You Can Handle the Truth: An Introduction

I like movies — good movies! Now I’m not the kind of a person who simply likes to go see a show just to see a show. I like a compelling story and fine acting. In addition, riveting dialogue will also enhance the movie-going experience. 

A Few Good Men is a 1992-film about the trial of two U.S. Marines accused of murder while serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In my humble estimation, it’s quite a powerful movie! One of the main themes highlighted in the story is the search for the truth – what really happened on that Marine base?

And arguably the most memorable line from the film is in the climactic scene when Colonel Nathan Jessup, played by Jack Nicholson, erupts in the courtroom, yelling at the prosecuting attorney, played by one Tom Cruise. Colonel Jessup, in that moment of rage, screams, “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!”

Whether you’ve seen the movie or are familiar with that line, I want you to know that as a reader of this devotional, I understand you want truth. So, to that I say, “You want the truth? You CAN handle the truth!”

You read correctly. You CAN handle the truth!

What exactly am I getting at? We’re going to begin a short series on worldviews, because as witnesses for Jesus, we need to understand everybody believes in someone or something. And as we better understand those we’re engaging in the evangelistic enterprise, the more effective we can be in answering questions and objections. Additionally, as we learn someone’s worldview, I hope we will be informed so as to effectively contextualize the gospel message without compromising the gospel message.

To begin, I want us to understand there are only a handful of basic worldviews. Familiarity with those worldviews will help us as we seek to understand our audience and share truth with them. 

What is truth? Pilate famously asked this question in John 18, while Jesus was on trial. Interestingly, Pilate was looking at the embodiment of truth, Jesus, who said, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). A simple definition of truth is that which corresponds with reality. Biblically, the psalmist wrote “the entirety of Your word is true” in Psalm 119:160. 2 Timothy 3:16 states: “All scripture is God-breathed,” while Jesus stated in John 17:17, “Thy Word is truth.”

Every worldview, religion and philosophy, by their very nature, make truth claims. And by the way, truth claims are mutually exclusive and exclude all other truth claims. So to say Christianity is mutually exclusive is true, but so are all other truth claims! And this truth is helpful when speaking with someone who complains Christianity is so exclusive and its’ adherents narrow-minded. 

In short, how do examine the truth claims of various worldviews? In simplest terms, we measure them against the Word of God. In another sense, we specifically can measure their value in a practical sense. A well-known Christian apologist noted every worldview can be measured by how it addresses these questions related to origins, meaning, morality, and destiny:

  • Where did we come from? 
  • How does our worldview provide meaning? 
  • What moral framework do we have? 
  • What is our ultimate destiny?

We know our Christian worldview best answers these foundational life questions. We also  need to know what we believe and why we believe, and how to articulate our belief to others. Yet, as we seek to reach people for Christ, it’s good to find out what they believe and why they believe it.

Why? Because an informed witness will enable us to be a more winsome and effective witness.

The basic worldviews we’ll examine over the next several weeks include:

  • Naturalism
  • Pantheism
  • Theism
  • Spiritism & Polytheism
  • Postmodernism

Would you believe that every person fits generally into one of these categories? This understanding will help inform our testimony, as an effective witness for Jesus will be an informed witness, as we’ve mentioned. Asking questions and actively listening will enhance that information process.

As we briefly touch upon worldview basics, my hope is that you’ll be edified in understanding and encouraged to engage in your own fact-finding mission – to learn about the beliefs of those in your sphere of influence who’ve not yet met Christ. To be sure, there are books and books on each of these worldviews. And due to the limited nature of this devotional, these submissions are only introductory in nature. Yet I hope they will be helpful to you in your walk and witness.

So, you want the truth? Of course you do. And you know what – You can handle the truth!

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

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