Fake News and Fake Gospel
Fake News and Fake Religion
The term “fake news” has become a highly used expression, and probably fittingly so in many cases. It seems to me that the news used to be news. Reporters sought to give an accurate account of what was happening in society, and few questioned it. We live in a different world today! Many times the news is skewed by opinions and biases. Unfortunately, the same thing can be said concerning religion.
Christ sent the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all truth (see Jn. 16:13; 14:26). It should have been simple, but man quickly corrupted the purity and simplicity of the Gospel. Many good-hearted people think that what one believes and practices religiously, is simply not that important. And while their intentions may be good, they are wrong.
Listen to Paul’s words to the Christians at Galatia: “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one…” (1:6-7).
Many in the religious world must be astonished at the astonishment of Paul! If Paul were here today I have no doubt people would tell him to calm down and not worry about all the different beliefs. But Paul, who wrote by the commandments of God (1 Cor. 14:37) and by the will of God (see Col. 1:1), was worried! The church at Galatia was turning away from the truth of the Gospel and accepting a “fake” Gospel, which Paul says really was really not a Gospel.
It is beyond unfortunate that many sincere people today are so confused by so many different religious teachings. That is exactly how I feel about the news and politics. So many different people make so many different accusations. Who is telling the truth? Honestly, sometimes it is hard to know. And honestly, sometimes I don’t make enough effort to follow closely enough to find out what is fake and what is real.
Countless people do the exact same thing with religion. They simply conclude that it really doesn’t matter, or that we just can’t know for sure what the Bible teaches. Surely this is a powerful device of Satan, the father of lies (see Jn. 8:44).
Since we find ourselves in this situation, there are at least two very important factors we must keep in mind.
First, we must be exceedingly patient and gracious. People are honestly confused. Not only are some confused, but some are very disgruntled with religion in general. I’m not sure that I can blame them. If we were in their shoes, we would surely want them to be gracious and patient with us (see Mt. 7:12).
Secondly, because of “fake” Gospels, even more diligent study is needed in order to oppose false doctrines. If there was no such thing as religious error, deeper and more diligent study wouldn’t be as critical. Since it is what it is, Christians must “contend for the faith” (Jude 3). In the beginning of that verse Paul mentioned that he had intended to talk to them about their common salvation, but out of necessity he turned his attention to pleading with them to “contend for the faith.”
While we might want to spend most of our time studying about salvation, Christian growth and other more pleasant things, “fake Gospels” demand that we give serious attention to other matters so that we will know what is so (see Acts 17:11) and be prepared to defend the truth (see 1 Pt. 3:15; Jude 3).
The truth is that religious error puts countless souls in peril. It is the truth which saves (Jn. 8:32). This is why Paul gives the elders at Ephesus a sober warning concerning those who would speak “twisted things” (Acts 20:30). In verse 28 he warns saying: “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” What were the elders to do? What should every Christian do? Paul says, “And now I commend you to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). If you will truly abide in the Word you will be protected from a “fake Gospel!”