How do we know truth?

knowingIf you read my last post, I left you down the proverbial rabbit hole on the problems with being taught what to think as opposed to how to think.  Today, we’ll begin working ourselves back out and into the light of knowing truth–particularly, knowing God.

And here’s the theological rabbit hole we’ve found ourselves in.

I said last time that if logic and reason can get us to the truth, how do we find out something outside of ourselves while locked in space and time–especially, God?

In other words, how does Hamlet get to know Shakespeare? For they exist, if you will, in entirely different worlds. Can Hamlet even grasp that his world is limited to his scripting?

So, we need to come out of the Enlightenment mindset of not believing in what we don’t see. I think quantum science has blown that misguided notion up forever. Good riddance. Sorry, Sir Isaac Newton, we don’t live in a closed system.

Furthermore, we saw that what we call defending the “truth” is often defending our fallible interpretation of the infallible Word of God. This is why it’s a fallacy to think we will arrive at a flawless interpretation of Scripture through study alone.

These are the misguided notions of man, left to himself, eating off of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the self-imposed, closed system of our own thoughts and human reasoning. It’s really a subtle form of Christian humanism.

This is also why doctrine is not a good basis for unity in the Body of Christ. History proves that doctrinal agreement only divides us, sometimes violently—besides, it’s not how Jesus said we would be united anyway (John 17:21-26).

And no matter how inspired the Word of God is, when it’s read by uninspired minds, no matter how smart they may be, will just be words. Actually, it can make a person dangerously religious.

Again, this is why our Western philosophical Christian paradigm has failed us and is essentially non-functional in winning the hearts and minds of the world we find ourselves in today. I hope you realize that…and that it’s actually good news.

So here’s the question that will hopefully lead us out of this rabbit hole…

How did Jesus know things? Or His disciples? Or Paul?

Now, when we want to know things (or want to have spiritual authority), we go to school, seminary, we study, we get a degree, etc. All those things are good, but they don’t guarantee that we’ve truly learned how to know something–especially, God.

More to the point, is this how Jesus and His followers did it? After all, we’re wanting to be like Jesus, right?

Would you follow uneducated and untrained men who never studied?

So, how did Jesus know God, or even have spiritual authority, “having never studied” (John 7:15)? And how did Peter and John have authority and knowledge being “uneducated and untrained men” (Acts 4:13)? What do you do with that?

Let me ask you this way.

Would you accept the teachings and even give your life for someone who never studied…receive “truth” from uneducated and untrained men?

Especially, when it seemed to contradict the prevailing theology of the day? Honestly, what would be our reaction to Jesus coming today and contradicting our tidy little Bible doctrines?

Come on now, what seminary did Jesus go to? I want to see His credentials! And who does He think He is telling the highly educated Pharisees that they were wrong?

Can you imagine the Jesus-basher blogs that would result from this stir? 🙂

Now, Paul was highly educated, but he was also all about killing Christians…that is, until he had an extreme encounter with Jesus.

Do you see what I mean?

Their basis of authority was that they knew God. We give degrees and ordination credentials.

And I am not saying that education is wrong or not useful, I’m just saying it isn’t how you know God or the spiritual things of God. It doesn’t give you actual spiritual authority either. And I realize that no one is saying it does but, implicitly, it does in our minds.

Natural things vs. spiritual things

We promote intellectual education, degrees and titles to give spiritual authority to what we know, mainly because we learned that way of knowing things from the Greek philosophers. But no matter how you look at it, it’s still Hamlet trying to cross the infinite gulf to understand Shakespeare. It’s still the natural mind trying to figure out a supernatural God.

Do you understand that the natural mind cannot know spiritual things. Period. Didn’t we get the memo? (1 Cor.2:14). The human mind makes a great servant but a poor master.

Shakespeare comes to live in Hamlet’s world!

The Old Testament prophets tell us that God’s ways are not our ways, His thoughts are higher than ours. And this was true for everyone for thousands of years. God would visit occasionally, and talk through people, but we could not really know Him. We had no means of knowing Him. After all, we were Hamlet and He was Shakespeare.

But when Jesus took on flesh, God traversed this infinite gulf! Shakespeare entered into Hamlet’s world, not only becoming like him but living with him. God became a man. And for the first time in history we found out what it looks like for a human being to be able to know how God thinks, who lives in both His world and ours, and who accurately represents His heart toward us.

But it doesn’t end there. Jesus was also the prototype for a new model of humans who would be able to do the same! (2 Cor.5:17-21; Eph.2:6; Heb.2:10; 1 John 4:17)

Meet your new Teacher!

Paul, trying to show this monumental shift, quotes  the Old Testament (1 Cor.2:9), but then goes on to say that something changed with the New Covenant. Specifically, because of the indwelling Spirit, He NOW reveals these things IN us–even the deep things of God! (1 Cor.2:10).

Which means, we can no longer say, “eye has not seen” nor “entered the heart of man…” That is ILLEGAL for a Christian to say! Our eye now CAN see, we now CAN know.

In fact, Paul concludes by saying “we have the mind of Christ!” (1 Cor.2:16).

Jesus said it this way (emphasis mine)…

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come,
He will guide you into all truth

14 He will glorify Me,
for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”  (John 16:13-14)

Therefore, the eyes and ears we will see and hear with are not our natural ones,  they are our spiritual eyes and ears. I wrote about this before

The Word of God is not truly understood by study but by spiritual revelation. If study could get us there the Pharisees would’ve received Jesus as the truth, for all of Scripture reveals Christ.

It first requires faith, and faith is a matter of the heart not the mind. And after faith, the Spirit gives revelation.

Revelation must precede interpretation. Otherwise, it’s just information that we can be talked out of. But what God reveals to you belongs to you. Even the Old Covenant taught us this (Deut.29:29).

Your new Teacher lives inside you! As we saw in John, He has ALL information and is very willing to share it with you. Here’s what John said in His epistle…

“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you,
and you do not need that anyone teach you;
but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things,
and is true, and is not a lie,
and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (1 John 2:27)

Get that? This anointing we received teaches us as we abide in Him! Welcome to Holy Spirit University (HSU). It’s always open and you never graduate!

Does that mean we don’t need human teachers? No, not at all. We need human leaders who are spiritually gifted to keep us on this path and equip us for ministry (Eph.4:11-12), but they shouldn’t be our source of learning.

What a good teacher actually does is confirm what God is saying in our spirit (we’ve called it “anointed teaching”). This is why we were not meant to grow up into Christ outside of the context of Christian community (Eph.4:13-16). But, again, not to be taught what to think but how to think, and learning how to properly exercise our spiritual senses.

Jesus came so that we could learn like He did by abiding in His grace and the love of the Father by the Spirit (2 Cor.13:14). So why do we think the learning processes that come to us from the likes of Plato or Aristotle are a better way?

Beloved, you have the greatest search engine of knowledge of all. And you can know the truth because He lives in you! No more confounding rabbit holes.

About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 42 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
This entry was posted in Doctrine, Faith, John 14-17, The Shift, Theology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to How do we know truth?

  1. “Do you understand that the natural mind cannot know spiritual things. Period. Didn’t we get the memo? (1 Cor.2:14).” Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? The Spirit’s wisdom is outside our box of human logic. Our Western culture is closed off to anything we can’t put inside that box; we respond with fear instead of love.

    It’s like the storm and the sea were to the disciples on that boat. They were afraid of the storm and the waves because they didn’t understand them, yet Jesus serenely slept until they awakened him. He knew the storm and sea, and calmed them with a word and an outstretch hand. But the disciples did not yet know Jesus; in that moment their response was fear. They looked at each other and said, “Who is this?” Even though he was physically inside the boat, spiritually, he was still outside.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “Even though he was physically inside the boat, spiritually, he was still outside.” I really like how you put that. And you’re right, Jesus understood perfectly who was in control of the waves and sea. And, now, we’re placed in Him! So what does that say about us?

      Obviously, this place in Christ is where the answer to everything is. And Jesus wasn’t calming the sea to show off. If He has control over the elements, and in Him all things consist (Col.1:17), what does that say about how we even understand our material world? How does it effect scientific advancement? I think we’ve really missed something by buying into Greek philosophy and naturalism. And, as I alluded, even quantum physics reveals the other-worldly nature of things. The church should be leading these fields of endeavor, not having our religious heads stuck in the dogmatic sand. You’re right, fear does drive a lot of this instead of love.

  2. bullroarin says:

    Really great post Mel…you explain things so well.

    It seems so simple and yet so hard. Simple to just let go and let God, verses, hanging on to all the knowledge and learning we find so dear and trying to understand how or why God is going to do something.
    I think the most difficult part of living in the HSU, is to remain there in all circumstances without falling back into the old school of Greek thinking. Waffling back and forth just creates disappointments and confusion. Add to that an enemy who desires nothing better than to keep man rooted in the tree of knowledge of good and evil and we have a quagmire that’s difficult (but not impossible) to break out of.

    A number of years ago my wife and I led a team of King’s Kids on outreach to Atlanta Georgia along with their parents who had just completed the lecture phase of a discipleship training school. The following two months was to put into practice what was taught in the school. The adults went through all the lectures and things that they do, but the kids were taught how to hear the voice of God for three months prior. I’m not blowing my own horn when I say the kids led the outreach…not the parents. The parents were refurbishing a safe house (which was an amazing effort and accomplishment in its own right), but the kids were on the streets with amazing power and revelation. They saw in the spirit things beforehand that were going to happen wherever we went. We saw people healed, delivered from spirits of suicide, saved, words of knowledge. And we also were able to show an amazing amount of compassion to many street people in many different ways. We also got to minister with a Christian motorcycle gang one night on the street…I think they were there as our guardian angels, ha!
    Long story short, most of these kids were under ten years old and a few teenagers. No theological education was involved. As a matter of fact none of them even wanted to be there at the beginning, but by the end no one wanted to leave. God moved because it was His good pleasure to do so as these kids sought Him first and did what He asked them too. No education for that!

    Like you said last post Mel….I think this is part of the process of thinking for oneself through (HSU), rather than being told what to think. After all, the things of the Spirit can only be discerned in the spirit.

    Keep up the good work my friend, ~ Dave

    • Mel Wild says:

      “I think the most difficult part of living in the HSU, is to remain there in all circumstances without falling back into the old school of Greek thinking.” Amen. That’s the process of renewing our mind. To break the decision process where our mind is in control to where our spirit is in control and our mind agrees by faith. We don’t realize how deeply ingrained this humanistic philosophy is in us. We think it’s a normal thinking process. Actually, it is normal for carnal thinking. But we’re still stuck in our own head instead of being stuck in His head. 🙂

      And that’s a great testimony about the kids, Dave. You’re perfectly describing what I’m talking about, and what Jesus meant when He said to receive the Kingdom like a little child. They weren’t armed with information and philosophical arguments, they were armed with the supernatural power of the Spirit released by exercising simple faith. Even a child (especially a child) can do it! We’ve turned it into something else–canned speeches and knowing facts. We’re trying to reach people’s minds instead of their hearts (or we try to reach the heart by fear, manipulation and guilt trips). No wonder so few want to evangelize. We don’t even get it ourselves yet. But the heart must be won before the mind. This is why a major paradigm shift is needed at the very foundation of how we relate to God. Thanks for sharing that testimony. Awesome.

      • bullroarin says:

        Thanks Mel…I’m so encouraged by you. It seems like I’ve gone through seasons of faith and seasons of doubt, having come through (and going through a great tragedy in my life – lost my son six years ago, he was eight and a half))
        And then there is all the “head knowledge” to deal with, and to be sure I have tried to mix both the canned stuff and HS revelation, thinking that somehow the two were related. How wrong I was. I have honestly been trying to empty my head of the canned stuff and while I know I’m making progress I know I still have a long way to go. So thank you once again, I know that God is using you to bring this important message that we in the body need to hear and live…especially me!

        ~ Dave

        • Mel Wild says:

          Thanks Dave. I really appreciate that. And I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son. I could not imagine what you went through. You have certainly “been there” in one the greatest tests of our faith. And it sounds like you’ve learned a lot in this process too. 🙂

          Yes and amen about unlearning, getting rid of all the head knowledge! I spent 30 years of my Christian life as what is referred to as a “Bible-believing, Spirit-filled” believer, filling my head with such stuff! And I almost lost my soul (wrote about that in a post a while back). But I’ve finally found the not-so-secret to freedom, and it’s so simple it’s mind-boggling (or perhaps, mind toppling!)

          Our generation has a lot to offer this generation coming up now. Young people on fire for God are looking for spiritual fathers and mothers (not controllers) who will guide them and train them to exercise their spiritual senses. Our ceiling is meant to be their floor. It gives me great pleasure to see them quickly grasp what took me years of wrestling, winning, losing, to learn. They can skip all the junk we’re having to unlearn and take off from where we leave off. I just love it when they “get it.” I say, you’re welcome! It took me 30 years to learn this and you got it in 5 minutes! Hallelujah! That’s the fruit of leaving a legacy. 🙂

  3. TK says:

    “dangerously religious” This phrase stuck out to me as I know many people who immediately place judgement on others based on religious traditions NOT divine authority. For example, I have a cousin who decided to enter a committed relationship. Neither her nor her partner believed in marriage so they committed their lives to each other without getting married. You could argue back and forth whether or not that is right. At the end of the day, what is right for them is between them and God. However, I once heard a person in my family exclaim “how can you possibly believe in God if you don’t believe in marriage.” I’m not saying marriage isn’t important or saying that my cousin was right or wrong. All I mean to point out is that this person judged the quality of these people based on how well they followed religious tradition, not on whether or not they were good, compassionate people.

    I see this in many forms and it’s just so sad to me. People think their traditions based off of their interpretation of the Bible can be nothing else but the full word of God. They don’t even bother to question their traditions because to doubt God is wrong. To me, that’s dangerously religious. They value their traditions over their relationship with Divinity. I wonder if they fear questioning their conclusions about the Bible because they really think that’s a form of denying God or if they are afraid Divinity might show them their ways are flawed.

    • Mel Wild says:

      You’ve said a lot here, TK! Of course, I agree that what we call defending truth is our interpretation and doctrinal view of the Bible rather than objective truth. And I think I get what you’re saying on the marriage thing, not making a point on the issue of right or wrong, but something deeper. And it’s not even being “soft on sin” but how we approach these sticky issues with love and grace. We’ve tended to accept people conditionally, based on what we believe and that we have doctrinal agreement, rather than love (which is what Jesus said our unity would be based on).

      When we finally realize we don’t have to play God, it frees us to love people. That doesn’t mean there isn’t right and wrong, but that showing God’s love is more important. Jesus didn’t relate to people based on whether they were living in sin or not. He was able to love people and even hang out with them, including those in unquestionable sin, while not condoning their sin either. I think when we judge people first, we lose the heart of Jesus and drive them away from God. And that’s our fault. After all, where do we draw the line for our “behavioral acceptance?” One of the worst sins, in my view, is malicious gossip. Yet, that’s tolerated in churches all the time. Our sin toleration is a very subjective thing. And we always move from grace to law.

      Our experience has been that people that come to our church who are living together usually end up getting married. Not because we forced them to do so but because they knew that it would be better. They were able to overcame whatever objection they had, etc. But mostly because they were placed in an environment where they were overwhelmed by the love of God and were loved and accepted right where they were. They could come to this decision in this safe place. And that comes from being in an environment of being loved and accepted rather than judged.

  4. Pingback: There are no divisions, denominations or interpretative methods in Heaven | In My Father's House

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