“Fake news”—I don’t recall learning about this in school, but I seem to read or hear about it all the time lately, especially from the keyboard or mouth of President Trump. This phrase was named one of the “words of the year” for 2017 by Collins Dictionary. The prevalence of this new term cultivates a certain suspicion toward news reporting, indicating the potential prevalence of deception in publishing.
Yet, the reality of fake news implies the reality of a true account of events. What is “news” anyway, if not the reporting of events that have a certain relevance for certain people? Readers and hearers of news expect a faithful account of events that matter to them. We expect details that affect our response to be accurately described. But when fake news becomes so allegedly frequent, how can we discern what’s fake and what’s true?
Though the term “fake news” may be relatively new, the reality certainly isn’t. According to the Bible, in the very earliest days of humanity’s history, the very first woman spun a fake news story; reporting on what God had said to her husband, she modified and added words to a direct quotation from God (compare Genesis 3:3 with Genesis 2:17), a fundamental journalistic no-no. And so began a history of human falsehood.
The Bible is a grand story that ultimately reports news, a record of events that have a certain relevance for all people. We read the true story of human rebellion against the one true God. But the Bible also reports the events through which God has acted decisively to remedy the rebellion. Those events essentially consist of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, whose life was characterized by perfect obedience to God, whose undeserved death was sufficient to pay the penalty for human rebellion, and whose resurrection vindicated him as the Son of God. This good news has relevance for every sinner everywhere; this good news has been reported faithfully so that readers and hearers everywhere could meet this resurrected Jesus, trust him, and thereby enjoy a real relationship with God forever.
Mr. Justin Langley is Minister of Discipleship of Kilgore Bible Church in Kilgore. You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.kilgorebiblechurch.org.