BY COLEMAN RAFFERTY
Despite its self-contradiction, the principle that exclusive, objective truth is unknowable has gained much traction in younger generations today. Our postmodern age has indoctrinated specifically the millennial generation with claims such as, “the truth is relative,” and, “what’s true for you may not be true for me.” But Jesus said that all His disciples, “will know the truth” (John 8:32). He even called Himself, “the Truth,” at the exclusion of all other options (John 14:6).
Claims like these are scandalous today where exclusive declarations of truth are considered unloving, unfair, and outright false. However, the problem with our postmodern concept of truth is that it leads people to relativism, insecurity, and eventually causes them to feel lost and unfulfilled in the middle of a truth-less sea. Thankfully, Jesus did not support our modern conception of truth. Jesus spoke of a type of truth that leads to an objective, confident, satisfied life—that being, the life of a person who has heard and seen, in the living Word of God, that Jesus is the culmination of their quest for truth.
Among the many distinctives that set apart Jesus’ disciples, Jesus lists one key distinctive that will prove helpful here. Jesus said, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31b-32). In other words, followers of Jesus will abide in His word, and in doing so come to know the freeing truth. Thus, to discuss how a Christian can help this truth decayed generation come to the light, I want to share a couple of marks of a disciple who is abiding in God’s word. These are true for millennials just like every other generation.
Stranded in the middle of a truth-less sea, many millennials are struggling and taking on water, since their refuge has been hidden from them. However, Jesus speaks a word of hope to their drowning souls. Jesus says, “If you abide in my word… you will know the truth” (John 8:32). When a person is drowning, all they want is a refuge, a place to grab onto, or better yet be grabbed by, that is strong enough to secure their deliverance from the rising waters. This refuge, Jesus says, is His word.
God’s word confronts our relative society by proclaiming that there is one objective, exclusive, wonderful truth—Jesus Christ Himself, “and there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Thus, an insistence on God’s Word will equip and inform younger generations that relativistic, postmodern thought is not good news, despite how appealing it may sound.
Not only does the Word of God equip younger generations to reject unhelpful relativism, it also provides a spiritually thirsty, insecure generation with a confident, satisfied hope in Christ. After Jesus tells His disciples that in His word they will find and know the truth, He informs them that the truth will set them free (see John 8:32). For those who are captive to the 21st century lies about where people can find their satisfaction—whether that be in a significant other, money, or human praise; God’s Word informs us that true, lasting satisfaction is only found in a total surrender to Jesus as Lord (see John 6).
While our society tells us to look inward to find our security, Jesus instructs us to do quite the opposite. The quest for security that looks inward often leads to insecurity, but Jesus gives the hope of confidence and security because He promises freedom based on His own merit and not our own. Jesus says, “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). To the insecure, unfulfilled younger generation, God’s word provides a confident and satisfied hope found in Christ alone.
While the contemporary postmodern movement has only led people to be insecure, unconfident and unsatisfied, the Word of God provides the hope we need. While some may say the Bible is an antiquated book, the truth is that, “the word of God is living and active” (Hebrews 4:12a). So, for anyone aspiring to encourage younger generations, take Jesus’ advice and never stop insisting on His living, sufficient and unbreakable Word. In doing so, many will come to be secure and satisfied in the objective, exclusive, wonderful Truth Himself.
Coleman Rafferty is a Sophomore Biblical and Religious studies major at Messiah College. He was born in Massachusetts and raised in Northern Virginia as the youngest of three brothers. He came to faith in Jesus Christ during his junior year of high school, and has felt a passion to teach God’s Word ever since. He spends his spare time reading good books, playing sports with his friends and engaging in theological discussion with all who are willing, and some who are not.