Read: 1 John 4:1-6
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
Acts 17:11 KJV
Information. Our world is full of it and, unfortunately, it isn’t always accurate. (Just ask any college student who has used Wikipedia as a source for a term paper!) While we may be quick to point to politicians, academics, and the news media as prime examples of truth twisters, they aren’t the only parties who are sometimes guilty of manipulating information. Intentionally or not, Christians often fall prey to the same temptation to slant a story to elicit a specific reaction from others. And in few places is this as evident as in the world of politics and government.
I won’t pretend that I was surprised at receiving calls urging the Senator to vote against bills which would result in the arrest of anyone carrying a Bible in public or fines for those who quoted its words. I was, however, deeply surprised at the frequency of such calls… especially given that no such bill was ever considered either on the floor of the Senate or in committee. Perhaps even more surprising was that, when asked where they had received their information, nearly every constituent named a usually reliable Christian source!
It didn’t take long before I was checking the named sources for myself and, sure enough, many of them did warn of the threats posed by current legislation. Unfortunately, few of them took time to explain what the bills currently under consideration were actually designed to accomplish or how they were presently worded. Indeed, without an extensive series of events (often involving the complete reworking of the English language, the passage of successive legislation with blatant malicious intent, and/or the abolition of our present form of government), the prophesied outcomes were unlikely to ever take place. In failing to clarify their concern over the legislation (or the path by which they arrived at their concern), these “reliable” sources had created a panic. And those acting upon their information rather than taking time to read the bill for themselves, looked more like fools than concerned citizens.
Perhaps it is for this reason that the New Testament writers took such care to commend the early Church for seeking truth in the original source documents. While many pastors and teachers are both competent and faithful, there will always be a few who are not. Only when we take time to confirm information for ourselves can we be certain that our words and actions represent truth and honor Christ!
Challenge: This week, commit to discovering the truth. Make a list of beliefs you consider to be “fact” then take the time to research them for yourself. You may be surprised at what you discover!