Should you share that story from the pulpit? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Yesterday sitting in church, I heard my pastor tell the story of Patrick Greene. Greene was an atheist activist wanting to remove a nativity scene from the area where he lived when he came down with a condition that needed surgery. The church in the area raised up the money to help him get his surgery. Shortly after that, he actually converted to Christianity.
I found the story interesting and decided to look it up to see if it’s true. Turns out not only is it true, but Greene is now looking to become a Baptist minister. This was a relief because too many times when I have heard other pastors share stories from the pulpit like this, they have turned out to not be true.
Go back a few decades and this might not be the big deal it is now. Today though, it is a major deal. Your church has especially young people (Let’s hope it does!) who are technologically savvy. They know how to get up on their phones immediately and look up what you said.
If they find out in a search that what you have said is false, they are less inclined to take you seriously. If they cannot take you seriously on a minor point they can look up on their phones, why should they take you seriously on the resurrection? That’s a very valid question. Why should they?
Seriously. Why should they? If you can’t bother to fact-check a story you are going to share that will take only a couple of minutes, why should they trust you on what would take much more time to test?
Now suppose you’re not a pastor. Are you safe? No. If you don’t fact check what you are sharing on the internet, which never forgets, then you are doing the exact same thing as a Christian.
Recently, I shared a Babylon Bee story on a friend’s page who had shared a Babylon Bee story of her own. Both of them were about the VP debate. Someone commented and asked if I know the Bee is satire and that Trump supporters will seem to believe anything.
I replied saying I knew it was satire of course. My friend had shared one and I shared one I thought was even funnier. I also shared that as a political conservative, I have had to take to task many of my fellow conservatives often and I hate it. Of course, that could be because many of my company is also conservative and so that’s what I see the most.
I have taken down false information from liberals before, but I really hate having to do it with my own side. Why do it though? Because if you only care about taking down falsehood on the other side, you don’t really care about truth. You just care about ideology.
Pastor. Today, it’s more essential than ever that you do your best to fact-check your account. If you’re not sure, you could possibly share the story and say “There are differing opinions on the story so I’m not saying it’s absolutely true, but I want you to draw a lesson from it.”
This is especially true if we want to reach youth for Jesus. If our churches do not do this, they are more likely to die when the older generation dies off. If my wife and I go into a church and we’re the youngest people we see there, I start predicting a soon coming death for the church. Older people die of and you need others to replace them and if you aren’t drawing in people, you’re not really winning anyone ever. You’re more of a social club.
I’m thankful my pastor’s story was true. I have heard too many that are not. I know enough about Christianity to know it’s true despite messengers that don’t do their homework. What about that newcomer though? What about that skeptic?
Are they worth a brief fact-check?
(And I affirm the virgin birth)