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The truth and Anamgol UBF 
17th-Jul-2006 11:49 pm
I found a Sunday message on the website of Anamgol UBF which is considered most elite UBF chapter in the UBF world. Anamgol UBF focuses on recruiting students in Korea University, one of the top five universities in Korea. Mark Yang used to be the director. I don’t know who the current director is and who wrote the message. I wanted to discuss problems of this message because it is based on John 8:31-32 and they happen to be my favorite key verses in the Bible. I want to discuss them in the comment section with the following topics:

I. Some comments on my English translation
II. Issues related to the author’s presentation of Kant and Critique of Pure Reason
III. Issues on the author’s interpretation of ‘truth’ in John 8:32
IV. Concluding remarks
18th-Jul-2006 10:39 pm (UTC) - III. Issues on the author’s interpretation of ‘truth’ in John 8:32
III. Issues on the author’s interpretation of truth in John 8:32

The Anamgol UBF author seems to sympathize with the position that the English major student took about the meaning of truth in his message. The Anamgol UBF author says in his message, “Truth must have something to do with my life. It must be truly worthwhile to me, satisfying to me and true fruit to me. It must become the motivation for my life, joy and purpose. It must hold the absolute value that is truly worth my life.” Then he finally says that when we live the life of holding to Jesus’ teaching, we finally learn what truth is.

I am sure that we can find such truth in Jesus. In fact the Anamgol author can find anything he wants in Jesus. If he tries, he can find anything good that he can and connect everything somehow with Jesus because after all Jesus is God. Jesus is truth; Jesus is happiness; Jesus is a husband; Jesus is a father; Jesus is a friend; Jesus is good health; Jesus is honor; Jesus is victory; Jesus is whatever good thing you can come up with. The Anamgol author can make a Sunday message out of anything by connecting any Bible verse and Jesus to it. So if things go like this, we don’t even have to study the Bible at all! Well, Jesus is God and he is SO GOOD!

The reason we study the Bible is that we want to know what the Bible says! So if we are studying John’s Gospel, we want to know what John’s Gospel says about truth. If we happen to study John chapter 8, we want to know what John chapter 8 teaches us about truth. After we learn what John chapter 8 teaches us about truth, then we want to examine what I or others think about truth so that I can orient myself toward what the Bible teaches about it. Is this what we see in the Anamgol UBF message? NO! He seems to be too much engrossed in flattering himself with Kant and Kierkegaard!

The Anamgol UBF author talks only about what he thinks about truth. He doesn’t carefully study what John chapter 8 teaches us about truth. Does what the Anamgol UBF author talks about truth in John 8:32 agree with what Jesus had in mind about truth when he said “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free”? I don’t think so. To consider this and to understand what John 8:32 teaches us about truth, I suggest that we should focus our attention more on the immediate context of John chapter 8 with, of course, effort to understand it in the whole context of the Bible.

In verse 12, Jesus declared “I am the light of the world.” Jesus was telling the truth when he said this. But the Pharisees challenged him in verse 13, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” Then Jesus explains to them about his testimony very logically until he comes to verse 43 where he says “Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.”

So it seems that the meaning of ‘truth’ in this chapter is related to understanding the “validity” of Jesus’ testimony. Jesus worked very hard to prove the “validity” of his testimony but the Pharisees didn’t believe him and his testimony. But there were some Pharisees who believed Jesus. To these Pharisees Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” It seems that some Pharisees were somehow compelled to believe that what Jesus said had to be true but were not fully convinced of the “truth” of it of the “validity” of it. So Jesus said to them “If you hold to my teaching…Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

For example, Jesus said “I am the light of the world.” So even though some Pharisees decided to believe in Jesus, they probably still had the question: “How do I know whether or not it is true?” Jesus’ assuring answer to them was “If you hold to my teaching…Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” The validity of Jesus’ testimony has been already proved. So all we have to do is just holding onto them. Then we will know that it is true that Jesus is the light of the world. So the meaning of truth in this chapter should be interpreted as the truth or the validity of Jesus’ testimony. But the Anamgol author talks only about his truth but not Jesus' truth.
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