“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”2 Timothy 4:3-4
Early this past November, NBC News reported on a “study” produced by an “international consortium of more than 11,000 scientists.” Those numbers are newsworthy, especially when the scientists, as we were told, were prominent professionals from 153 countries. Countless other agencies around the globe – including CNN, The Guardian, Al Jazeera News, and The Independent UK – picked up the story and reported the news as a fresh call to action and as our new “moral obligation.”
Then John Hinderaker from PowerLine discovered the truth:
“Actually, there was no study, there was just a press release. And it wasn’t 11,000 scientists, it was 11,000 random people who put their names on a web page. But today’s reporters are so biased and so incompetent that when it comes to ‘climate change,’ they will swallow anything.”
Others, like Ezra Levant of Canada, have followed the bread crumbs to expose the far reaching exposure of this hoax, but revealing the truth strangely doesn’t produce sufficient satisfaction. As long as the headlines are published, people can believe in the reports that speak to their predispositions without concern of correction. The truth, when it becomes relative, is no longer an intrinsic necessity for reporting the news.
This is more than just disconcerting. We have to recognize that we’re being lied to, regularly and purposely.
When we are young, we are taught that a free press is constitutionally critical to a free society. So many of us grow up with the assumed trust that “the news,” though not perfect, acts as sort of a referee on the various playing fields of politics, business, society, law, and culture. But what happens when the referees choose sides?
Culturally, we are watching what happens when the rules of the game are unenforced, forgotten, or blatantly violated. Now we have to act as our own arbiters, ineffectual referees and not the observers.
Ironically, this is the expected outcome of the “truth is relative” movement. We are to feel isolated, but not abandoned by the individuals and institutions that have propagated the lies. We are supposed to feel as if truth itself has disappeared. When that’s conceded then any report can be verified, corroborated, and slapped together as “news.”
Years ago this kind of harsh critique could have easily been dismissed as slightly conspiratorial, but these days “they are a changing.” There is a more flagrant and bold approach to the lies, as if it’s an unchallenged understanding that, even if you’re caught, even if you have to retract or publish a correction, it doesn’t matter. There are no referees on the playing field! So fouls become an accepted part of playing the game.
To put it more directly, when the truth devolves to relativism, “news” becomes no more than political manipulation and cultural propaganda, and people are misled.
This should be an inescapable concern of anyone who claims “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” to be their eternal Savior (cf. John 14:6).
So what is the answer? What should a pastor encourage his people to do?
Well, culturally, the answers are relative! But not to the context of human opinion. Fortunately, we have a far more tested source for our reporting: It’s God’s Word! So the answer is to become more fluent in the Truth.
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:15-17