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Kindle Version of Absolute Truth for a Relative World:  $6.99   




Paperback Version of Absolute Truth for a Relative World:

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Absolute Truth for a Relative World, by Dennis R. Dinger, 2004.

     This book presents the absolute truths of God to all who are interested in the answer to Pontius Pilate's question, "What is truth?"  Many today believe that everything is relative and nothing is absolute, but that is incorrect.  God's truths are absolute, regardless what man thinks of them. 
     Furthermore, God reveals His truths to each one of us.  No one can truly say, "I didn't know."  Those who are searching for truth and light in this relative world will find this an interesting and valuable study.


Excerpts from the book:  


What is Truth?

     When Jesus was questioned before Pilate, the following discourse took place: "37Pilate therefore said unto Him, ‘Art thou a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.’ 38Pilate saith unto Him, ‘What is truth?’ And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, ‘I find in Him no fault at all.’" (John 18:37-38)

     We all know that after asking this apparently rhetorical question, "What is truth?", and after finding no fault in Him, Pilate nevertheless condemned Jesus to die on the cross.

     This same question plagues each man, woman, and child born into this world. What is truth? What should we believe? What should we ignore? Where do we find the truth?

     Pilate was unwilling to believe his own eyes and ears. He was face to face with the man Jesus. He was face to face with God incarnate. He talked with Him, questioned Him, and found no fault in Him. Then, being a good politician of his day, he ignored his own eyes, ears, thoughts, conclusions, and the solid evidence before him, gave in to the will of the people, and sentenced Jesus to death.

     How would we have reacted, decided, or behaved, if we stood in Pilate’s shoes that day, or if we participated in that crowd? Unfortunately, we would have responded the same way they did. Romans 5:10 says that all of the people, which would have included each one of us had we been there, were "enemies" of God. We would have behaved similar to Pilot and the people. Had we been Pilate, we would have sentenced Jesus to death. Had we been one of the people in the crowd, we would have joined in the cry, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"

     What is truth? The Bible contains the answer to this question if we are willing to search it out. Of course, we can find the truth and still reject it as Pilate did. Or, we can find the truth, and assent to it. Or, we can find the truth, and believe it.

     It is difficult for natural man to believe the truth, however, because the truth is certainly not flattering to man. The truth contains many hard sayings. But the way of life is contained in the truth. To seek it, to find it, to believe it, and to cling to it are valuable and necessary tasks for any who want to know What is truth? and who want to enjoy the abundant life available to those who abide in it.

     The psalmist wrote, "Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom." (Psalm 51:6) God desires truth in our inner parts. He wants truth to be interwoven into every fiber that makes up the fabric of our beings. That is His desire for mankind.

     In this book, we will study what the Bible has to say about truth. One nice characteristic of absolute truth is that it does not change. It does not change by the book of the Bible in which it is located, and it does not change by the time period during which it was revealed, or during which it is studied. The truths in Genesis are the same truths that are found in Revelation. The truths that applied at the time of the creation, applied in Jesus’ day, just as they apply today, and will apply in the future.

     All of the truths of the Bible are as relevant to all of us today as they have been to all who have come and gone before, and as relevant as they will be to all who are yet to come.

     God’s truth was revealed to Pilate, but he chose not to believe it. Pilate did not have access to the completed, written Word of God that we have today, but he stood face-to-face with Jesus, the very Son of God. He had the opportunity to directly question God the Son.

     After directly questioning and speaking face-to-face with Jesus, Pilate rejected Him nevertheless. Not only did he reject Him, he sentenced Him to death by crucifixion.

     Many people throughout time would have given anything (ANYTHING!!) to talk directly to God and to discuss truth, life, and salvation with Him. Pilate had that opportunity.

     What a wonderful topic to discuss with the Lord! "Are you a king?" "Yes! I am!" Pilate was face-to-face with the Son of God. He was face-to-face with the truth. The supporting evidence was consistent with the truth! "I find no fault in this man." But as history records, Pilot condemned Jesus to death.

     Our prayer for all who study the subject of truth is that, when faced with the truth, they will recognize it as truth and believe it, rather than scrap it (as if it were refuse) as Pilate did.

Truth in 21st Century Society

     It is incredibly difficult in today’s society to discover the truth about anything. Truth is absolute. Many say there is no such thing as absolute truth because everything is relative.

     To some, everything is black or white. To others, nothing is black or white, but everything is a shade of gray. Everything must be taken in its context. Everything depends on something else. Some hold fast only to things that are politically correct, or to those ideas (determined by polls) that are representative of the population at large.

     What is one to believe?

          Absolute versus Relative Truths

     Those who believe everything is relative must have some basis for a reference point. Usually, the reference point for man is ME, I, or MY. For example, "I will judge the validity of any statement relative to whether I like it, whether I believe it, whether it helps me, whether it flatters me, or whether it puffs up my ego!" To define truth in this way is to utilize a totally self-centered point of view. But such a point of view is totally consistent with the Bible’s description of natural man.

     The self-centered point of view provides man with a safe position to take – at least many men and women think it is a safe position. If everything is relative to me, or to someone else, or to anything else, then there can be no such thing as an absolute. It is a safe position to take (supposedly) because it protects from having to deal with absolutes. If I maintain that the only good things in this world are those things that are good for me, and you maintain that the only good things in this world are those things that are good for you, then we will never agree on what is truly good. If we must agree, but we cannot, then maybe we are both right and everything is relative. If everything is relative, and there are no absolutes, then there are no hard decisions that anyone needs to make. This approach allows many to deny the existence of absolute truth.

     Proponents of this point of view can deny, push aside, sidestep, and ignore anything. They are never guilty of anything. They never break any rules because there are no absolute rules to break. All is relative. Their collective experiences all point to the ‘fact’ that all is relative. They can say, "It may be truth to you, but it is not truth to me, so I do not need to address it." At this point, the subject, and the discussion, end. ... if everything were relative, that is!

     But God says there are many truths. There are many absolute truths. And since they are absolute, they don’t require any assent or belief on man’s part to make them true. Absolute truth is absolutely true, regardless what anyone thinks or says about it.

     For example, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." (John 14:6) Jesus told Pilate, "... for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth." (John 18:37) These two verses, as well as many more, teach that there is such a thing as absolute truth. These are absolute truths. There is right and wrong. There is a right way. There are many wrong ways. There are truths. There are lies.

     The dilemma for mankind is this: either there is no such thing as absolute truth, or there is. If there are no absolutes, we can all do as we please. Anarchy can reign. If there are absolutes, however, then we each must deal with them.

     If there is no such thing as absolute truth, no one needs to worry about answering Pilate’s question: What is truth? All is relative. Nothing is absolutely true. There is no answer to Pilate’s question; the question is totally rhetorical; and you can believe whatever you please ... if absolute truth doesn’t exist.

     But ... if Jesus is the personification of truth (as He said) and He actually did come into this world to bear witness unto the truth (as He said), man is in a real predicament. In this case, man cannot simply hide behind the ‘everything is relative’ argument, but man must face the truth and deal with it. Man must not only ask the question that Pilate asked, but he must search for the answers and make some decisions. And since the question deals with absolutes, the decisions will either be right, or they will be wrong.

     As long as everything is relative, right and wrong don’t enter the picture. But when dealing with absolutes, along come the next two concepts men and women must also deal with: right and wrong. When absolute truths exist, we can no longer hide in the fog of relativity, but we each must deal with the clear issues of right and wrong.

     That is why mankind gravitates to the safe position of all things being relative. But God’s Word says that hiding behind a smokescreen of relativity is not a safe position. Men and women must face absolute truth and deal with the concepts of right and wrong!

     The Bible teaches that each of us will someday stand individually before the court of God, with God as the sitting Judge. That judgement will be based on absolute truth, and the flippant argument, "everything is relative," simply will not fly!

     When God tells a person standing before Him, "I sent you My Word which is My truth. What did you do with it?" That person can say:

• "The Bible did not apply to me, so I ignored it." or,

• "I did not like what it said about me, so I chose not to believe it." or,

• "I never studied it carefully, so I really have no idea what it says." or,

• "The Bible is full of lies and contradictions. It is garbage."

     There are a whole host of other excuses that could be added to this list. But none of these arguments or excuses will be of any value to anyone. Whoever uses such arguments will be judged guilty.

     The mere existence of absolute truths puts each man and woman into the dilemma that requires honest answers to honest questions. Not only must each of us ask, "What is truth?" but then, when we learn the answer, we must each ask, "Do I believe it?" Ultimately, the answer had better be, "Yes."

     An interesting consideration applies to absolute truth. When truths are absolute, it does not matter whether you, or I, or anyone else, believes them. Absolute truths are absolutely true. They are true, whether we believe them or not. They are not relative. So we disbelieve at our own peril.

         Black versus White versus Gray

     There are many current political and religious issues which allow valid positions that are all over the spectrum – from the extremes of black and white, to a variety of shades of gray in between. Each person can make their stand at positions at an extreme or anywhere in the middle, wherever he or she likes. All positions are valid and acceptable. Others may disagree, but there can be no wrong positions because there are no truly right positions.

     Sometimes the ‘truth’ is determined by polls. Of course, the ‘truth’ determined by polls is not really the truth at all. But many people trust the crowd and conform their opinions accordingly. In fact, many would rather trust the crowd than trust the truth according to God.

     Some issues have solid positions at each extreme, with no apparently valid positions in the intermediate gray areas. Some issues have relatively clear truths associated with them. There are definite right and definite wrong points of view associated with such issues. Other issues do not appear to have any clear rights or wrongs.

     For example, on the issue of abortion, if you are not "Pro-life", then you must be "Pro-choice". In politics, if you are not a Republican, then you must be a Democrat. If you are not a fiscal or a social Conservative, then you must be a fiscal or a social Liberal. If you do not subscribe to Calvinism, then you must subscribe to Arminianism. If you are not a Dispensationalist, then you must be a Covenant Theologian. Some of these examples have lots of acceptable, distinct, gray, intermediate positions between the extremes. Others apparently have none.

     Some positions are euphemistically named. This helps to confuse the issue and to hide obvious truths. If the choice was between "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Death", the acceptable position would be relatively obvious. But the choice is between "Pro-Life" and "Pro-Choice". Everyone believes in life, and everyone believes in free choice, so the issue has been muddied. It is not a clear choice and the truth has been hidden.

     Then there are the politically correct (PC) positions on everything. The PC position on religion says that no one religion is the true religion. Each denomination or religion thinks it is the only correct one, and there are lots of those to choose from. So the PC position says that all choices are equal. To be PC, you cannot favor any one religion over another. As soon as you take a side and make a stand on one religion, then you are no longer politically correct. All choices must be equal.

     If all choices are not equal, then some must be better and some must be worse. To tell someone that they have made a bad choice will make them feel bad, which will hurt their self-esteem (which, according to PC dogma, everyone knows is bad), so we cannot have any of that! All religions are (and must be) equal. That is political correctness.

     Of course, if you read newspapers or pay any attention at all to the news media, you will find that some religions are more equal than others. In fact, Christianity is less equal than all others. Within today’s public schools, students can freely study almost any religious book in the world, except the Bible.

     "We have separation of church and state, you know." What we really have is separation of Christianity and state. Studying any of the writings of any of the other world religions, falls under the category of diversity – which, by the world’s definition, is good. But studying any of the writings in the Bible is bad. That falls under the category of separation of church and state, and that is not allowed! (So much for equality of religion!)

     This may not be right, but it is politically correct. Inequality and bias are socially acceptable as long as they are aimed in the proper direction (read: left, or read: consistent with popular opinion.) Satan is definitely at work in this world pushing political correctness.

     The politically incorrect view is that there is one true God who is the God of the Bible. It is politically incorrect to believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to earth to teach us the truth, to believe that He is truth, and to believe that His Word is truth.

     It may be politically incorrect to believe this, but in fact, God’s Word is absolute truth and there’s nothing relative about it! It is all black and white with no gray areas at all.

What Should Man Believe?

     My father-in-law, the late James E. Funk, taught that the Bible was the simplest book in the world to understand. It can all be boiled down to this: The Bible teaches about God, and it teaches about man. It does this throughout all 66 books of the Bible.

     Jim also taught that it was extremely simple to understand the Bible if you knew the key. According to him, the key to understanding the Bible is this: The Bible teaches that God is good, and man is bad. It is simple. It is no more complicated than that.

     His key may seem overly simplified, but it is nevertheless accurate. All of the Bible teaches that God is absolutely good. And as unflattering as it may sound, all of the Bible teaches that natural man is bad – absolutely destitute of any redeeming value.

     If you want absolute truth, there it is in its purest, unvarnished form. The Bible is not flattering to man! What is man to do? Believe it, ignore it, or reject it?

     Out of man’s inherent pride, we label this as baloney. If all is relative, and a person thinks he is pretty good by comparison with the next guy, he can choose to take his chances before God’s court. "Man is inherently bad?? Hah!!"

     But if there is such a thing as absolute truth, and the Bible presents itself to mankind as absolute truth, do we dare ignore it, or reject it, without giving it due consideration? The obvious, logical answer is "No, we dare not ignore it!" The human answer, however, is frequently, "Yes! Not only can we ignore it – we will ignore it!"

     As we continue through the study in this book, we will consider truth. We will study many of the truths presented by God to man. We will show the Bible’s teachings on a variety of aspects of this subject. The goal is to help each man and woman in this world who must yet answer for themselves the question Pilate asked: "What is truth?"

     May those of you who study this subject arrive at a better answer than Pilate did.