Published June 13, 2017

Paul's Epistle
"Fake News or Good News"

Many Americans these days seem to be spending a lot of time thinking about "fake news." That, of course, refers to news stories that are blown all out of proportion to their actual significance as well as to stories that simply are not true, the latter being more common, but are nevertheless presented as truth.

As one whose career began as a radio newsman and then as a radio and television news director, I've seen "from the inside" that news stories can easily be slanted. The same event or issue can be reported with a very positive or a very negative "spin," and the listener/viewer/reader is usually unaware, simply accepting whatever was reported as truth.

What we're seeing today is a very "negative spin" being placed by the mainstream media on almost everything that happens in a seemingly orchestrated effort to tear down certain leaders and their goals while enhancing those of the opposition. It's nothing more than unbridled political theater.

What seems to be lacking in all of this is a simple adherence to the truth. Not long ago, officials at Oxford Dictionaries declared that the international "word of the year" for 2016 was "post-truth." They define the term as "belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant." In other words, things people declare to be true might or might not actually be true. But who cares? It just doesn't seem to matter, so long as some point is being made. It's all relative, anyway.

In fact, Oxford Dictionaries President Casper Grathwohl says, "I wouldn't be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time."  Indeed.

So, unfortunately, it's come to this. Undoubtedly it's the direct result of another "post" term that's come into vogue in recent years, describing today's society as "post-Christian." That term is defined as the "loss of the primacy of the Christian worldview" in favor of alternative worldviews such as secularism.

Should it be surprising to us, then, that a decline in Christian belief would be accompanied by a decline in respect for, and adherence to, the truth?

No, of course not, because Christ was the One who declared Himself to be "the truth" (John 14:6). And those who hate Christ hate the truth. It goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, where Satan delivered the first "fake news" to Eve, telling her that God didn't mean what He said when she was to avoid eating from one particular tree (Gen. 3:1-2). And his "fake news" was very convincing, despite the fact that it wasn't true. He was lying. He was deceiving. Christ later said that Satan "does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him... He is a liar and the father of it" (John 8:44).

So when you hear someone intentionally lying, know that Christ is not in them. John put it this way: "If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (1 John 1:6). Unfortunately, there are even many churches that deny whole chunks of inspired Scripture, saying they are "fake" or mere literary creations, simply because they don't fit their own post-Christian worldview.

Remember, "fake news" is just that – "fake," something intended to sway opinion away from the truth.

But, Christian, rejoice – because there is "good news" that is absolutely true. It involves "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." Sound familiar? It's Paul's list of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22).

And the Good News – which is, of course, the definition of the word "Gospel" – doesn't change from day to day. Fake news may come and go. It might be the big news story one day and completely discredited the next. But the unchanging word of the Lord – the Good News – "endures forever" (1 Peter 1:15). The Good News of God, embodied in Christ, "is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8). You can absolutely stake your life on it – today, tomorrow and for eternity.

Ignore the fake news. It's ephemeral anyway.

Instead, embrace, concentrate on and rejoice in the Good News – the Gospel. It's God's truth, and it will never change. And, unlike the fake news, it's what is actually important for your life.

- Paul

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