An August 31, 2021 report from the Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University entitled “What Does It Mean When People Say They are ‘Christian’?”[i] presents disturbing evidence about the spiritual condition of Americans who say they are “Christian.” The report identifies the following five categories of “Christians:” (1) people who call themselves “Christians;” (2) people who self-identify as “born again Christians;” (3) people who self-identify as “evangelical Christians;” (4) people whose theological beliefs establish them as “born again Christians;” and (5) people who possess a biblical worldview[ii] and who the report refers to as “Integrated Disciples.”
As you can imagine, the theological views can vary between the people in these categories. Many of these folks should examine themselves to see if they are saved using my The Salvation Meter book.[iii]
The most shocking data comes from the purportedly most committed category of Christians, i.e., the “Integrated Disciples.” Integrated Disciples comprise only 6% of the adult population in America and only about 9% of people who claim to be “Christian.” Integrated Disciples are “cream of the crop” evangelical Christians. There are four biblically incorrect views that a meaningful number of the “cream of the crop” evangelical Christians believe. In this article, I discuss the first unbiblical view: there is no absolute moral truth.
SHOCKING NEWS – THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE MORAL TRUTH ACCORDING TO 25% OF THE “CREAM OF THE CROP” EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANS
25% of the “cream of the crop” evangelical Christians, i.e., “Integrated Disciples,” believe there is no absolute moral truth! Such a belief is in complete contradiction to biblical teachings. When about one-quarter of the “cream of the crop” evangelical Christians have no absolute moral compass, it is no wonder that the American evangelical Christian church has lost its way.
A Definition of Morals and Truth
The gotquestions.com website[iv] defines morals and truth as follows:
Morals are our definitions of right and wrong: the lines separating good behavior from evil behavior. Morals are not an explanation of how things necessarily are, but a description of how things ought to be. This implies a level of obligation. Labelling something “moral” means we ought to actively pursue it, while something “immoral” ought to be actively avoided. When we call something “moral,” we associate it with concepts such as “good,” “right,” “proper,” “honorable,” or “ethical.” The nature of morality also means that the arrangement of those moral lines—the way in which those concepts are arrayed—is itself a moral imperative, since that which is “not moral” is to be actively opposed.
Truth is our definition of reality: the lines separating what is real from what is not real. Truth is an explanation of how things really are, not how we wish they were or even how they ought to be. When we refer to “truth,” we evoke concepts such as “actual,” “real,” “factual,” “genuine,” or “existing.” The nature of truth means that which is untrue, or false, either does not exist or cannot happen. Truth is its own imperative: a person can either accept it or reject it, but it cannot be altered by opinions.
On the surface, morality and truth seem to occupy separate spheres. Truth describes what “is,” and morality describes what “ought to be.” Speaking of “moral truth” implies a combination of those two ideas. A moral truth would be right and good, as well as actual and real. Of course, since “what is” and “what ought” are not necessarily identical, the question arises whether “moral truth” can exist in a meaningful way, and what it would look like.
As it turns out, understanding morality requires a similar approach as any other set of facts: it is either objective or subjective. Objective morality—also labelled “absolute morality”—implies something fixed according to an unchanging perspective. Objective moral principles are linked to an unmoving, universal point of reference. Subjective morals—also called “relativism”—are linked to some changing, shifting, or preference-based perspective.
The Bible Teaches that There is Absolute Moral Truth
Scripture teaches that there is absolute moral truth. For example, in the Old Testament Jeremiah 10:10a (NASB95) reads:
10a But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King.
Referring to Jeremiah 10:10a, one commentator[v] expands on the expression “the true God” when he writes [boldfacing added]:
10. true God—literally, “God Jehovah is truth”; not merely true, that is, veracious, but truth in the reality of His essence, as opposed to the “vanity” or emptiness which all idols are (Je 10:3, 8, 15; 2 Ch 15:3; Ps 31:5; 1 Jn 5:20).
The Pulpit Commentary[vi] reads:
Ver. 10.—The true God; literally, a God in truth, the accusative of apposition being chosen instead of the usual genitive construction, to emphasize the idea of “truth.”
Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers[vii] reads [boldfacing in the original]:
(10) The Lord is the true God.—Literally, Jehovah is the God that is Truth. The thought expressed is that for which St. John, as indeed the LXX. does here, uses the word alēthinos (John 17:3; 1John 5:20), Truth in its highest and most perfect form. So “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Matthew Henry[viii] writes [boldfacing added]:
(2.) His verity is as evident as the idol’s vanity, v. 10. They are the work of men’s hands, and therefore nothing is more plain than that it is a jest to worship them, if that may be called a jest which is so great an indignity to him that made us: But the Lord is the true God, the God of truth; he is God in truth. God Jehovah is truth; he is not a counterfeit and pretender, as they are, but is really what he has revealed himself to be; he is one we may depend upon, in whom and by whom we cannot be deceived.
In the New Testament, Jesus made it clear that truth exists when He said per John 17:3 (NASB95), which reads:
3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.
The NASB95 translates the Greek adjective alēthinos as “true.” It pertains to being real and not imaginary—‘real, really, true, truly.[ix] Another lexicon[x] defines it as pertaining to being in accord with what is true, true, trustworthy. God is true and trustworthy, and pertains to reality There is absolute moral truth.
Jesus described Himself as “the truth” when He said per John 14:6 (NASB95):
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth [aletheia], and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
Likewise, the Apostle John wrote John 17:17 (NASB95), which reads:
17 “Sanctify them in the truth [aletheia]; Your word is truth [aletheia].
One resource[xi] defines aletheia (truth):
1 objectively. 1A what is true in any matter under consideration. 1A1 truly, in truth, according to truth. 1A2 of a truth, in reality, in fact, certainly. 1B what is true in things appertaining to God and the duties of man, moral and religious truth.
What corresponds to reality is absolute and not subject to variation. Reality is real and cannot be twisted and deformed like a nose of wax.
Dr. Wayne Grudem[xii]identifies truthfulness as one of God’s communicable attributes [boldfacing in the original]:
5. Truthfulness (and Faithfulness). God’s truthfulness means that he is the true God, and that all his knowledge and words are both true and the final standard of truth. The term veracity which means “truthfulness” or “reliability,” has sometimes been used as a synonym for God’s truthfulness.
Floyd Barackman[xiii] writes correctly that one of God’s attributes is truthfulness, which is the quality of being true. This attribute functions to make God to be true in His nature, words, and works. Barackman points out three results of God’s truthfulness.
First, one result of God’s truthfulness is the qualities of God’s nature are genuine. See John 17:3 and 1 John 5:20.
Second, a second result of God’s truthfulness is God’s words are true. After citing John 17:17, Barackman writes:
His words are true in the sense that all that He says is factual and without error and all that He inspires men to speak or write is without error. His words are absolutely trustworthy (see Psalm 19:7-11). God cannot lie (see Titus 1:2).
Third, a third result of God’s truthfulness is God’s works are real. See Psalm 33:4; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 16:7. Barackman writes:
All that He does is real. It is never deceptive, fraudulent, or something other than what He says about it or what it appears to be.
The Bible teaches that there is absolute moral truth.
The Bible teaches the existence of absolute moral truth. God would not be God unless He defines absolute moral truth.
It is shocking that one-quarter of the “cream of the crop” evangelical Christians, i.e., Integrated Disciples, believe there is no absolute moral truth. They believe that there is no reliable standard for living! It should not be a surprise that so many churches teach theological principles that are “off the rails.”
IF YOU ARE UNSURE ABOUT YOUR SALVATION
If you are unsure about your salvation, you need to check out my new (published in October, 2021) book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth (book link at Xulon Press: https://www.xulonpress.com/bookstore/bookdetail.php?PB_ISBN=9781662828638 ). At Amazon the book link is https://www.amazon.com/Salavation-Meter-Biblical-Self-Diagnostic-Spiritual/dp/1662828632 . I also have website in which I am updating the content in the book. The link to my website for the book is https://thesalvationmeter.com .
IF YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, your eternal destination is hell unless God intervenes. But, your destiny can change. Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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[i] A PDF version of the Report is at the following link: CRC_AWVI2021_Release06_Digital_01_20210831.pdf (arizonachristian.edu).
[ii] The definition of a “biblical worldview” is not concrete. In a Barna report dated May 12, 2014 entitled “Only Half of Protestant Pastors Have a Biblical Worldview” (link: Only Half Of Protestant Pastors Have A Biblical Worldview – Barna Group), a biblical worldview was defined as:
Defining such a worldview as believing that absolute moral truth exists, that it is based upon the Bible, and having a biblical view on six core beliefs (the accuracy of biblical teaching, the sinless nature of Jesus, the literal existence of Satan, the omnipotence and omniscience of God, salvation by grace alone, and the personal responsibility to evangelize), (May 12, 2004) link:
The definition from Barna in a May 9, 2017 Barna Research report (link: Competing Worldviews Influence Today’s Christians – Barna Group) reads:
Barna defines “biblical worldview” as believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.
A more recent definition from the Center for Biblical Worldview (link: Center For Biblical Worldview (frc.org)) reads:
The mission of the Center for Biblical Worldview is to equip Christians with a biblical worldview and train them to advance and defend the faith in their families, communities, and the public square. We believe a person exhibits a biblical worldview when their beliefs and actions are aligned with the Bible, acknowledging its truth and applicability to every area of life.
The last definition is less than precise so I have taken the 2014 and 2017 definitions to define a biblical worldview to comprise the following components: (1) that absolute moral truth exists and it is based on the Bible (66 books); (2) the Bible is totally accurate in all of the principles it teaches; (3) Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; (4) salvation is by grace alone so that a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; (5) Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; (6) there is a personal responsibility to evangelize; and (7) God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today. It is puzzling that the death, burial, and physical bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is missing from these components, but possibly it is assumed in the fourth component.
[iii] My book can be purchased through the Christian Publisher Xulon Press: Author Steve Belsheim – Christian Publisher Xulon Press or through Amazon: The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth: Belsheim, Steve, Mangrum, Josh: 9781662828638: Amazon.com: Books.
[v] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 517). Logos Research Systems, Inc.
[vi] Spence-Jones, H. D. M., ed. (1909). Jeremiah (Vol. 1, p. 269). Funk & Wagnalls Company.
[vii] (link: Jeremiah 10:10 Commentaries: But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation. (biblehub.com))
[viii] Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 1245). Hendrickson.
[ix] See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 666). United Bible Societies.
[x] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 43). University of Chicago Press.
[xi] Strong, J. (1995). In Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.
[xii] Grudem, W. A. (2004). Systematic theology: an introduction to biblical doctrine (p. 195). Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House.
[xiii] Floyd Barackman, Practical Christian Theology: Examining the Great Doctrines of the Faith, (2001), p. 51, Kregel Publication, Grand Rapids, MI 49501.