Thursday, June 18, 2009

Truth, Urban Legends, and “Isms”

I’d like to take just a minute to discuss the topic of truth.

Under the guise of truth, Christians have communicated such things as the legend of Darwin’s deathbed conversion,[1] defended the historicity of the Gospels through forgeries as the Pilate letter,[2] or argued for the inspiration of Scripture on the basis of imbedded Bible codes.[3] They’ve also employed sloppy journalism to circulate an endless variety of resurrection stories.[4]

This kind of creative story telling is pandemic, not just today in Christianity; it is pandemic in the broader culture. It runs the gamut from NBC and their report on exploding General Motors trucks[5] all the way to such things as Jane Roe and her fabricated story of rape, which by the way was encouraged by pro-abortion leaders and became instrumental in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 decision known as Roe v. Wade[6].

Look, in an age in which internet fabrications “travel halfway around the world before truth has had a chance to put its boots on,”[7] the Apostle Paul in his words in Ephesians ring through the centuries with urgency as we as Christians are called to “stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist.” (Eph 6:14). Your waist is the center of your body, so too truth is central to a biblical worldview.

So often we ask what is truth? The reason we are asking that question is postmodern people are staring at truth and yet failing to recognize its identity. Truth, in its final analysis is an aspect of the nature of God himself. In other words, to put on the belt of truth is to put on Christ because Christ is truth (John 14:6) and we as Christians are called to be witnesses or bearers of truth.

Christianity is not right because it work pragmatically, or feel’s right subjectively or because it’s “my truth” relativistically. It’s true because it’s anchored in the objective verity of Jesus Christ. The Christian faith as Os Guinness has once said isn’t true because it works; it works because it’s true. It’s not true because we experience it; we experience it because it is true. It’s not simply “true for you” it’s true for any one who seeks in order to find “because truth is true even if nobody believes it” and a falsehood is false even if everyone holds to it. That’s why truth doesn’t yield to opinion or fashion or about being politically correct.[8] It’s anchored in the very one who spoke and the limitless galaxies leapt into existence.

Truth is at its core essential to a realistic worldview. The moment we drop the belt of truth, our view of reality becomes seriously skewed. When its buckle breaks reality becomes clouded and the unthinkable becomes normal. We live in that kind of a milieu today. This is actually precisely why we’ve developed a little resource called What is Truth? The Best of the Christian Research Journal. You can pick up a copy at our Website of or calling us at 1-888-700-0274.

[1] For further information see my entry in The Complete Bible Answer Book, Question 127 Did Darwin Have a Deathbed Conversion?

[2] Still widely circulated through The Archko Volume, compiled by W.D. Mahan, which contains all manner of fictional documents purporting the perspective of Jesus’ contemporaries, including Joseph and Mary, Herod Antipas, and Caiaphas. For the classic refutation, see Edgar J. Goodspeed, Modern Apocrypha: Famous “Biblical” Hoaxes (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1956).

[3] See Hank Hanegraaff, “Magic Apologetics” (

[4] For further information, documentation and discussion see my books, Counterfeit Revival and The Covering.

[5] Cited in Os Guinness, Time For Truth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000), 39. Guinness notes that these exploding trucks were later “acknowledged to be planned detonations” not accidents.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Adapted from quote attributed to Charles Haddon Spurgeon

[8] Guinness, Time for Truth, 79-80.


Boris said...

That the Bible is the Word of God is the most popular and absolutely false urban legend there is.

Anonymous said...

Boris, are you kicking against the goads? Your foot must hurt.

The Bible has continually shown itself to endure criticism over the centuries. It truly is God's revelation to man. Why fight it?


bossmanham said...

Wonderfully concise and informative post, Mr. Hanegraaff. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hank, I believe the author of the Archko Volumes is W D Mahan. Here is the header on for the book: "The Archko Volume or, The Archeological Writings of the Sanhedrim and Talmuds of the Jews (Paperback)
by William Dennes Mahan (Author), McIntosh (Translator), Twyman (Translator)"

Boris said...

You must be kidding. The Bible says that angels, demons and Satan exist among a multitude of other outrageous claims. Plus the Passover event never happened nor did any of the other events the Bible claims did. Not only that none of the major figures from Adam to Jesus mentioned in the Bible ever existed. The Bible unravels like a cheap sweater any place you tug on it.

Anonymous said...

Ask God to open your eyes and give you belief in Him. Remember, we only have so many years on this earth. Receive the grace of God and believe. Your anger at God will only consume you and you won't win. Why fight? God is good. Seek Him today.


Boris said...

In other words drink the Kool-Aid. No thanks.

Siarlys Jenkins said...

Boris, you are relying on translations of the Bible into English, into German, into French, into Spanish, into Latin, into Greek. You can find all kinds of distortions, errors, and outright lies that way. Indeed, it is true that Christians throughout the ages have debated with each other, even slaughtered each other, over words that do not remotely resemble what God actually spoke. Example: The original Hebrew says that God took Adam (not the man, humanity, in fact embodying both genders), took out one SIDE of The Adam, and from that side (not a rib) made woman. What was left over was man. Adam (humanity, made in the image of God), ish (man), isha (woman), three different concepts.

Now which Passover events are you saying never happened? If you mean those in the Gospels, it appears that some man later called Jesus did have a significant following among the Galileans and some Judeans. If you mean the Exodus from Egypt, archaeologists have that all wrong. Rameses II sent armies across most of Palestine, so he couldn't have been the Pharoah humbled by Moses. Look a little further back, you will find that the Middle Kingdom collapsed at the end of a period where significant Asian immigrant populations lived in the lower Nile Valley, and the destruction caused by their Exodus left a power vacuum filled by the Hyksos dynasty. Don't set up straw men to prove that the truth is somewhat different than the current falsehood.