Evangelical Christian leaders from across the spectrum have signed a “Year of Good News” declaration which responds to fake news from a Christian perspective.
“In a time of fake news, distracting news, divisive news, disorderly news, and, sometimes, depressing news, we—as Christians and as leaders— want to recommit ourselves to making sure that the Good News of Jesus cuts through it all,” the letter declared. “We commit to preach louder than our nation’s politics, and we aim to make the message of Jesus Christ transcend the monopoly of our media.”
Drafted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, the declaration has attracted the signatures of a great many evangelical Christian leaders, including Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, author Max Lucado, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler, Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham, and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) President Russell Moore. As such, it represents a big tent, comprising Christian leaders who opposed Donald Trump and those who supported him.
I just signed this letter sent to me by a friend, and I’m sharing it because I think it’s something many of you will…
The declaration calls “upon Christians in America to make 2017 ‘The Year of Good News.'” What does that mean? It means that “Christians everywhere must share the message of Jesus with everyone they can at every opportunity they can, and that “pastors must preach the gospel boldly and pray intentionally for national revival.”
“Despite the divisions and distractions dividing our nation and disorienting our culture, we believe that the gospel of Jesus Christ remains the hope of the world and is more needed in our nation now that an almost any point in our nation’s history,” Laurie and his fellow signers added. The declaration cited Jesus’ words in Matthew 28:19, to “go and make disciples of all nations.”
What is this Good News? It is the gospel, “the timeless, God-honored, God-ordained message that can change a human heart for time and eternity.” It consists in the message “that God loved us so much He sent His Son to this earth on a rescue mission. Jesus, who is fully God and fully man, lived a perfect life, died a perfect death, and rose again from the grave.”
The signers all agreed that America needs “a national miracle to heal our political, racial, and cultural divisions, and that miracle is found in the power of Jesus to change our hearts.”
“We confess our only hope of unity is on the level ground at the foot of the cross of Jesus, and our only hope of healing is in the victory achieved through His empty tomb,” the evangelical leaders declared.
Last month, Franklin Graham declared that the phenomenon of fake news is nothing new — it even emerges in the Bible’s account of the resurrection of Jesus. But with President Donald Trump repeatedly denouncing a legitimate news outlet like CNN as “fake news” because it often carries a heavy editorial slant against him, and with a former Ms. World suing companies which actually do fabricate fictional news stories for “fake news identity theft,” there seems to be an entirely new epidemic of “fake news.”
Laurie, Graham, Dobson, Lucado, Moore, and the others are entirely right to declare that the real counter to fake news isn’t just accurate reporting, but the Good News of Jesus Christ. The only legitimate criticism of this declaration is that every year should be “the Year of Good News,” not just 2017.
According to Christian doctrine, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), and this sin is the root of all division, suffering, and death that can be witnessed in the world today. The one answer to that root cause is Jesus Christ — the Son of God who came down to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37), to die on the cross and take the penalty of human sin, and to rise from the dead, proving His message and giving hope to those who trust in Him.
This declaration came right around the beginning of Lent, a period of fasting and reflection upon sin in preparation for Easter. It is a fitting time to reflect upon the root cause of division, and to repent of sins to God, while looking forward to His ultimate redemption in the resurrection of the dead, first of Jesus and later of all human beings.
In this time of division, anger, and false reports, Christians should renew their dedication to the gospel of Jesus Christ, and these leaders deserve praise for doing exactly that.