With so much attention focused on political and social current events happening on multiple levels in our society today, and with social media very active on said events–it dawned on me this question, “Are we offering our opinions as truth?” As I began reading some of the social media comments and arguments that were posted on current events, I discovered that the short answer is quite obvious, because many of the respondents don’t necessarily think in detail about their responses or how it will be interpreted, as much as they do about simply getting to the point of what they have to say. However, I believe much to their surprise that many readers of their comments receive them as truth. That is, the reader holds their opinion as something that they have validated as a “known” acceptable view held by them or others, but not necessarily by the majority. Even if it’s held by the majority or not, it doesn’t make an opinion factual even if it’s interpreted correctly within its written or spoken context.
So, should a Christian offer an opinion in a news headline debate that does not glorify Christ? Does offering our opinion help the cause of Christ? Does our opinion represent what God wants for our life? Or does our opinion contradict the Word of God? These questions challenge us and puts us in the proverbial “rock-and-a-hard-place” position. On the one-hand, we should be making a difference to society by bringing others to Christ. But on the other hand, we also must guard our mind against the approach we take in order to deliver our view to a non-Christian audience. In the Book of Proverbs 13:3 it declares, “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” The truth of the word is spoken for the Christian community to maintain a voice for the Lord without compromising His message of salvation and hope. When we present the gospel to the world, it must be done in a way to bring the lost soul to Christ at the point where they are currently and not where we want them to be. It is the effect of the Word of God that brings them to saving faith. This is not done in an intimidating way, but should show them that they are depraved and need a Savior; then the truth of the gospel can take effect and convict them in their iniquity.
We can declare by the authority of sacred Scripture that the scripture is truth because God said it is truth. And since God cannot lie, then He is the only author of truth. Therefore, anything outside of God’s Word can be considered factual or true, but only in a non-biblical sense if it meets one or more of the following definitions. When used as a noun, it is defined as:
- Something that actually exist; reality
- Something known to exist or to have happened
- A truth known by actual experience or observation
- Something said to be true or supposed to have happen
When confronted with numerous choices given these definitions, context becomes the pivotal point in how our opinions are viewed. But the problem still remains that the sender of a message does not consider to what extent their opinions are received as truth or how they are defined. Thus, truth becomes relative, and once relative truth is introduced, it brings about obscurity, and obscurity breeds misinterpretation which leads to misunderstanding and ends in heated contention.
If we speak of the truth as relative, then we must also introduce the truth of God as being absolute since the two are diametrically opposed to each other, and no truth would exist without the absolute truth. Before we attempt to explore the depths to understanding our question above, let us also define what is meant by an opinion. According to Webster’s dictionary, an opinion is “a belief or judgment that rest on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty” or “a personal view, attitude or appraisal of something”. So, if an opinion when received is something that was “known” by the sender of the information to be true to them, otherwise they would not have said it, and if the definition of an opinion says that whatever the sender believes as “known” is in reality insufficient to produce complete certainty of what the sender says. Then, we must conclude that we are never certain that an opinion is ever true by definition. Furthermore, if our initial question of opinions being received as truth is simply centered on general subject matter, then an opinion is truth to the reader because it’s perceived that way, and not defined that way, because perception in societies view is the better part of reality.
Two famous men once wrote:
“ Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one” – Albert Einstein
“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions”– Leonardo Da Vinci
These quotes reflect two different men with two very different opinions, at two different times spoken in history. Mr. Einstein’s quote directly relates to how one perceives his or her surroundings as reality, which brings in the element of obscurity that we mentioned above and translates to relative truth. However, Mr. Da Vinci’s quote speaks to the more theological aspects of what results from how man deceives his own self by the uncertainty of his opinion. Keep in mind, that the quotes above do not reflect the longer view or beliefs held by either of these men. Proverbs 16:2 says “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but God weighs the spirit (motives).” And 2 Corinthians 10:5 states in part that, “Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalt itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
So, to be self – “anything” with a negative connotation is a direct exaltation against God’s knowledge due to man suffering from his own imaginations of self-truth. Absolute truth however, which has been attacked for years poses a threat to relative truth, because man’s Will seeks to control his own thoughts, deeds and actions. What the worldview wants to impose on absolute truth is to make the reality, or what we perceive as reality to be so ambiguous that it removes the idea of absolute truth altogether from any biblical statement concerning the Scriptures. John 17:17 reveals, Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth.” It’s this setting apart that God does for his people so they can keep the sanctity of sacred truth separate from general truth. Now if our initial question about opinions is centered on a biblical subject matter, then an opinion spoken with the intention of biblical context specific to the Scriptures, which is the only source of absolute truth, would therefore be classified as truth if spoken under the leadership and authority of the Holy Spirit. However, if we remove biblical truth as absolute, we will put the Scriptures on the shelf with all other book collections to be interpreted with any and all degrees of ambiguity. This will make biblical truth relative, which will distort absolute truth and make it the subject of an opinion. And since we are uncertain as to the
truth of our opinions, then this is why we should not offer opinions that lead to needless contentions as was the case in 1 Corinthians 1:10 15, “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it have been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you say, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Otherwise any should say that I had baptized in mine own name.”
As Christians, we should always be ready to give and answer as 1 Peter 3:15 says, “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that ask you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” Since we respond to what we know, that is, conscience knowledge or what we have heard, then our opinions would be more factual, if accurate, rather than truth base when it’s not Scriptural. So the next time we offer an opinion as truth if spoken outside of the biblical arena, we must insure that we are accurate in our presentation. This means that we take the time to research our subject matter and manage our decisions distinctly, tastefully and with dignity and respect.
Pastor Will Hardy, B.S. ThM, C.C.
True Worship Community Church