So who of you has ever read an article and gotten really excited or really angry over what you were reading, maybe even forwarded it onto someone or posted it on Facebook/social media only to discover that it was either a bogus tabloid article, a "too good to be true" sales pitch, or a fake news story specifically designed to get people wound up and "won over" to their way of thinking? I hate to admit it but I have been "suckered in" on a few occasions which is probably one of the reasons I have a certain level of cynicism and trust issues to this day. And yet, maybe in a good way I am a lot more measured and not (as) prone towards hype and hysteria.
The bottom line is this: people HATE feeling deceived or ripped off. And if we are honest, this carries over into faith, religion, and "church". There have certainly been enough "fake news" stories about phony healing testimonies, preachers embezzling funds, having affairs...to cause people to have their own "trust issues" and cynicism when it comes to God, faith, and the church. Who could blame them?
With that said I am still 100% convinced that "the gospel (good news) of the kingdom" isn't fake at all! But how do we know this for sure? Some might argue that there is no way to know for sure, but for me, some of the questions I ask are: are the poor and downcast being loved and encouraged? Are the hungry being fed? Are the homeless being housed? Are the sick being healed and the blind receiving sight? Are the captives being set free? Once hearing the message, are people more inclined to respond to others in love rather than hate or fear? That's certainly not an exhaustive list but those are a few indicators to let us know if we (as a church as well as individually) are on the right track and if what we are doing falls more under the category of "good news" rather than "fake news".