It appears that the church has almost whole-heartedly accepted the relativistic viewpoint of our society. The world today says “there are no absolutes.” Christians worship the Lord Jesus Christ, who proclaimed himself to be the Truth (John 14:6). How then is it that somebody can claim to be a Christian and yet reject the reality of absolute truth?
The church has lost a very important ability – the ability to think critically. Relativity has become interwoven into the fabric of the church. Scripture no longer portrays truth, but only opinion. People are free to talk about what a passage “means to them” but reject the idea that there is such thing as a wrong interpretation. Whatever is true for me is true for me, and that may very well be different than what is true for you. This is the heart of relativism.
The loss of the ability to think critically leads to the inability to discern truth and reject falsehood. It is a paradox that Christianity should lose its ability to discern truth. If we cannot discern truth, then we do no truly know the Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Critical thinking makes the assumption that one can find the right answer to a question or problem by sheer reasoning. However, as a Christian I do not view the Bible in a purely rationalistic sense either. I recognize that I serve a supernatural God who created the whole universe and thus stands outside the laws of science and sometimes even reason. Even so, I recognize that God has revealed himself to the human race through the very natural order which he created, and appeals to our minds. In fact, he commands us to worship him with our minds.
Therefore, using the mind that the Lord has given me to worship him with, and in accordance with my understanding that God Almighty is supernatural, I have come to these observations and conclusions:
1) Sometimes God works in ways we do not understand. Being supernatural, that is outside of the natural order of things, he has the ability to do the miraculous. Sometimes he works outside of our human logic. But he also has eternity in mind, and we do not. Sometimes the logical answer to the question “why” is “God knows and I do not.” It is logical to believe that a God bigger than the universe can work in ways we cannot understand.
2) There is a place for critical thinking in the church. However, I reject the positions of liberal theology, which try to rationalize everything supernatural and explain away the Scriptures (see point 1).
3) Time and time again in Scripture we are invited to think for ourselves, and in these invitations it is always implied that there is a correct answer to be found out.
4) Scripture makes many absolute statements, including the assertion that faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (John 14:6). Again, this asserts that there is a right way to salvation, and all others are false.
5) There is such thing as absolute truth. To assert that there are no absolutes is in itself an absolute statement, and thus stands in contradiction with the statement itself. Therefore it makes logical sense to view the reality of absolute truth
6) All this being said, it is reasonable to seek out that which is the truth. In the case of the church, it is our responsibility to know the Lord Jesus Christ as the Truth, and to acknowledge that his words are true. We may use our reason and logic to understand the words of Scripture, but we must never forget that the Author and Perfecter of our faith is supernatural. We must look to him to understand the words of the Scriptures, which he divinely inspired. We must understand that in every area of Scripture, God intended to say something specific to us. Through careful Bible study we must always strive to seek out what God is saying to his church. Only when we know this can we apply the passage to the different areas of our lives.