What is Truth?
Richard M. Riss
Several decades ago, when Neo-Orthodoxy was seriously undermining
the Christian faith in some circles, Francis Schaeffer dealt
with this problem with tremendous effectiveness. He demonstrated
that the attempt of Neo-Orthodoxy to reconcile Christianity
with certain key aspects of the secular world-view had miserably
Neo-Orthodox theologians, such as Emil Brunner in The Divine-Human
Encounter, had hoped to reconcile their naturalistic viewpoints
with the Christian faith by recognizing the Bible as being
"true" in a religious sense, but not necessarily
true in its statements about the natural world. Within this
framework, if a passage in the Bible seemed to speak to you,
or touched you in some way (by the awakening of your conscience,
for example), then it was considered true in the sense that
you had an encounter with God; but it was not necessarily
accurate historically or scientifically.
With this viewpoint, they thought it would be possible to
discard the Biblical world view, disbelieving the miracles
recorded in the Bible, while holding to the "essence"
of Christianity. However, the claims of the Bible are true.
It does not merely contain the Word of God; rather, it is
the Word of God. All of the statements of the Bible carry
specific content, and that content is true.
There is more to truth than the mere communication of content.
Jesus said, "I am the ... truth." Neo-Orthodoxy
was wrong in dismissing the actual nature of Christian truth,
but was right in affirming that there is more to truth than
a collection of propositional statements. It is especially
important to bearth is in mind as we consider the Word of
God. The Word of God is the creative life force that brought
the entire universe into being. God spoke, and His creative
Word brought forth light. Both the heavens and the earth were
spoken into existence, and when He gave the Word, there was
We communicate by the exchange of information or ideas. But
this is not God's method of communicating. When He communicates,
He sends forth a Word that contains Himself within it. His
Word is "a part of Himself in living power filled with
light, vibrant life, and creative force. Thus, when His Word
comes to us, it is filled with the very life of God Himself.
Living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, the
Word of God brings to light the hidden things of the heart,
and changes the human personality to conform to the character
When God speaks, He gives Himself to us, but we need to allow
His Word to do its work within us when He speaks, and then
live in accordance with it. There is no greater