1. What the truth is and whether theological knowledge is the truth
Relevant Words of God:
God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, above all, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and so apart from imaginations and notions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but your flesh—your stench-ridden flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be worshiped as the truth, and the regulations of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life
The truth is the most real of life’s aphorisms, and the highest of such aphorisms among all mankind. Because it is the requirement that God makes of man, and is the work personally done by God, thus it is called “life’s aphorism.” It is not an aphorism summed up from something, nor is it a famous quote from a great figure. Instead, it is the utterance to mankind from the Master of the heavens and earth and all things; it is not some words summed up by man, but the inherent life of God. And so it is called “the highest of all life’s aphorisms.”
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God
The truth is not formulaic, neither is it a law. It is not dead—it is life itself, it is a living thing, and it is the rule that a created being must follow in life and the rule a human must have in life. This is something that you must, as much as possible, understand through experience. No matter what stage you have arrived at in your experience, you are inseparable from God’s word or the truth, and what you understand of God’s disposition and what you know of what God has and is are all expressed in God’s words; they are inextricably linked with the truth. God’s disposition and what He has and is are, in themselves, the truth; the truth is an authentic manifestation of God’s disposition and what He has and is. It makes what He has and is concrete, and it makes a clear statement of what He has and is; it tells you more straightforwardly what God likes, what He does not like, what He wants you to do and what He does not permit you to do, which people He despises and which people He delights in. Behind the truths that God expresses, people can see His pleasure, anger, sorrow, and happiness, as well as His essence—this is the revealing of His disposition.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III
Whether the words spoken by God be plain or profound in outward appearance, they are all truths indispensable to man as he enters into life; they are the fount of living waters that enables man to survive in both spirit and flesh. They provide what man needs to stay alive; the principles and creed for conducting his daily life; the path he must take to salvation, as well as its goal and direction; every truth that he should possess as a created being before God; and every truth about how man obeys and worships God. They are the guarantee that ensures man’s survival, they are man’s daily bread, and they are also the sturdy support that enables man to be strong and stand up. They are rich in the truth reality with which created mankind lives out normal humanity, rich in the truth by which mankind breaks free from corruption and eludes Satan’s snares, rich in the tireless teaching, exhortation, encouragement, and solace that the Creator gives to created humanity. They are the beacon that guides and enlightens men to understand all that is positive, the guarantee which ensures that men will live out and come into possession of all that is righteous and good, the criterion by which all people, events, and objects are measured, and also the navigation marker that leads men toward salvation and the path of light.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. Preface
The truth is the reality of all positive things. It can be the life of man and the direction in which he travels; it can lead one to cast off their corrupt disposition, to come to fear God and shun evil, to become one who obeys God and a qualified created being, one whom God loves and who meets with His favor. Given its preciousness, what attitude and perspective should one have in regarding God’s words and the truth? It is quite obvious: For those who truly believe in God and have a heart of reverence for Him, His words are their lifeblood. Man should treasure God’s words, and eat and drink of them, and enjoy them, and accept them as his life, as the direction in which he makes his way, as his ready aid and provision; man should live, practice, and experience in accordance with the statements and requirements of the truth, and submit to its demands of him, to each of the statements and requirements that the truth grants to him, rather than subjecting it to study, analysis, speculation, and doubt. As the truth is man’s ready aid, his ready provision, and can be his life, man should treat the truth as the most precious thing, for he must rely on the truth to live, to come to satisfy God’s demands, fearing Him and shunning evil, and to find within his daily life the path on which to practice, grasping the principles of practice and achieving submission to God. Man must also rely on the truth to cast off his corrupt disposition, to become one who is saved and a qualified created being.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part Seven)
In His expression of the truth, God expresses His disposition and essence; His expression of the truth is not based on mankind’s summaries of the various positive things and statements that mankind recognizes. God’s words are God’s words; God’s words are truth. They are the foundation and the law by which mankind should exist, and those so-called tenets that originate with humanity are condemned by God. They do not meet with His approval, and less still are they the origin or basis of His utterances. God expresses His disposition and His essence through His words. All the words brought forth by God’s expression are truth, for He has the essence of God, and He is the reality of all positive things. The fact that God’s words are truth never alters, no matter how this corrupt mankind positions them or defines them, nor how it views them or understands them. No matter how many words of God have been spoken, and no matter how much this corrupt, sinful mankind condemns and rejects them, there remains a fact that cannot be changed: Even in these circumstances, the so-called culture and traditions that mankind values cannot become positive things, and cannot become the truth. This is unalterable. Mankind’s traditional culture and way of existence will not become truth because of the changes or passage of time, and neither will the words of God become the words of man due to mankind’s condemnation or forgetfulness. This essence will never change; truth is always truth. What fact exists herein? All those sayings that are summarized by mankind originate in Satan—they are human imaginings and notions, even arising from human hot-bloodedness, and have nothing at all to do with positive things. The words of God, on the other hand, are expressions of God’s essence and status. For what reason does He express these words? Why do I say they are truth? The reason is that God rules over all the laws, principles, roots, essences, actualities, and mysteries of all things, and they are grasped in His hand, and God alone knows their origins and what their roots really are. Therefore, only the definitions of all things mentioned in the words of God are most accurate, and the requirements for mankind within God’s words are the only standard for mankind—the only criteria by which mankind should exist.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God’s House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part One)
Those in religion who believe in the Lord focus on memorizing a few well-known passages from the Bible; the more someone memorizes, the more spiritual they become, and the more admired they are by everyone. They are prestigious and have a high position. In fact, in real life, their outlook on the world, on mankind and on all different kinds of people is the same as the outlook of worldly people—it has not changed. This proves something: Those passages they have memorized have simply not become their life; it is plain to see they are merely a load of theories and religious doctrine, and have not changed their life. If the path you follow is the same as that followed by religious people, that makes you a believer in Christianity; you do not believe in God and are not experiencing His work. Some who have not believed in God for long admire those who have, whose speech is well-founded. They see such people sitting there and can talk for two or three hours with ease. They begin to learn from them—spiritual terms and expressions, as well as how the person speaks and carries themselves. They then commit to memory a few passages of spiritual words, and thus they carry on until, one day, the years of their belief are sufficient in number for them to sit and expound endlessly, eloquently, and at length. But if one listens closely, it is all nonsense, all empty words, mere letters and doctrines; and they are clearly religious cheats, cheating both themselves and others. What a sad thing! You must not follow that path, which, once trod, causes ruin, and is hard to turn back from. To treasure such things, to take them as one’s life, and to use them to measure oneself against others wherever one goes; to have, beyond a corrupt, satanic disposition, some spiritual theories, and elements of hypocrisy, besides—this person is not merely disgusting, but is disgusting in the extreme, sickening and shameless, and others cannot bear to look at them. Therefore, the denomination of those who once followed the Lord Jesus is now called Christianity. It is a denomination, and in their belief in God, they do no more than rigidly adhere to formality. There is no change at all in their life disposition, and they are not people who pursue the truth; their pursuit is not the truth, the way, and the life that come from God, but instead they seek to be Pharisees, and are hostile to God—these are the group of people now defined as Christianity.
—“Only Those Who Practice the Truth Are God-Fearing” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days
How is it that people of religion who believe in the Lord have been reduced to “Christianity”? Why is it that today, they are classified as a religious group, rather than as the house of God, the church of God, the object of God’s work? They have a dogma, they compile the work done by God, and the words He spoke, into a book, into teaching materials, and then open schools to induct and train all manner of theologians. Are these theologians studying the truth? (No.) So what are they studying? They are studying theological knowledge, which has nothing to do with the work of God or with the truths God speaks. And in so doing, they are reducing themselves to Christianity. What does Christianity advocate? If you go to a church, people will ask you how long you have believed in God, and when you say you have just started, they will ignore you. But if you go in clutching a Bible, and say “I just graduated from such-and-such Theological Seminary,” then they will ask you to come take the seat of honor. This is Christianity. Those somebodies who stand at the rostrum have all studied theology, are seminary-trained, possessed of theological knowledge and theory—they are basically the mainstay of Christianity. Christianity trains such people to preach at the rostrum, to go around evangelizing and working. They think the value of Christianity lies in such capable people as these students of theology, these pastors and theologians who preach sermons; they are their capital. If the pastor of a church graduated from a seminary, is good at expounding the Scripture, has read some spiritual books, and has a little knowledge and a way with words, then the church thrives, and has a much better reputation than other churches. What do these people in Christianity advocate? Knowledge. And where does this knowledge come from? It has been handed down from ancient times. In ancient times there was Scripture, which was passed from generation to generation, each generation reading and learning it, right up until the present day. Man divided the Bible up into different sections and created various editions for people to pore over and learn. But what they learn is not how to understand the truth and know God, or how to understand God’s will and attain the fear of God and shunning of evil; instead, they pore over the knowledge contained within them. At most, they look into the mysteries contained within, they look to see which prophecies of the Book of Revelation were fulfilled in a certain period, when the great disasters will arrive, when the millennium will arrive—these are the things they study. And is what they study connected to the truth? No. Why do they study things that have no connection to the truth? The more they study them, the more they think they understand, and the more they equip themselves with letters and doctrine. Their capital grows, too. The higher their qualifications, the more capable they think they are, the more accomplished they believe their faith in God is, and the more likely they think they are to be saved and enter the heavenly kingdom.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Are Evil, Insidious, and Deceitful (Part Three)
Consider the things that antichrists tend to worship. What do they worship? So-called philosophies and theories that are lofty, empty, and abstract. These philosophies and theories are incredibly precious to them, their most deeply treasured objects. Once they have heard them spoken of, and once they have latched on to them, obtained them, and understood them, they do everything within their power to engrave these things in their hearts and make them their lives, their personal capital. They make them their driving force and direction in life. Little do they know these things actually will lead them to look into the words of God, the truths that God expresses. They worship and pursue these things, and so whenever God utters words, whenever God speaks, they simply cannot stop themselves from analyzing what God has said from the perspective of knowledge, using intellectual viewpoints and thinking. Some people even criticize God’s utterances, saying, “God’s words are too long-winded and some of the things He says aren’t logical. Some aren’t grammatical, and some of the word choices don’t even make sense.” They are living within their minds, their ideas, using the knowledge and education they possess to analyze and scrutinize God’s words. There are even many who try, on the basis of their own experience, to search in God’s words and find out God’s final destinations for some people, or how some people are defined, and then they analyze. But have you had the feeling that there is something that tends to happen when you scrutinize God, when you scrutinize His words and actions from the perspective of knowledge? (The Holy Spirit is not at work.) That is right—the Holy Spirit is not at work. The Holy Spirit is far away from you. Where does that knowledge and learning come from? What does it represent? Satan. What does all this knowledge consist of? It consists of logic and reasoning, notions and imaginings, and experiences. It also consists of ethics and morals, old sayings, old laws, and old commandments. This is what it is composed of. When people use these things to take the measure of God’s words and God’s work, the Holy Spirit departs, and God hides His face.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Are Evil, Insidious, and Deceitful (Part Three)