David Limbaugh, New York Times bestselling author and lawyer has a new book out in which he seeks to apply his legal acumen to make the case that the gospels serve as conclusive evidence of the life and work of Jesus Christ.
The following excerpt on Christianity and objective truth comes from his just released, "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."
Overall, the existence of objective truth is essential to Christianity because the reality of its truth claims is essential. If Christianity is not objectively true, and if Christ is not "the Truth," then Christianity is a sham. Unfortunately, the challenge of proving Christianity's truth claims becomes more difficult when the concept of truth itself is under attack. But thankfully, as we shall see, attacking the concept of truth is logically self-defeating.
Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer was ahead of his time in recognizing the dangers of postmodernism and moral relativism. Writing in 1982, he noted that people were looking at truth differently. Young people in Christian homes were trained in the "old framework of truth," he observed, but when they entered society at large they became confused and overwhelmed by newer alternatives. This confusion spread throughout our entire culture, affecting not only children but pastors, Christian educators, evangelists, and even missionaries. With alarm Schaeffer wrote, "So this change in the concept of the way we come to knowledge and truth is the most crucial problem, as I understand it, facing Christianity today."
Dr. Carl F.H. Henry echoes that lament. "No fact of contemporary Western life is more evident than its growing distrust of final truth and its implacable questioning of any sure word," he argues. "The prevalent mood, as Langdon Gilkey tells us, is skeptical about all formulations of ultimate coherence or ultimate meaning, speculative as well as theological,' and 'doubts the possibility of philosophical knowing and religious faith.'"
[sharequote align="center"][T]he existence of objective truth is essential to Christianity[/sharequote]
People used to unquestioningly share the same presuppositions about the existence of absolutes and absolute truths. "They took it for granted that if anything was true, the opposite was false," Schaeffer contends. But there has been a radical change in the very concept of truth. "Wherever you look today, the new concept holds the field. ... On every side you can feel the stranglehold of this new methodology ... the way we approach truth and knowing." Sadly, however, many people aren't even aware they are succumbing to this intellectual and moral nihilism.
I personally have found this to be true, having encountered people who maintain that two mutually contradictory propositions can both be true, or that the competing truth claims of various religions can all be reconciled in a mythical world where faux tolerance and blinding pluralism are the supreme values. They often defend their outlook as an expression of individualism, with arguments such as, "I don't feel comfortable when you talk about 'truth' per se. What is true for you may not be true for me." ...
The first inklings of postmodernism are sometimes attributed to German skeptic Friedrich Nietzsche. Proclaiming "the death of God," Nietzsche criticized Enlightenment philosophers for retaining Christian moral principles and Christianity's belief in an orderly, rational universe even as they expunged God from their belief systems. I believe Nietzsche was on to something here, for modern anti-theists such as Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens often argued that man can be moral on his own without having to borrow from Christianity, which they blamed, with other religions, for much of the evil and violence throughout world history.
Ravi Zacharias argues that postmodernism began in the Garden of Eden, when the tempter asked, "Has God really said this?" This is when man first ignored God's word and took it upon himself to become the authority. And Pontius Pilate certainly foreshadowed postmodern thought when he asked Jesus, "What is truth?" ...
Prominent New York Times columnist Tom Friedman once wrote that we all worship the same God through our different histories, languages and cultures. I'm amazed by this intellectual laziness; if Christianity's major truth claims are true, then the major truth claims of other religions must be false whenever they contradict Christianity's claims. ...
Adherents of some other religions believe God is impersonal, meaning they deny the Christian contention that He is personal. No religion other than Christianity believes that God is triune, therefore all other religions have the exclusive belief that God is not triune. Some religions and belief systems maintain that man is inherently good by nature, but Christianity teaches that man, though born in God's image, is fallen. None of these contradictory claims can be reconciled. ...
Though Christianity does assert exclusive truth claims, it is not intolerant of other faiths; it does not command the mistreatment of non-Christians or the infringement of their religious freedom. Some Christians may be disrespectful at times, as we are all human, but nothing in the gospels encourages the mistreatment of non-believers.
Nor is Christianity unloving simply because it teaches Jesus is the only way. Though perhaps some Calvinists would object to this -- and I have great respect for them -- I believe that everyone is on an equal footing in Christianity. One may be born into a Christian family, but that doesn't make him a Christian -- he has to personally accept Christ. That being said, everyone is invited and welcome. Christ, the Good Shepherd, doesn't want to lose any of his sheep. God rejoices more over finding one lost sheep than over the ninety-nine He still has (Luke 15:4). He is ecstatic at the return of the prodigal son and lovingly embraces him. Christ says that He is the only way to God, but we are all welcome, no matter what gender we are, what race, what ethnicity, or what culture. "Seek me," He says, "and you will find me."