"Truth is wonderful but in itself it is dead. It is like a coal shed. We need more than orthodox Bible-teaching. Coal only releases its energy in combination with fire, and the fire of the Holy Spirit is needed to set truth ablaze!" (Luke 24:32).The aforementioned quote appeared in a whatsapp chat in a group I am a member. I was startled and I wasn't the only one. Another member of the group commented: " Such comments from renowned pastors with so much influence gives much cause for worry. It's most unfortunate". A back and forth ensued. I presented these thoughts below in response to the quote:
"Truth is wonderful but in itself is dead": Truth...in itself is dead?....What is that really supposed to mean? What happened to "you shall know the truth and the truth will make you free"? How about "sanctify them by your word, your word is truth"...The danger is our always trying to create a dichotomy between Truth and The Holy Spirit. Truth and The Holy Spirit, these two are inseparable. He, the Holy Spirit, is the one who inspires and reveals truth. We can't even talk about Truth without the Holy Spirit. He in fact is referred to as the Spirit of Truth. The moment Truth is revealed, you can be assured the Holy Spirit has done His work: “ But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. "When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you."(John 15:26, John16:13-14).
"We need more than Orthodox Bible-teaching"...Orthodox Bible-teaching doesn't necessarily point to truth. There is Orthodox Biblical teaching that twists the truth, but any Orthodox Bible-teaching that focuses on Truth, surely gets the blessing of the Holy Spirit. People can teach without teaching the truth. But where truth is taught, we are confident of the Holy Spirit doing a work amongst His people. Luke 24:32 used as a proof text says nothing about "the fire of the Holy Spirit setting truth ablaze" "They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" If the Holy Spirit set anything ablaze in that text, it was the hearts of the travellers on the road to Emmaus. There was a systematic presentation of Truth from Scriptures that caused their hearts to burn within them: "And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself."(Luke 24:27). The Holy Spirit is inherent in the truth of Holy Scripture. He inspired it. Jesus said the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life. Truth opens eyes: "And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him."(vs 31).
This man of God(I mentioned his name in the response) could have just said "we need more than Orthodox Bible -teaching"and that will be fine. But "truth in itself dead" is a dangerous statement. Truth in itself is not dead. It is we who are dead to truth and it is our dead hearts that needs to be set ablaze not Truth. Truth matters and is not dead of itself. Truth is alive and kicking. Let us not in anyway think truth is dead. We are dead and need truth to revive us