In light of happenings during the last week, I am re-posting an essay I wrote only 2 month ago. What recent happenings? It has been An Embarrassing Week for Christians Sharing Fake News! Ed Stetzer’s article has some great advice, so if you already read my post from May – skip it – and read Stetzer’s piece instead.
Do you care about the truth? Are you sure?
As Christians, we worship Jesus Christ, who proclaimed himself to be the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). While faith is a critical component of Christianity, there are evidences for our faith and reasons to believe. Early historians such as Luke (who wrote Luke and Acts in our New Testament) was highly concerned with accuracy. In the opening verses of Luke he tells Theophilus that he wants to present an orderly account of the life of Jesus Christ. He refers to eyewitness who were involved from the beginning, and he wants Theophilus to be able to believe with confidence.
In the opening verses of Acts, Luke refers to “many infallible proofs” of the resurrection of Jesus. The Greek word for proof occurs only here in the New Testament, and refers to proof by incontrovertible evidence. Luke was a careful historian that asked questions, investigated, and was concerned with truth. The opening verses of First John emphasize that they, the apostles, were bearing witness to what they saw with their eyes, heard with their ears, and touched with their hands.
How about us? Are we concerned with accuracy and truth? Do we investigate and ask questions? Or are we gullible and naive? As people who worship the God who is THE TRUTH we should be concerned with being accurate and trustworthy in our faith and how we present it – and with other areas of life too.
Yet, I too often find that evangelical Christians can be the worst culprits when it comes to sharing: stories or news reports of questionable origin, internet rumors, warnings of various types, etc. It seems like we assume the worst, immediately believe the report, and pass it right along. If the rumor or report involves prejudice against Christians or “end time” issues, a fearful paranoia or hysteria can come into play as well – and the report automatically assumed to be accurate.
This does not properly reflect people who claim to follow THE TRUTH. We should be concerned with accuracy and exhibit critical thinking skills. We want to be trustworthy witnesses for our Lord Jesus, and not be known as gullible people who fall for the latest rumors. A reaction of fearful paranoia also conflicts with the Bible’s repeated instruction to not be afraid, and to remember our hope and security in Christ.
It doesn’t take much effort to pause, think, and do a little research. Ask yourself some thoughtful questions about the report or story. There may be some obvious flaws or problems with it, if you only take a few moments to consider it. Compare several different news sources. Go to a site like snopes.com and see if they have investigated it. Sometimes a report may be partially true, but be distorted – facts are left out which can create an inaccurate impression.
I have a friend who is a former Christian who now fluctuates between calling herself an agnostic and atheist. She is concerned with accuracy and truth. On her social media site, she sometimes posts articles that clarify inaccurate reports or rumors on various things. My friends departure from faith was for several reasons, but one was gullible and non-thinking Christians. Let us not hinder and harm our gospel witness in this way. Let us be known as people of TRUTH.