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Not True, Not False, Not Joking Either

Dives was quite sure. His five brothers, still living at his father’s house, they would be persuaded. If one returned from the dead. Return to “tell it like it is”... It won’t be “fake news”.

You will recall this incident from the parable our Lord Jesus told (Luke 16:19-31) — of Father Abraham; of Dives (the rich person dressed in purple and fine linen who lived luxuriously); and of Lazarus (the constantly hungry and sore-ridden beggar outside the gate).

There was no more hope for Dives. He had crossed the line. Simply stated – he died, and was buried. But he was fully conscious and in torment in Hades. When told there was not even the prospect of a simple cool relief of a drop of water, even then and there, he thought of his five brothers. If only someone would bring over the real truth — a strong warning. Yes, if Lazarus could be sent back to them, they would repent and need not end up like him.

Imagine what effect that would be... Lazarus striding through the gate. Lazarus without sores. Lazarus looking well-fed and at peace. What a spectacular apparition. The whole village, not just one household, would turn from their sinful ways!

But Abraham spoke for all time when he said: “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

Discard the truth and there’s no leg to stand on thereafter. No absolutes? Then no exactitudes.

People believe what they want to believe. Which may also explain why con-men, tricksters and scammers know, a fool is born every minute.

As Joseph Heller has contended: “The truth is whatever people will believe is the truth. Don’t you know history?” Indeed, in Colm McCarthy’s words: “The facts no longer matter: what matters is whatever people believe the facts to be, and there is no shortage of politicians willing to provide comforting pseudo-facts to order.” There's an endless supply of both.

To set the record straight, P. T. Barnum never did say, "There's a sucker born every minute", but it has stuck with him. Actually, it was his competitor David Hannum who uttered these now infamous words. Truth appears dull and doesn’t draw any attention.

Jonathan Swift expressed it well: “Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect - like a man, who hath thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.”

Trust an advertising guru like Bill Bernbach to shoot straight from the shoulder: “A dull truth will not be looked at. An exciting lie will. That is what good, sincere people must understand. They must make their truth exciting and new, or their good works will be born dead.”


How comforting His words: “… and you will know the truth,

and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). Forever.


Which may explain why the “prosperity gospel” always get a large hearing and wide following. People just love it and the preacher has to keep dishing it out. It takes two hands to clap. How much “garnishing” or “near-truths” are needed before blurring takes place? The noose tightens. That’s the outcome of falsehood. All falsehoods. Bondage.

But our Lord Jesus is genuine, authentic. He is from above. We are from below. As such what He says is true and will always remain true. We who believe in Him are set at liberty. He saves us from ourselves, too. How comforting His words: “… and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). Forever.

Dr Andrew Goh | IMPACT Magazine

Dr Andrew Goh is the honorary editor of IMPACT Magazine


This article 'Not True, Not False, Not Joking Either' is featured in the latest issue of IMPACT (Dec/Jan 2018). Subscribe today.


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