Scripture continually and consistently tells us to reject falsehood and cling to truth. God uses repetition to underscore important points, and he gives warnings that emphasize the sure consequences of our allegiances. The way of falsehood leads to death. The way of truth leads to life. God himself is truth, and all truth emanates from him. As St. Augustine famously put it: All truth is God’s truth.
A key defining characteristic of evangelicals is a commitment to the Bible as the ultimate authority. Evangelicals are historically people who are committed to the truth. Yet we live in a time with a plethora of worldviews, in which “truths” compete against each other with all the fervor and passion that can be explored on cable news and social media. Oftentimes, we operate in silos and hear repeated untruths so frequently they begin to sound like truth. Worldviews seep so slyly into our minds and hearts that we don’t recognize the false narratives.
How can we be people of truth? How can we encourage people in our churches to reject falsehoods? As many know from personal experience, it is very difficult to convince someone, even a fellow brother or sister in Christ, that he or she has fallen prey to a conspiracy theory. Why is that?
In the cover article, Rich Nathan, pastor of Vineyard Columbus, outlines seven reasons why people accept conspiracy theories (Page 14), while Ed Stetzer and Andrew MacDonald of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center offer advice specifically for church leaders who seek to nurture the evangelical mind during this time (Page 20). Mary Poplin, author of “Is Reality Secular?” and professor of education at Claremont Graduate University, describes today’s prominent worldviews and how Christianity is superior to each one (Page 17).
We seek to understand prevailing worldviews and susceptibility to conspiracy theories not to get into heated arguments, but to understand, empathize and bring people into the way of truth that leads to life. As Latasha Morrison notes (Page 23), telling the truth doesn’t put up barriers, it builds bridges. Throughout this magazine issue, authors offer surprising antidotes to our present moment including Christian community, soft hearts, humble curiosity, and an integration of science and faith, among other things.
Let us follow Paul’s admonition to the church in Ephesus: “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body” (Ephesians 4:25).