FAKE NEWS VS. GOOD NEWS
By MARC IRA HOOKS
It seems impossible to go a day without hearing the phrase “fake news.” In fact, the term is now so ubiquitously used it is now an entry in the Associated Press’s AP Stylebook to ensure correct usage by journalists. “Holding politicians and public figures accountable for their words often requires reporting or research to verify facts that affirm or disprove a statement, or that show a gray area,” the March 2017, update from AP read. “Fact-checking also is essential in debunking fabricated stories or parts of stories done as hoaxes, propaganda, jokes or for other reasons, often spread widely on the internet and mistaken as truth by some news consumers.” The report also noted, “there is a difference between sloppy reporting and ‘fake news.’”
As those who regularly study the Bible, this should come as no surprise. Though it now has a name, fake news has existed since God breathed life into man and formed woman from his rib. The serpent approached Eve in the Garden and accused God of spreading fake news concerning the tree in the center of the garden. Saul believed fake news concerning David and repeatedly tried to kill the next king of Israel. And the religious leaders of the day blatantly spread false reports about Jesus throughout his ministry.
These false reports culminated in the biggest fake news report of all, “While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So, they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.” – Matthew 28:11-15 ESV
Today, we consume information day in and day out, trying to discern which reports have credibility, and which will be labeled as fake news. However, the Bible tells us that discerning the truth will be clear. It was not by accident we refer to the accounts of Jesus as the gospels – literally, the good news!
From our earliest days in Sunday School, we all remember Luke was a doctor. However, more importantly, he was one of the first documented investigative reporters.
In the opening chapters of Luke’s account he writes,“it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” – Luke 1:3-4 NASB (Emphasis mine.)
You see, the story of Jesus is an extraordinary one. But it is more than a fairy tale or a bedtime story. It is a story which contains “exact truth” – that’s something which seems pretty hard to come by these days. Luke reports the angels announced Jesus’ birth saying they were bringing “good news of great joy!”
The difference between the nightly news on television and what we read in the Gospels is that the Bible’s news is not only “the exact truth”, but it is news containing “great joy.”
Today, statistics show fewer and fewer people believe in the concept of absolute truth.
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy about those who will turn away from truth and good news. “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” – 2 Timothy 3:1-7 NASB
On March 29 and 30, the reThink Apologetics Conference will be held at Cottonwood Creek Church in Allen. This is the second year for the CBA Church Network to co-sponsor this event, and we do this because it is important for Christians to know and understand what they believe. While the conference is geared toward students, it is open to anyone wanting to learn more about how to defend their faith against the difficult times of the last days in which we find ourselves.
There is a daily battle between fake news and the good news. As followers of Jesus Christ, we know which side will ultimately come out on top. Therefore, it is our responsibility to be a living witness of the good news of Jesus Christ to the girls, boys, women, and men in Collin County and beyond.
For more information about tickets for this event, text RETHINK to 77978, or send
an email to Meredith.jackson@ cottonwoodcreek.org. Or, you can call the church at 972-359-7777.