Australian evangelist John Smith asks whether we are abandoned to truth.

John Smith
John Smith

Contrary to what some people think, the Holy Spirit is not given to us to guide us into all ecstasy. According to John 16:13, He is given to guide us into all truth. In the generation in which we live, that is a frightening prospect. From South Africa to South Melbourne, people spend their time avoiding the truth. We avoid it personally. We'd rather live in fantasies for years, building up castles in the air at the risk of them crashing down and crushing us, than speak truth to one another.

We also avoid it corporately. America refuses to face the truth about itself - and more American Vietnam veterans have committed suicide since their return than died in active service in Vietnam. Australia refuses to face the truth about itself -and in a nation with 100,000 homeless people, we spend several million dollars on a flagpole for the new Parliament House.

We are cowards. We bury our heads in the sand because we don't want the exposure of truth. The Bible says: "whoever lives by the truth comes into the light"

(John 3:21). But people don't want to step into the light because then they would have to change. They just want to go on living their own lifestyles. Knowing the truth according to the Bible is not like the idiocy of Australian universities, where truth means you can play with words but it doesn't matter how screwed up your life is. You can be a Professor of Psychology and teach human relationships even though you've been through three marriages and all your kids hate you.

Truth, according to the Bible, is abandonment to reality, to morality and to costly love. It is one of the tragic facts of history that Christians have often run from truth as hard as anyone. Yet of all the people in the world, we ought to be those who pursue truth with all our hearts, whatever the cost.

I'm not talking about 'spiritual' truth. I'm talking about truth, period. All truth belongs to God - whether it's about faith or politics or economics, whether it's spoken by a Hindu or a Marxist or a Christian. Are you committed to truth? Are you prepared to be uncomfortable for truth? Are you ready to accept the dreadful feeling of angering your friends and embarrassing your family because you hold to something you've worked through and know is true?

Are you prepared to work for truth? People continually ask me: "Where do you get all your ideas?" From nearly 20 years of working and working, day after day, looking for truth. I've got into discussions and arguments, made preposterous statements to evoke responses, smashed my ideas like eggs against brick walls with people who have agreed with me and people who haven't - all to seek truth.

But so many of us aren't prepared to work, to be uncomfortable, to make sacrifices for truth. As William Sloane Coffin says, we want our answers clean, clear and easy. But Coffin continues: "it is not the task of the preachers to give their people what they want, rather to give them what they need. The only security in life lies in embracing its insecurities. "Faith in Christ, far from diminishing the risks, inspires the courage to take them on - all of them. Including the risk of intellectual insecurity. Commitment is healthiest when it is not without doubt but in spite of doubt." I don't care how much work it takes, or how unhappy it makes the situation, or how much it hurts; I want truth. What about you? CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.