Speaking Truth to Power

Nov 28, 2023    Don Willeman


Hello! This is Pastor Don of Christ Redeemer Church. Welcome to The Kingdom Perspective.

Our culture correctly tells us that we should: “Speak truth to power.”

The idea is that power must be properly used. It must be constrained by what is true, good, and beautiful. Though sadly Christians at times and places have not lived into this proposition, nonetheless, this is a deeply biblical and Christian idea.

God is not God simply because He is all powerful. He’s not a cosmic bully. Rather God is God because He is good. You cannot separate God’s governance from His goodness. Thus, the Psalmist reminds us that “The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9). God in His very essence is power constrained by truth and goodness. And so, the Psalmist elsewhere exhorts us: “Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good. His steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 106:1).

So, it is critical for us to speak truth to power, so that righteousness and goodness can animate our social life together.

However, when we, as a society, have implicitly, if not explicitly, assumed that all truth statements are mere power plays—that there is no such thing as truth in any objective, impartial sense—then there is no longer any truth to speak to power. If it is merely my truth vs. your truth, and your truth vs. my truth, then there is no real truth to arbitrate our truth claims. We are left with only power plays, and so, are trapped by this or that version of the “might-makes-right” formula.

Inevitably, in such a world, the individual or group that screams the loudest, or that is most physically threatening will end up with all the power. In a world where there is no truth, we are left with only disordered power. And where disordered power reigns, there is no freedom.

Something to think about from The Kingdom Perspective.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Moreover, by them Your servant is warned;
In keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors? Acquit me of hidden faults.
Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins;
Let them not rule over me;
Then I will be blameless,
And I shall be acquitted of great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.”
~ Psalm 19 (NASB95)