Why It Pays to Be Absolute about Truth

Even when everyone else is absolutely sure it doesn’t exist

(Image credit: Photo by Randy Jacob on Unsplash)

The idea of absolute truth has fallen on hard times. Claiming something is really true is not only unpopular, it is often considered foolish, arrogant, and even immoral. In such a hostile climate, many Christians are hesitant to pay the cultural price for clinging to the concept of absolute truth.

Why, then, would anyone still want to promote and defend such a notion? Much more can be said, but we will explore just four basic ideas that demonstrate why it pays significant dividends to uphold the idea of absolute truth.

1. It is philosophically congruent

First and foremost, when properly understood, the concept of truth possesses the character of being absolute. If something is genuinely true, it cannot simultaneously also be false or impossible. One of the great fallacies of our age is the self-refuting claim that there is no absolute truth. Is that absolutely true? If so, it self-destructs. It cannot be absolutely true that there is no absolute truth.

2. It provides assurance and security

When something is absolutely true, it is true whether or not anyone believes or is aware of it. Real truth is not subject to the whims of power, opinion, or the latest fad or fancy. It is reliable and has an enduring quality that transcends time and space, giving assurance and security in the midst of changing times and circumstances.

(Image credit: Photo by Ahmed Saffu on Unsplash)

3. Might does not become a right

On the other hand, when people abandon a commitment to absolute truth, they are far more likely to be taken in by whatever suits their fancy — even ideas and practices that end up being dangerous and damaging to personal and societal flourishing. In addition, the powerful are far more likely to actively promote and enforce their version of reality, especially when they are personally benefitted.
When people abandon a commitment to absolute truth, they are far more likely to be taken in by whatever suits their fancy
Without a concept of absolute truth, there can be no appeal to an external and reliable source of evaluation and accountability. It becomes power play against power play rather than a spirited exchange of ideas and the reasons for adhering to or rejecting them. Might becomes right, a source of oppression and greed.

4. It encourages genuine and fruitful exchange of ideas

This problem of oppressive power-plays leads to a key reason why it pays to be absolute about truth: it engenders the genuine and fruitful exchange of ideas. There is a critical need in our time for candid moral and intellectual debate. Contrary to the mantras of some, not all perspectives — religious or otherwise — are created equal. Some ideas, by their very nature, are worthy of rejection, not because they are culturally and politically unpopular, but because they do not stand up to the test of moral and intellectual scrutiny.

The bald exercise of power is a poor substitute for thoughtful and respectful discussion and debate over the things that matter most. But when concepts of truth are relegated to the category of “alternative facts,” and moral standards have been deemed “personal preferences,” there is little room for reasoned disagreement and genuine learning.

Conclusion: A bigot or not a bigot? – That is the question

No matter how loudly and adamantly postmodernists insist all truth is relative and not absolute, all normal people still maintain — justified or not — that what they believe is actually true. The problem is not in believing some things being true or false. What’s wrong is condemning a certain class of people for believing something solely because they believe differently than you.

As Greg Koukl (The Story of Reality, 24) puts it:

“Since everyone — religious person, atheist scientists, skeptic—believes his beliefs are true, it has always struck me as odd when some have been faulted simply for thinking their views correct. They’ve been labeled intolerant or bigoted for doing so. But what is the alternative? The person objecting thinks his own views correct as well, which is why he’s objecting. Both parties in the conversation think they’re right and the other wrong. Why, then, is only the religious person (usually) branded a bigot for doing so?”

Of course, the real question all of these raises is, how? How do we determine whether something is true, false, possible or impossible, likely or unlikely? I suggest we start a conversation about this and see where the truth might lead. I think that we will ultimately find that it absolutely pays to be absolute about truth.




即便从学校毕业了,我们继续在个人信仰及品格修为方面被测试。诗人写道,“上帝啊,祢试验我们,熬炼我们如熬炼银子。祢让我们陷入网罗,把重担压在我们的背上。祢让别人骑在我们的头上。我们曾经历水火,但祢带我们到达丰盛之地。” (诗篇66:10-12,新译本)。

是的, 神试验众人。 神藉着生命中的种种试验炼净我们归回神自己的形象样式。这些试炼或许包括身体抱恙、复杂的人际关系、个人经济或事业前景不明朗、还有齐家安老的挑战。我们得拖着不断耗损的身心寻找各种出路。是的,理智上,你我或许知道凡事必需信靠 神; 作为一介凡夫俗子,我们努力想理解这些试验/试炼背后的含义。


首先, 神的试验是为了塑造我们,叫我们成长。


被炼净的过程往往是痛苦的,但为了促进成长,也是必要的。许多属 灵的领袖经历痛苦的试验,并非由于失脚,而是 神要完全他们信心,并且在他们的生命里彰显祂的权能。

其次, 神的试验只论及格与否,不计分数。

若我们从中能更加忠心、(在真道上)站立得更稳、更爱人如己,即是通过试验。我们虽然不完美,却得以借着神的恩典持之以恒。我们若失败了,那是因为对 神、对人心生苦毒。我们对 神的回应堪比试验一样重要。虽然如此, 神充沛的恩典叫祂扶持失脚的人(诗篇37:24)。

最后, 神的试验要炼出配得为主所用的精金。

经过试炼的人好像纯金,他的生命可以反映出 神的荣耀(约伯记23:10)。我们的信心与品格经过精炼可以成为实在的祝福!



Did You Pass the Test?

Dear Ministry Partner,

This is the season of school examinations which are very much part of a student’s life. While no student likes tests, these are necessary for the mastering and application of knowledge.

Even after leaving school, we continue to be tested in the area of faith and character. The psalmist writes, “For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let people ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66:10-12, NIV).
Yes, God tests us! God refines us to be conformed to His image through the trials in our lives.
Yes, God tests us! God refines us to be conformed to His image through the trials in our lives. These trials may include health issues, difficult relationships, job and financial uncertainties, and marital and parenting challenges. These drain us emotionally and mentally, causing our hearts to be heavy-laden as we seek solutions. We know we need to trust God but, being human, we struggle to understand why trials happen.

Here are some lessons that help us make sense of our lives’ trials:


Like a good teacher, God knows our weaknesses and will not allow us to be tested beyond what we can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13). Like gold being purified in a fiery furnace, the trials of our lives help to sieve out the “impurities” in us.

The refining process in the furnace of fire is often painful, but necessary for development. Many godly leaders have been through painful trials not due to poor decisions, but because God wanted to teach them lessons of faith and demonstrate His sovereignty in their lives.


We pass the test when we emerge better – more faithful, more secure and less self-seeking. We will not be perfect but we continue to persevere in His goodness. We fail when we become bitter towards God and the people around us. Our response to God is as important as the test itself! However, even when we fail, God’s grace abounds and He will uphold us with His hand (Psalm 37:24).


God’s test finally results in a faith refined by gold, prepared and ready for the Master’s use (Job 23:10)
Like refined gold, we will reflect the glory of God in our lives. The refinement of our faith and character becomes the real blessing!

Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader


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《天空之眼》(Eye in the Sky)电影里,军事行动使用备有摄像机的无人机 (从空中) 辨认锁定恐怖分子。无独有偶,身处如今高度保安的环境,我们四周都有闭路和移动摄像镜头记录我们的一举一动。科技除外,尚有一目光不离我们左右。大卫王提到,“耶和华的眼睛看顾义人,祂的耳朵垂听他们的呼求。” (诗篇34:15,新译本,下同)。


祂一直在寻找祂的羊。祂看见我们的需要、我们背负的担子,以及隐藏的痛楚。我们经历难处的时候,祂深深关切。大卫王又说“耶和华亲近心中破碎的人,拯救灵里痛悔的人,…” (诗篇34:18)。祂的恩典源源不绝地在艰难的日子临到我们。因此,我们可以不定睛在当下处境,转眼仰望那无所不察、为我们的益处按时成全一切者。

世人只看外在, 神却鉴察内心。祂那渗透的目光如同火把照亮我们里头的黑暗深处。 神看见我们心底的诸般意念,并终有一天会要我们一一交代。希伯来书的作者告诫说,“被造的在 神面前没有一样不是显明的,万有在他的眼前都是赤露敞开的;我们必须向祂交帐” (希伯来书4:13)。让我们的生命生活在 神、人面前无可指摘。不要躲藏或行在暗里。




创造宇宙及托住万有者垂听我们的祷告。就如母亲竖耳不忘新儿的哭声, 神也一样聆听我们心里的呼喊和无语的忧伤。祂耐心留意、明白我们那支离破碎的倾诉。我们祈求时安静心思亲近 神。我们需要就近祂的胸怀、在主里再次确认祂掌管万有。



属 神的人永不落在祂的视线范围以外 (参阅诗篇139)。祂无时无刻不看顾祂的羊。






Eye in the Sky

Dear Ministry Partner,

In the movie Eye in the Sky, unmanned drones equipped with cameras were used to identify and pinpoint terrorists in a military mission. Similarly, in today’s heightened security environment, we have closed-circuit and phone cameras everywhere recording our movement and actions.

Besides technology, there is another pair of eyes trained on each one of us. David writes, “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15, NIV).

God Sees Everything

He is constantly on a lookout for His children. He sees the needs, burdens, and pains we carry with us. He cares deeply for us when we are undergoing a difficult time. David also reminds us that “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18, NIV). His ever-sufficient grace reaches out to us in those trying times. Our eyes do not have to be on our own circumstances, but on the One who sees everything and works everything out for our good, in His time.

While man sees only the external, God looks at the internal. His penetrating gaze is like a torch that shines into the hidden areas in our lives. God sees our inner motives and will one day require us to account for them. The writer of Hebrews warns us that “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and He is the one to whom we are accountable” (Hebrews 4:13, NLT). Let our lives be above reproach, before man and God. Do not hide or live in darkness.

“The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3, NIV)

God Hears Everything

The Creator and Sustainer of the universe is attentive to our prayers. Like a new mom whose ears are constantly tuned to the cries of an infant, God is constantly tuned to our heart cries and the unspoken pain in our hearts. He listens patiently to us and empathises with us when words do not fully express our prayers.

It is in prayer that we still our hearts to listen to God. We need to hear His heart and His assurance that He is in control.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.” (Psalm 34:17 (NIV)

We are never out of range of God’s sight (cf. Psalm 139). He watches over us 24/7.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9a, NIV)

Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader








我们的上帝满有慈悲怜悯,当我们向他坦白的时候,他要施恩于我们,赦免我们的罪。如果我们因为犯罪而失去平安,恢复与上帝平安共处的办法就是认罪。“我们若认自己的罪,神是信实的,是公义的,必要赦免我们的罪,洗净我们一切的不义。” – 约一1:9


“应当一无挂虑,只要凡事藉着祷告、祈求和感谢,将你们所要的告诉神。神所赐出人意外的平安,必在基督耶稣里保守你们的心怀意念。弟兄们,我还有未尽的话:凡是真实的、可敬的、公义的、清洁的、可爱的、有美名的,若有什么德行,若有什么称赞,这些事你们都要思念。你们在我身上所学习的,所领受的,所听见的,所看见的,这些事你们都要去行,赐平安的神就必与你们同在。” – 腓立比4:6-9


 “坚心倚赖你的,你必保守他十分平安,因为他倚靠你。” – 以赛亚26:3



Are You At Peace Or In Pieces?

Dear Ministry Partner,

In our fast-moving world, peace of mind has become a prized commodity. Oftentimes, we may find ourselves longing for a retreat to a quiet spot in the beach or park amid the hustle and bustle of a stress-filled world. However, the anxiety we bear as we undertake various responsibilities in life, such as caring for our children and aging parents and meeting deadlines at the office, often shatters any semblance of peace we have.

In order to have peace of mind, we must have peace with God and the peace of God.

Peace with God refers to our standing before God. In Romans 5:1, Paul writes, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ’s death on the cross has restored our relationship with God and we no longer live in fear of God. As His children, we can call God Abba Father.

Yet, this peace with God can be broken when we have unconfessed sin. Sin short-circuits and creates a barrier in our relationship with God. David felt the heavy hand of God upon him when he harboured sin in his life (Psalm 32 & 51).

God is ever merciful and gracious to forgive our sins when we come clean with Him. To restore our peace with God, we need to confess our sins. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

Peace of God refers to our state of being (or mind) when we trust in God. The anxieties we carry can often rob us of God’s peace when we focus on our human frailties and rely on our limited understanding to solve problems. The apostle Paul writes:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4: 6-9 (NIV)

When we surrender our troubled hearts to God, and dwell on His goodness and character, He gives us the peace we need to face life’s challenges.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” – Isaiah 26: 3 (NLT)

Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader

Illustration by PATRICK NG




我们在某些人生阶段中,有时会觉得彷徨与迷失方向。我们有时觉得迷惑,因为我们尝试在目前的困境中明白上帝的旨意而不得要领。当前途不明确,而我们一直期待上帝的显现,也许我们已经开始在这等待中觉得疲乏。 (more…)

Breakfast With Jesus

Dear Ministry Partner,


There are certain seasons in our spiritual life when we feel confused and directionless. We are confused as we try to make sense of what God is saying to us while feeling stuck in our current situation. The future looks uncertain and we are weary from waiting for God to “show up” in our lives.


Peter and some of Jesus’ disciples found themselves in such a situation in John 21. The confounded disciples faced an uncertain future as their leader was now gone. Perhaps Peter had grown tired of waiting for Jesus’ return to Galilee and the sight of boats and nets had reminded him of his previous vocation as a fisherman. Feeling restless and not knowing what to do next, Peter told the disciples, “I am going out to fish.”


In what was almost a replay of his initial encounter with Jesus in Luke 5, Peter and the disciples caught nothing that night. Acting upon Jesus’ instruction, they caught a net full of fish. It must have been humbling for these professional fishermen to trade in their experience for simple obedience. Only when the disciples obeyed Jesus were they successful in catching fish. In the same way, we will be blessed by God in our simple acts of obedience to Him.


As they made their way back to the shore, Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Jesus had already prepared breakfast for them, knowing they would be hungry and tired after being out at sea the whole night. The aroma of hot bread and roasted fish must have stirred the appetites of the disciples. Acting as the host, Jesus served the disciples breakfast.


Like Peter and the disciples, we sometimes lose our spiritual bearings and grow weary from serving others and even serving God. We may be disappointed by people around us, or feel misunderstood by others as we serve them. We may even be tempted to give up.


In times like these, Jesus invites us to have breakfast with Him. He cares deeply for us and knows what we need. We need the breakfast fellowship with Jesus to refresh our perspectives and renew our calling. He also invites us to “bring some of the fish you have just caught” and use what we have for His purposes.


Make an appointment to have breakfast with Jesus today. He is waiting.


Enjoy your breakfast,
Lam Kok Hiang
Country Leader


Photo from Haparanda Midnight Ministerial 2010

*Click here for Chinese version of the article






“这些事都已听见了,总意就是敬畏上帝,谨守祂的诫命,这是人所当尽的本分。因为人所做的事,连一切隐藏的事,无论是善是恶,上帝都必审问” (传道书12:13-14,和合本) (more…)