Fake News & The Gospel
There are people in life that you will dislike and even hotly disagree with on loads of issues, but it is wrong to slander. As a follower of Christ, I have been commanded to love and speak with grace and truth towards every person - even those who make themselves my enemies. I cannot claim that I am pursuing truth if I am spreading lies.
In the past few weeks, I have seen some fake reporting concerning three specific issues: one involving Chick-Fil-A's donations; one involving J.D. Greear's response to the transgender moment; and one involving the impeachment of President Trump...
When I initially read a story about Chick-Fil-A's capitulating to the LGBT-agenda driven culture, I was disheartened and saddened. We are constantly bombarded from every side with the message that our sexual ethic as believers is wrong and immoral, even though it has been the high-water mark of sexual purity for all of human history. All of a sudden, we are being ordered to bow down to the sudden, extreme, leftward movement of the culture in this area and there have been a few hold-outs among the big money sets in America. I took heart that there was a big voice in America taking a stand for truth and it made me sad to hear that they had caved to the culture! Fast forward a week and it turns out the story was blown way out of proportion. They are still donating to Christian groups and I was happy!
But I was sad that my side had gotten it so wrong...
Same thing with the response to J.D. Greear's recent AMA on his podcast. I have seen several articles that, for some reason, refuse to dig into all of his content. They go light on the reporting and simply hit the highlight that they know will get them clicks. Here's one you can check out, and here's another. But you would be well-served to ACTUALLY LISTEN to what he says! You can hear it for free right here!
You don't have to like J.D. Greear to know that he's working through a complex situation as best he can to have an opportunity to preach the gospel to some very confused, hurting people. You don't have to agree with him on the issue either. But it isn't right to smear a brother in Christ as he preaches the same gospel to a different set. I would imagine that pastor Greear and the Summit Church have evangelized more "transgender" folks than most of their critics have ever even met.
But that's really what the issue is about. The proclamation of Christ and his gospel suffers while we take potshots at each other based on half-truths and assumptions. As a conservative Christian, I'm ashamed that so much of the inaccurate reporting on these issues comes from "my" side! I kind of expect liberals to be hateful and to lie about the president. I expect lost people to lie, whether they are on the right or the left of the political spectrum. But I expect more out of my people. After all, we worship and serve a Savior who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Shouldn't we expect a love of truth out of people who say their ultimate allegiance is to the one who said, "I am the truth."?
It is painfully obvious to me that there are many people on both sides of the aisle who prefer their version of the truth to the actual truth. We live in a time when people put adjectives on truth. We talk about "my truth," "his truth," "her truth," etc... as though their are different versions of truth.
I'm not a rocket scientist, but I've learned enough to know that when two people tell two different stories, they may both be lying - but they aren't both telling the truth. When we begin to put modifiers on "truth," we move away from truth. The same thing goes for justice and equality. You cannot put a modifier on justice and still have justice. You get a deformity of the thing. Currently, people are fighting for their deformities of justice, equity, and truth, but they have left actual justice, equity, and truth in order to fight for their own deformities of those very good things.
This is not new. As John MacArthur has said, "Truth has never been in vogue." God's microphone, Isaiah, thundered forth this message to God's people:
Isaiah 59:13-15, "In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter. Yea, truth faileth; and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey: and the LORD saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment."
This is certainly a pitiful state for God's people to be in. There was no concern for truth. Men fought for their sect and for their tribe and truth was the real victim. Anyone who stood for truth became a prey because they had a side and it wasn't his side or her side... it was God's side.
I'm thankful that the scriptures do not leave us there. Isaiah goes on to speak truth from God! Since no person could bring us what we need (truth, equity, and justice), God brought it to us on his own!
Isaiah 59:16-17, "And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him. For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke."
When men fail us (and they will), it only reminds us to look to our Redeemer - Jesus. When men let us down (and they will), we must remember that God has brought salvation to us by his own arm in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus put on righteousness and lived a perfect life so that he could be our intercessor and bring his righteousness to us.
We have an enemy: Satan. Jesus referred to him as "the father of lies." He is good at manipulating the truth to fit his own agenda. Our heavenly Father understands our helplessness against Satan and so God came to us in the person of the Son, not only to give us truth, but to serve as the truth. Jesus Christ is the foundation of all things that are true in time and eternity.
In a world of fake news, you can bank your eternity on this fact: God loves you and sent his Son, Jesus, to die in your place on the cross. The truth of the gospel goes so deep into every fiber of our reality. We can rest in the fact that truth will come out one day at the judgement seat of Christ. Equity and justice will certainly be done. It isn't wrong to pursue truth now, but it is ultimately Christ's business. While it may seem slow coming, it is surely coming.
But truth is a two-edged sword. There are times it is in my favor, but there are times when it speaks against me. Mark Twain said, "Every man is like the moon. We all have a side of us we don't want anyone to see." In God's day of judgment, truth, and equity, there will be no favorites played and no favors given. All sinners will be punished by God and cast into hell by Jesus Christ because they trampled under foot the blood that was shed to pay the penalty for their sin.
That is why Jesus came, lived a perfect life, and died - to pay the price for sinners that they couldn't pay. That is why Jesus rose from the grave - to overcome sin's penalty. Jesus offers salvation as a free gift to anyone who will turn to him and trust in him completely.
Whatever you trust now to fulfill you and bring you happiness is your idol. Whatever it is that you obey now (whether it's your own lusts, pursuit of wealth, or personal truth) is your idol. Understand that you must abandon all your hopes of happiness or fulfillment in this life and in the next, except for what can be found in Jesus. Jesus has claimed to bring you life and life abundantly if you will put your confidence in him! Have you believed in Jesus? If you haven't, will you believe in Jesus today?
If you are a Christian, you must preach Jesus! He's the only hope of sinners and saints alike. We must teach a lost world how to trust in Jesus. In a world filled with confusion and fake news, we have the greatest truth available! Take heart! Lift up your voice and tell someone the gospel today!