William J. Stewart
Advertising Standards Canada is a
…non-profit self-regulating body created in 1957 to ensure integrity and viability of advertising in Canada.1
A recent ASC TV ad has a painter working diligently on a masterpiece. It is later pictured in a gallery, priced at $14,000,000. It is titled, “The Pensive Blizzard,” and is nothing more than a white canvas. The commercial closes with the slogan, “Creativity is subjective, The truth isn’t.”
What a great statement! As much as we like to be entertained, we want advertisers to be honest with us. We do not want to be misinformed, misled or taken advantage of. We understand there is a difference between truth and falsehood, and we want the truth.
I wish people had the same desire for truth in religion that they have when it comes to advertising. Sadly, many people are accustomed to accepting whatever their religious leaders say without question. And even if they see the differences between what Pastor A and Pastor B say, the majority of religious folks are willing to accept the diversity in doctrine, even to the point of celebrating it. The concept of “truth” in religion is foreign to some.
Consider some characteristics of truth:
Truth is absolute, not relative. It does not change with the turning of the wind. It is not dependent upon or moved by other factors. It is a fact in and of itself.
Truth is universal. Where you are, when you are or who you are does not change truth. The truth is the same for everyone. It is objective, not subjective. What is true for one is true for all, otherwise it is just opinion.
Truth is exclusive. If something is true, it leaves no room for different ideas on the same topic to be true as well.
Consider an example we should all be able to agree on. 2+2=4. Regardless the direction of the wind, noon or at midnight, in Japan or in Peru, whether you are good at math or not, 2+2 is always 4. That’s the truth.
In John 17:17, Jesus said to the Father, “Sanctify them by Your word. Your word is truth.” God’s word is absolute, universal and exclusive. God’s word is not open to interpretation. We need to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). The message of the Bible does not change from this group to that group, let alone from this person to that person. There is one truth, of which Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32).
I chatted with a preacher years ago who held some positions that I believe to be unbiblical. As we discussed the nature of truth, I used the 2+2 illustration. He reasoned, “If we have 2.4+2.4, each of those round down to 2, but when we add them, we get 4.8, which rounds up to 5. So, 2+2 can equal 5.” Friends, we’ve got no business rounding off God’s word.
How serious is this? If you get taken by false advertising, you may be cheated out of your money. That is certainly no fun, and depending on the amount, can be devastating. However, much worse than that, if you get taken by false doctrine, you will be cheated out of salvation. Listen to Paul,
Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. … Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head… (Colossians 2:8, 18-19)