What is “Truth”? p4 [v123]

MAY 2009

WHAT IS TRUTH? (Part 4 of 4!)
Ta-dah—you’ve made it! We will be finishing this ‘course’ with this newsletter. I hope it’s ‘challenged’ some of what you’ve been told in the past—and maybe ‘change’ what you believe is TRUE!

As a review, here’s the list of all the topics:

1. Veritology: What is Truth? (Part 1-FEB09)
2. Philosophy and Ethics: Says Who? (Part 1-FEB09)
3. Anthropology: Who is Man? (Part 1-FEB09)
4. Theology: Who is God? (Part 1-FEB09)
5. Science: What is True? (Part 2-MAR09)
6. History: Whose Story? (Part 2-MAR09)
7. Sociology: The Divine Imprint (Part 3-APR09)
8. Unio Mystica: Am I Alone? (Part 3-APR09)
9. The State: Whose Law? (Part 3- APR09)
10. The American Experiment: Stepping Stones
11. Labor: Created to Create
12. Community and Involvement: God Cares, Do I?

I will be reviewing the final three sessions in this ‘post’—“The American Experiment: Stepping Stones,” “Labor: Created to Create,” and “Community and Involvement: God Cares, Do I?

SESSION #10 (The American Experiment: Stepping Stones)
For this tour we will examine a special sub-category of our last topic of discussion: the design of the state. In particular, we want to take a brief look at the question, “What is a proper form for this ‘agency’ and commissioned to administer justice, punish evil, and encourage goodness among its citizens or subjects?” We will approach this task by considering the “American Experiment.”

From the beginning, Dr. Tackett lays down some ground rules for this study. First, we will not seek to deify America; and second, we will not seek to deify the Founding Fathers. Having established these guidelines, he hastens to point out that there are compelling reasons for giving special attention to the subject of this tour. The American Experiment has the potential to prove unusually conducive to a deeper understanding of God’s design for the state precisely because it is unique in the history of the world. Here on these shores, and here alone, people with a strong Christian worldview have been afforded an unparalleled opportunity to create from scratch what they considered an ideal system of government—a system designed in careful conformity with the principles outlined in the previous ‘unit’  (The State: Who’s Law?).

We begin by establishing the ‘character’ of that worldview. The New England Primer, the second best-selling book (after the Bible) of the colonial era, provides an intriguing ‘window’ into the attitudes of early Americans. In particular, it reveals an outlook and a way of life powerfully shaped by the teachings of Scripture. The pervasiveness of this outlook is further demonstrated in statements made by America’s early political leaders, legal and social architects, and educational pioneers—people like Benjamin Rush, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Adams, Charles Carroll, Noah Webster, and the founders of Harvard, Princeton, and Columbia Universities. In spite of the fact that not all of them were ‘practicing’ Christians, these luminaries agreed with President John Adams that the success of America’s republican form of government would prove directly dependent upon the VIRTUE and MORALITY of her people, and that virtue and morality are necessarily founded upon religion—by which all meant the CHRISTIAN RELIGION. All of these early thinkers were convinced that the state must be held accountable to the authority of a higher ethical and spiritual standard—the “Natural Law” or the “Law of Nature’s God”—if the human rights abuses they had observed in Europe and throughout history were to be hopefully avoided on this continent.

The founding statements and precepts of the universities will give you an idea of their ‘focus’. Harvard’s read like this in 1636: “Let every student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life [John 17:3] and therefore lay Christ at the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”

Princeton’s was a bit shorter, but no less direct: ” Cursed is all learning that is contrary to the Cross of Christ.” The Columbia University seal has “Yahweh” (in Hebrew) above her head; the quote, “In thy light we see light” (Psalm 36:9) at the top; “God is my light” (in Hebrew) on the ribbon; and 1 Peter 2:1-2 at the bottom (admonishment to desire the pure milk of God’s Word).

For all those who think there is a “separation of Church and State” (this was only a letter to the Danbury Baptists from Thomas Jefferson that promised that the Federal government would not interfere or regulate religious expression—meaning then the complete opposite of what it is currently purported to mean), Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence (representing Philadelphia), said this in 1799: “In contemplating the political institutions of the United States, I lament that we waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government. That is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity by the means of the Bible.” The Bible was a textbook in the schools until the mid 1800’s.
[For more of America’s “forgotten history,” visit: http://www.wallbuilders.com/ ].

Back in 1892, the National Education Association made this statement: “…if the study of the Bible is to be excluded from all state schools; if the inculcation of the principles of Christianity is to have no place in the daily program; if the worship of God is to form no part of the general exercises of these public elementary schools; then the good of the state would be better served by restoring all schools to church control.”

Another signer of the Declaration, Charles Carroll, made this statement in 1900: “Without morals, a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.”

Even great statesmen from other countries saw the ‘greatness’ in the founding principles of America. Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville said this in his 1835 volume titled, “Democracy in America”:  “The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and liberty so intimately in their minds that it is impossible to make them conceive one without the other.”

I thing John Adams said in best in 1799: “We have no government armed in power capable of contending in human passions unbridled by morality and religion… Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

Tragically, however, America has been quickly turning away from these principles. It is hard to put a finger on the exact reasons, but one clear element came as Darwinian evolutionary theory made its influence felt in the field of law. In 1869, Harvard Law School Dean Christopher Langdell advanced the view that law is not based upon the transcendent standard of “Nature’s God,” but is rather a fluid and constantly mutating body of “doctrine,” a set of purely human ideas that inevitably change “by slow degrees.” In other words, it was ‘posited’ that, law and ethics, like biological species, are continually “evolving.”

Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes expanded on this theme by declaring that the law is “simply an embodiment of the ends and purposes of a society at a given point in its history,” thus effectively granting to the state the power to establish society’s ethical norms. John Dewey implemented these ideas in the realm of public education. “There is no God,” said Dewey (nicknamed “The Architect of Modern Education”), “and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion.”

Dewey went on to say that, “…faith in the prayer-hearing God is an unproved and outmoded faith. There is no God and there is no soul. Hence, there are no needs for the props of traditional religion. With dogma and creed excluded, then immutable truth is also dead and buried. There is no room for fixed, natural law or moral absolutes.”

These statements, says Dr. Tackett, bring us to the present moment. Today, America has largely forgotten God and denied the validity of her biblically based Christian roots. As a result, we see the power of the state expanding in our time. This, too, is a manifestation of the perennial Cosmic Battle, which is always fought most fiercely in the social realm. Ultimately, we must face the fact that the American Experiment is likely to fail altogether if we do not take intentional and deliberate steps to salvage it.

In 1983, Alexander Solzhenitsyn said this: “More than half a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of older people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ ”

The Old Testament tells of the ‘straits’ the nation of Israel went through (Blessings; Satisfaction; Proud heart; Forgot God; Judgment; Destruction; Remembered God; Repented; and returned to God and was blessed again). In history, every country has followed a similar pattern and gone through a cycle of growth and decline. The concept of the “stages of a nation” was first recorded by Professor Alexander Tyler, who wrote about the fall of the Athenian republic over two thousand years before the time the thirteen colonies were still a part of England. The concept is:

“The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.”

So, where is America in this cycle of growth and decline? If analyzed accordingly, one could place the current state of America somewhere between abundance and apathy. Its spiritual faith era is obviously over, which would have hit its high point around the time of the Puritans. This spiritual faith brought courage to the New World dwellers and they found strength to challenge their oppressor.

However, the liberty era has also come and gone. America’s greatest point of liberty came during the Revolution against England and its liberation from the Motherland. America flourished during the abundant years [profiting off the labors of others] and was financially able to emerge a world super power, militarily. Afterward, America was the land of opportunity during the postwar years and this is when people flocked here to escape conquered leaders and dictators.

Thus, from abundance to selfishness, political agendas began to partition the country legally according to interest group and race. The ruling authorities made sure the deserving got theirs thus creating a second-class structure, and a third-class structure, and so on, engraving in stone the epitome of selfishness.

Satisfied with the way the social structure was arranged, American leaders and gatekeepers became complacent. “This will be America.” When the slighted began to be aware of their rights and were more educated toward what Democracy really, the ruling class tightened their words and actions with an apathetic overtone. Now, if you complain about anything you feel is wrong you are stigmatized as anti-American and or non-patriotic.

This brings us to dependency. How can a country become dependant, and on who or what? America will not become dependant on others or any one thing, but will be dependant on by many others, even around the world. What more testifies to this fact than America’s presence around the world as our ‘policing’ actions?

Once a country spreads itself too thin this leaves no room for domestic development, which further leads to chaos and up rise within the land. As far as values and principles are concerned, when America looks into the mirror it sees a leader, a rich and powerful leader. When the world looks at America, it sees either an international social worker or an enemy of all that is good and decent.

Bondage comes before and after the run of the historical cycle. Because of America’s inhumane beginning based on slaves, tobacco, rum, and thievery, it was in bondage to itself by the power of evil. And once passed through the cycle of growth and decline, it will fall by the consequences of that evil.

From beginning to end, Dr. Tackett seeks to communicate the thought that the “American Experiment” makes sense only when understood as the ‘brainchild’ of Christians who operated on the basis of a biblical worldview. Just as believers instigated the experiment, so believers—believers who care deeply and passionately about their country—if it is to survive and continue to succeed, they must carry it out.

SESSION #11 (Labor: Created to Create)

We now turn our attention to “Labor”—and by we are finished, we will have made a number of striking ‘discoveries’ about this system. We will find that creative labor is a vital element of God’s plan for the social realm; that work is not a “curse,” as it is often represented today, but an essential element of our humanity; and that it is, in fact, rooted in the nature of God Himself, the “Original Worker” (“By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work” – Genesis 2:2). We will also learn that the structure of this “sphere” parallels that of the others we have already visited in that it also appears ‘triune’ in design. And we will begin to see that the importance of work is closely related to our divinely given responsibility to care for the poor.

So then, “what is work?” Present that question to a cross-section of the population and you’ll probably receive a wide variety of answers. Unfortunately, within the context of contemporary culture it’s increasingly likely that a preponderance of these responses will be negative in tone. Many people use phrases such as “a bummer,” “what I have to do for money,” or “the only way to get to Friday,” to describe their feelings about work.

In this lesson, Dr. Tackett makes the case that these disparaging attitudes toward work are completely at odds with the view of it in the Bible. He even goes so far as to argue that they can be interpreted as yet another manifestation of the “Cosmic Battle”—in other words, that they are destructive lies.

Far from being a curse, creative labor is a glorious privilege. It flows out of the heart of God Himself, who labored six days to bring the world into existence, stamped His inventive and energetic image upon mankind, and placed Adam in the garden to tend it, beautify it, and increase its productivity. The creativity of man, then, while subject to the effects of the fall, is nevertheless a mirror image of the creativity of God. It is designed to be a source of JOY so fulfilling and wonderful that the Lord deemed it necessary to give us the fourth commandment in order to insure that we would set our work aside and rest at least one day a week!

This sphere, like that of the family, the church, and the state, is founded upon relationships. These relationships, which are ordered according to scriptural principles [e.g., Ephesians 6:5-9], fit the general triune pattern we have observed in other areas. God has granted the stewardship of His material goods to owners; and these owners are in turn accountable to Him for the use of His “stuff” and responsible for the welfare and productivity of the workers who operate under their direction and authority. Within this sphere, which Dr. Tackett calls the “engine room of culture,” wealth is generated that has the potential to meet the physical needs of mankind; and the responsibility for the compassionate use of this wealth, he argues, falls primarily upon the shoulders of those who are engaged in the field of ‘labor’.

So, how important is “labor”? Well, it provides your food, clothes, housing, medicine, transportation, communication, utilities…it funds everything! (It can also be noted that it ‘funds’ drugs, abortion, gambling, pornography, genetic engineering, ‘Enron’, and many other things).

Dr. Tackett then presented the “Seven Economic Principles.”

1) All things belong to God [Psalm 50:7-12].
2) God appointed man to be a creative steward of His goods with ‘ownership’ rights [Genesis 1:28].
3) Theft of another’s goods is wrong…and coveting another’s goods is wrong [Exodus 20:16,17].
4) Skills and abilities to work come from God [Exodus 35:30-33, 35].
5) Work is profitable, good, and to be pursued—laziness is not [Proverbs 10:4, 14:23,  28:19, 2 Thes 3:10].
6) Love God and not your goods [Matthew 6:19-20, 21, 24].
7) Be compassionate and generous with your goods to those in need [Leviticus 19:10, Ephesians 4:28, 1 John 3:17].

God, having stamped his creative image upon man, graciously grants His stewards the privilege to be creative and manage some of His property, which they may lose (often because of sin) or multiply (often because of hard labor) and out of which they are responsible to be generous to the poor. “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses” [Proverbs 28:27], and “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” [Proverbs 29:7].  God has a special place in His ‘heart’ for the underprivileged and outcast!

As a special sub-heading of this topic, Dr. Tackett also considered the implications of this discussion for media and the creative arts. Here, too, there is a fundamental “truth issue” at stake; for under the sovereignty of God and His eternal ethical standard, beauty in the arts should be consistent with goodness and truth. This is a subject of special concern in a time like ours when, as Dr. Francis Schaeffer averred, “Whoever controls the media controls culture.” Within this context, it is imperative that Christians begin to make their influence felt in the field of creative art.

There is an example of this that we can use to show this—from the Middle Ages, no less! In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, and the first book printed was the Bible. Ten years later, the total number of books went from a total of 50,000, to over 10 million!  Gutenberg had said that he believed God had providentially giving him this “Kingdom tool” to be able to spread the Gospel throughout the world. “Religious truth is imprisoned in a small number of manuscripts, which confine instead of spread this public treasure. Let us break the seal which binds these holy things; let us give wings to Truth in order that she may win every soul that comes into the world by her word, no longer written at vast expense, but multiplied everlastingly by a machine which never wearies”…”Through it, God will spread His Word; a spring of pure truth shall flow from it; like a new star it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and a cause a light hithertofore unknown to shine among men.”

Dr. Tackett also talked about the concept of if beauty is “relative,” and what “standard” can one use to determine it. He noted that Psalm 101:3 says that one should not set before our eyes any vile thing—suggesting that our conscience is a pretty good ‘gauge’ of what beautiful is and isn’t.

Dr. Tackett also noted that today’s ‘media’ has overwhelming presence and power. The former director of marketing of Tommy Hilfiger, Gordon Pennington, stated this about its presence: “Western society sees over 60,000 audio and visual advertising images daily.” Francis Schaeffer, the author of “How Should We Then Live” (ed. highly suggested reading), said this about its power: “Art and media are the means and bridge over which the current philosophy of the philosophers reaches the general culture.” Then Schaeffer concluded with, “Whoever controls the media controls the culture.” A pretty powerful statement, and VERY TRUE today!

Participants on this tour may find themselves challenged—in some cases uncomfortably so—in the area of their personal views of work. It may be important to handle the discussion in such a way that they will be gently encouraged to explore the joy of engaging in creative labor rather than made to feel guilty about having a “TGIF” attitude toward the working week. It’s also worth noting that Dr. Tackett’s ideas about compassion and relief for the poor – namely, that labor needs to create job opportunities for the needy rather than leaving this area of concern solely to the state—may become the occasion of some lively political and social debate.

SESSION #12 (Community and Involvement: God Cares, Do I?)

For this final ‘installment’ of our “worldview tour,” we will gaze upon the ‘face’ of God as it is revealed to us in the last of the six “social” ‘spheres’: the sphere of Community and Involvement. Here, perhaps more than in any other sphere or field of inquiry, we will have an opportunity to draw near to the Creator and learn what it is that has compelled Him to draw near to us. We will find that the God of the Scriptures is in fact the Lord of the lonely, the Savior of the outcast, the Defender of the defenseless, and the Sustainer of all who find themselves in need. Our ‘call’ is to become like Him by discovering what it means to not only love Him, but to love our neighbor.

Involvement in this sphere—the sphere of community outreach, practical service, and active love expressed in Christian charity—has been the distinguishing hallmark of the Church for many centuries. For a number of reasons, says Dr. Tackett, it has fallen into neglect in our day. Not only that, but the general call for involvement in culture at large, in all of the spheres, has actually become a matter of debate in some contemporary Christian circles. Yet, a careful examination of Scripture will reveal that believers have a mandate to reclaim their place in this important arena. We dare not, like Jonah, try to escape God’s call to be involved. Over and over again, the Scripture clearly presents the perplexing reality that God entrusts us with carrying out His mission and purpose with the world. We cannot deny the link and dependency God has created between His divine plan and the faithfulness with which His followers embody biblical truth in their behavior and reflect the heart of Jesus in their lives.

So, what is the heart of Jesus? This is not a difficult question to answer. In Matthew 11:28-29, Christ tells us plainly that He is gentle and humble in heart. The heart of Jesus stands radically opposed to the principle of “survival of the fittest.” It identifies closely with the plight of the weak and disenfranchised. It is a heart that compels Him to wash the feet of others and lay down His life for His friends. In doing these things, Jesus not only becomes our example—He also reveals to us the deepest concerns of His Father in heaven [John 14:9].

In the final analysis, we must realize that this is why Jesus sums up the entire law in two “Great Commandments”: “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself” [Matthew 22:36-40]. Here at the end of our tour we come back again to the great fountainhead and source of all truth, the divine nature itself. “God is love,” writes the apostle John, “and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” [1 John 4:16]. And love, in the practical sense, means being a good neighbor to the people around us—like the Samaritan in Christ’s famous parable [Luke 10].

If God cares enough to get involved with the needs of people, we need to care and get involved as well. This is the thrust of Dr. Tackett’s message. So forceful is his presentation of this concept that it is almost certain to impact participants at a deep emotional level. When it does, they will probably ask the question that has been asked so many times before: “What should I do?” At this point it will be important to emphasize the thought that active love is not a matter of following a “to-do checklist” or establishing a system of “rules” or “simple steps.” Instead, it is a question of developing an attitude of humility, openness, sensitivity, and creative compassion. It is a matter of using our God-given gifts and talents in the service of others and pursuing the passions He has instilled in our hearts.

So then, what is ‘truth’, and what/who should be the ‘source’ of that truth? Hopefully, this ‘course’ has given you some solid ‘evidence’ that the ‘God of the Bible’ is the Creator of all things, and is VERY INTERESTED in having a PERSONAL relationship with humans—and SPECIFICALLY YOU!!!

God has ‘revealed’ Himself to man “generally” in His creation, and “specifically” in His written Word (the Bible). “I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’ All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations” [Isaiah 65:1-2].

God then told us what ‘kind’ of a God He is: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing” [Matthew 23:37].

The God tells us His ‘heart’: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” [Matthew 11:28-29]. God also ‘longs’ for us to be TRANSFORMED into His ‘likeness”:  “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” [2 Corinthians 3:18].

So, my question to you is, DO YOU BELIEVE that God is the Creator, and His Son, Jesus, is the only ‘way’ we can get to heaven and enjoy eternal life?

If not, I would like to encourage you to do whatever you need to determine this for yourself, once and for all. Then, if you do believe Jesus is God—and put your trust in Him and receive Him as your Lord and Savior—it will TRANSFORM your ‘todays’, but more importantly your ‘TOMORROWS’!

[For more info on if Jesus is the only way to God, visit this link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm pres/sp q6 d1 1of10.html ].

[Excerpts from: Dr. Del Tackett; The Truth Project]

If you would like to investigate further “The Truth Project,” visit the following link:

Soli Deo Gloria,

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v123) for MAY 2009
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net


“The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” [Herbert Agar]

“Not being known doesn’t stop the truth from being true.” [Richard Bach]

“You never find yourself until you face the truth.” [Pearl Bailey]

“Falsehood is cowardice, the truth courage.” [Hosea Ballou]

“Man can certainly keep on lying… but he cannot make truth falsehood. He can certainly rebel… but he can accomplish nothing which abolishes the choice of God.” [Karl Barth]

“Truth, though it has many disadvantages, is at least changeless. You can always find it where you left it.” [Phyllis Bottome]

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.” [John Calvin]

“Truth, of course, must of necessity be stranger than fiction; for we have made fiction to suit ourselves.” [G. K. Chesterton]

“The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.” [Winston Churchill]

“God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please—you can never have both.” [Ralph Waldo Emerson]

“Truth hurts—not the searching after; the running from!” [John Eyberg]

“Wisdom is found only in truth.” [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

“First and last, what is demanded of genius is love of truth.” [Johann Wolfgang von Goethe]

“Truth consists of having the same idea about something that God has.” [Joseph Joubert]

“Search for the truth is the noblest occupation of man; its publication is a duty.” [Madame de Stael]

The truth is on the march and nothing will stop it. [Emile Zola]


“Truth is meant to save you first, and the comfort comes afterward.”
[Georges Bernanos]

Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. [John 18:38]

Note: Jesus actually ‘answered’ Pilate’s question before he asked it . . . [John 18:37] “In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”


Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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