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All Truth

April 22, 2017

Several asked about the singer in my blog here a couple of days this week and where I heard of him.

Quick, easy answer: I read about him in a sidebar piece in a catalog of “noteworthy goods,” as its cover says. (You get these things in the mail, too…where DO they get our contact info?!)

The two quotes I cited here on Wednesday and Friday came from there. Found their way to you through me because of their truths. Gotta admit I’ve been kinda busy this week and haven’t taken time to even check him out on youtube.

As I’ve mentioned before, somewhere along the way I was taught that “all truth is God’s truth.” Maybe it was a pastor, maybe it was a teacher, maybe it was a line from a song.

If you’re looking for something more scholarly on “all truth is God’s truth,” from a non-United Methodist Christian comes this:

Augustine, the greatest theologian of the first millennium, expresses it in several places. In his On Christian Doctrine, for example, he writes, “Nay, but let every good and true Christian understand that wherever truth may be found, it belongs to his Master…” (II.18). The medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas developed the idea in more detail in his theological and philosophical works.

The idea, then, was obviously represented by the most important pre-Reformation theologians. But what about the Reformation itself? Was this idea rejected at that time? No.

John Calvin picked up where Augustine and Aquinas left off. In his commentary on Titus 1:12, for example, Calvin states: “All truth is from God; and consequently, if wicked men have said anything that is true and just, we ought not to reject it; for it has come from God.” He expands on this idea in his Institutes of the Christian Religion:

Therefore, in reading profane authors, the admirable light of truth displayed in them should remind us, that the human mind, however much fallen and perverted from its original integrity, is still adorned and invested with admirable gifts from its Creator.

If we reflect that the Spirit of God is the only fountain of truth, we will be careful, as we would avoid offering insult to him, not to reject or condemn truth wherever it appears (II.2.15, emphasis mine).

So is the statement “All truth is God’s truth” non-Reformed? Only if John Calvin is “non-Reformed.” Calvin was able to assert, “All truth is God’s truth,” while also asserting the doctrine of sola scriptura because the doctrine of sola scriptura does not say that all truths are found in the Bible.

The doctrine of sola scriptura, in a nutshell, asserts that Scripture is our sole source of normative, infallible apostolic revelation and that “all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible with enough clarity that the ordinary believer can find them there and understand.” 

The truths that are not found in the Bible (e.g. the date of your birth, the structure of protein molecules) are not necessary for salvation.  

If you’d like an even bigger heapin’ helpin’ from this same source:

See you back here tomorrow.

Meanwhile, be watching for more of God’s truth wherever you are, wherever you go.



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