Fact and Falsehood – 1½ minute read

Decades ago, my godly pastor preached a strong message with political implications. I then taught the message to my Sunday School class and others. Later events proved that biblical interpretation to be undeniably false. I do not believe my pastor deliberately deceived me. Like me, he had taught what he heard from others.

I do not believe passing on information from a presumably reliable source absolves my pastor or me for teaching falsehood in the name of God. James 3:1 warns that teachers will incur a stricter judgment. The stricter judgement concerns me less than deep sorrow for having misrepresented God.

The root of my error was that I believed God would not allow believers to teach falsehood in His name. Many conflicting biblical interpretations come from the contemporary American church, the worldwide church, and the historical church. All can’t be accurate. Clearly God does allow error to be taught in His name. Moreover, the Bible itself recognizes that there will be distortions of scripture.

His (Paul’s) letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 NIV)

Today the Internet and social media allow for rapid transfer of distorted teaching. Forwarding or sharing can be a form of teaching. I recently received a strongly worded message, riddled with falsehoods, opposing wearing face masks during the pandemic. Another message emphatically stated that Dr. Fauci and Bill Gates had deliberately created the Covid virus and unleashed it for political reasons. Both messages had been passed on by Christians from sources presumed trustworthy.

Please join me refraining from passing on information in a Christian context unless the content can be verified as factual. And be careful about believing unsubstantiated materials you receive.

Drew Coons

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