Phrases like “speak your truth,” or the idea that what is true for one person might not be true for others, make it seem like the truth is relative. Furthermore, the idea that what a person believes about themselves cannot be argued against, e.g. when it comes to gender identity, can make it seem like empirical evidence no longer matters in determining what is “true.”
Yet here is a conversation in our society about the importance of truth.
Note the words of the judge: “Just because you claim to think something is true, does not make it true.”
I wonder what would happen if we applied this same logic to other issues as well. Should this apply to how we think about gender and sexuality? How about how we believe about God, the Bible, and even the topics of sin and judgment?
What Does Truth Mean for Us as Christians?
As Christians, we believe in objective truth. We believe that God exists. We believe that some actions are sinful. We believe that there is a day coming when God will judge the living and the dead. We believe that Jesus Christ was God incarnate, come to do for us what we could not do for ourselves by living a life of perfect obedience to God, dying a sacrificial death to take the judgment we deserved in our place, and rising from the grave to everlasting life.
Knowledge of these truths – regarding sin, judgment, and the love and grace of God displayed in Jesus’ saving actions on our behalf – compels us, as Paul the Apostle explains in 2 Corinthians 5, to do two things: to persuade people of the truth of these matters (2 Corinthians 5:11), and to beseech them to receive the reconciling grace of God (2 Corinthians 5:20)!
Compelled to Persuade
The Bible tells us that because we know of God’s judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10), we are compelled to persuade people (2 Corinthians 5:11). To persuade, in this sense, means to remove intellectual barriers, to overcome prejudice and ignorance, to convince by argument and testimony, and by the straightforward proclamation of the gospel.
Compelled to Implore
Furthermore, Paul says that because we know of God’s grace and the offer of salvation, we are compelled to beseech people to receive the gift of what Jesus has done for them, so they can be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20). Paul even uses the word “implore” to describe how we appeal to people in light of the truths of sin, judgment, and the possibility of redemption through Jesus. To implore, according to Lexico, means “to beg someone earnestly and desperately.”
It’s important to take note in this cultural moment that, no matter how much we might try to suppress it, we as human beings know there is such a thing as truth which is independent of our personal claims, opinions, or feelings. As the people of God we should be lovers of the truth.
Finally, if what the Bible says is true about God, sin, judgment, and redemption – and we have abundant evidence to believe it is (see here for more on that), then it behooves us to persuade and implore those around us of the veracity of these things and the need to be reconciled to God through the grace God has extended to us in Christ.
May God help us to be lovers of the truth, and may the Holy Spirit cause us to be compelled all the more by the love of Christ, to live not for ourselves, but for Him who for our sakes died and was raised (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15).