What does it mean to seek truth? A goodbye…

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
— John 1:14, 16-17

In my very first article for the Penn Epistle, I wrote about the pursuit of cosmic truth, arguing that our society has left this pursuit by the wayside—and that we should instead always be inquiring with one another, Christians and non-Christians alike. I do still believe this, and I likewise still maintain that running after the truth of the Lord through historical research and reading, linguistic analysis, and the like are all things which can encourage, challenge, and grow us. For instance, I have personally benefited greatly not only from editing the truth section of the Penn Epistle, but I have also become more spiritually mature through my inquiries into the theology of the historical Church, especially the early Church.

Despite the vast and varied benefits of this beautiful pursuit of Divine truth, I would like to reflect on the potential pitfalls of this journey as I close out my time with the Epistle, and share my own experience of seeking truth over my three years at Penn. 


When I started here, I had convinced myself that I was a good follower of Christ, and I truly did believe in Him, love Him, and worship Him. I found a lovely church that nourished my soul and puttered around campus acting out the part of Christian college student. Much of my practice was shallow, in retrospect—I did not honestly consider many areas of my life with a critical eye, such as the clothing I wore—so being sent home during COVID was a real blessing. The time I spent at home shook me out of my spiritual slumber. 

I began to actually read the Word, and quickly made my way through the New Testament, something which I had never fully done. I became convicted in many theological regards—which was necessary, and good!—but these genuine convictions and desire to please God developed into pride. 

My understanding of the Scriptures was right, without doubt. My faith was right before the Lord’s eyes. If anyone didn’t agree with my theology, they were probably heretics, or at least misguided—how could they not see my way? It was as clear as day! As you can see, something needed to change.

Someone very near and dear to me began to challenge my theological assumptions and pride. I grew frustrated, and then angry, and stewed in my anger for several months. Why couldn’t they see? And why was I suddenly doubting the convictions about truth that I had previously grasped so close to my heart—that I thought the Lord had given me? I was thrown into tumult and confusion: I considered denominations from Orthodoxy to Baptist to many others in between, all in an effort to find what’s right. I settled on one, and then another, and then yet another many times over the past few years, turning and turning and endlessly turning. 

With many of my theological foundations stripped bare, I wasn’t sure where to turn. Where could I find the identity which I had lost? What sort of life was I meant to live if I could never ascertain the truth in full certainty?

I was finally left to wonder: what does it mean to seek the Lord’s truth? How could I truly commit myself to the pursuit which I extolled?

At the time, I may have claimed that I thought it simply meant knowing the Lord more deeply—at least I knew this in theory—but I think that I had forgotten this in my inmost heart. I know that this is the case because I spent much, much more of my time researching Jesus than actually worshiping and praising Him as Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. As a result, I was perpetually blown about by winds of doctrine—and I indeed still struggle with this—always seeking, but not truly out of love.

The aim of seeking truth, whether this be through philosophical debate, Scriptural exegesis, research, or anything else, is to know and love Jesus, because He is the Way, the Life, and the Truth (John 14:6). He is the one and only way to the Father, and we are further guided along by the Holy Spirit given to us. I forgot and I still often forget that the Holy Spirit indeed leads us: if I were to pray as much as I research, perhaps I would be blown about by winds of doctrine less easily (Ephesians 4:14).

The cosmic truth to which we are led is not the end in and of itself. Rather, the end of our seeking is the great, wondrous, mighty Being from whom the truth flows. Our aim is not truth in the abstract, but Truth in the person of Jesus Christ.

We can seek this truth all we want—we can know every detail about the early Church, and the original Scriptural languages, and have every word of Christ memorized—but if we do not seek His wonderful face, we will never truly know Him. We will only know about Him. Claiming that this is not the case is just the same as claiming that one knows Napoleon or Alexander the Great because one has read a lot about them—which makes no sense. As Jesus said to the Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life” (John 5:39-40).

All I want now is what He wants, whatever that may be. This is why I have settled on the church I attend now—because I know that this is where my Lord Jesus is calling me, at least for this season, and hopefully for a long while (it’s a traditional Anglican church, if you’re curious). I’ve grown more and more settled and joyful where I am. I’ve met some wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ through my church, and have been encouraged by its rich grounding in the historical tradition of the broader Church, but also its vitality as part of a modern community of believers. Being shaken out of my pride was just what I needed—for without my new and yet incomplete humility, I would not have found such an encouraging fellowship, and I would still likely be blind to my own sinful hubris.

For now, I am taking my time to grow ever closer to Jesus in this season of much significant change in my life before I throw myself wholeheartedly back into theological confusion. Yet, I am still seeking the truth because I am seeking Jesus Christ (despite my failures to always do so).

It is my hope and prayer that the truth section indeed continues to do all of the edifying things which I mentioned in the section’s first article, but even more so that it is truly directed at loving and knowing the Lord, who will guide us in our varying theological perspectives toward the truth together should we trust in His Son.

He truly is “the way, the life, and the truth.” Do you believe it?

Just one final note: thank you to the Epistle for such an encouraging little pilgrimage together. It has been my distinct pleasure to watch the Penn Epistle grow from a little seed of an idea to the flourishing journal it is now—may the Lord bless, preserve, and keep everyone who seeks Him and writes for His glory.

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
— John 14:6

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