Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Week Twenty-Five - Fake News

Beside the Well
            Fake news, we hear it all the time.  It is getting harder and harder to determine what is true in the press.  With Photoshop and all sorts of other techniques, anything can be made to look real.  I even saw a picture the other day of the skeleton of a mermaid.  Now, don’t fall for it!  It was photo-shopped, but the article sounded very convincing.
            Sadly, the same thing happens in the church.  As searchers look for truth, they are left grappling with all sorts of fake news like promises of prosperity, healing, and supernatural power. 
            Rev. S Martin painted the picture this way: “Like the old tower on the plain of Shinar.  A stranger draws near to see what the children of men are building.  He inquires.  He is answered by a confusion of sounds and incongruous voices.  Each voice may have some tones of Paradise; each dialect may have numerous signs and sounds of Eden; but the effect of the whole upon the ear of the stranger is this one impression—Babel.” (p 79)
            How sad when the voice of the church gives an indistinct sound; when the word of life is dimmed or distorted by issues, opinions, and fake news.  How are men to determine truth when they cannot hear it plainly?  How are they to listen to the good news of the saving grace of Christ when each herald sounds his own trumpet?
            Rev Martin went on to discuss the effect of the church’s fake news on society.  Men no longer trust each other—in business, in writing, in art, they all criticize and have no leader.  They laugh at our faith but demand we have faith in them, while in secret they are unfaithful.  When the truth is not clearly proclaimed, men make their own truth.
            Thomas Carlyle was a Scottish philosopher and historian in the 1800’s who had a robust remedy for fake news—to cut out the tongues of one generation. Imagine that!
            But, Rev Martin makes note, “the clipping of the tongue, as Carlyle forgets, would only make maimed men; and God’s way of redeeming a man, is, not to maim him, but to make him whole.” (p 78)  This blessed my heart!  Our Lord doesn’t maim us; He corrects us in love for our benefit, speaking directly to our hearts to mend the flaw. 
            But I got to thinking, “How can a man be made whole if he cannot succinctly hear the instruction of the Great Physician?” “Would the clipping of the tongue change the wickedness of the heart?”  Hardly.  So what is to be done?
            The difference between the Christian and his opponents is the object of belief.  Faith must be in Christ alone, and in His truth—not fake news. Fake news obstructs truth.  We are warned against following fables and useless questions
(1 Timothy 1:4) and admonished to blow our gospel trumpets with an intelligible sound (1 Corinthians 14:8).
            If men are to be made whole, they need to hear a genuine, honest message of God's love that avoids the babble of fake news.
Gail Gritts 
Beside the Well

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