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You're Being Checked

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  • You're Being Checked

    Is that story you're sharing accurate?



    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?

    In Christ,
    Nick Peters
    (And I affirm the virgin birth)

  • #2
    Problem is, that many, perhaps most, of these "glurge" stories preachers tell have no names, places or dates that can be verified.

    The boy who had to donate blood for his sister, thinking he was going to die so that she could live. The drawbridge operator who had to lower the bridge for an approaching train, knowing that his son was playing in the gearbox and would be crushed by the gears so that there wouldn't be a fatal train wreck. The boy hiding behind the sofa while his father murdered his mother then shot himself, while a bearded man wearing a robe protected him; the boy years later attended church and recognized that man in a drawing of Jesus. The foreign missionary who visited a charismatic church as they spoke in tongues; he understood that language and later stated that it was full of profanities and demonic expressions.

    Then there's one story I have heard about Robert Robinson, saved under the preaching of George Whitfield and later became an ordained minister and wrote the lyrics, "Come thou fount of every blessing." Here is a quote of the glurge account of Robbinson from the internet:

    There is a story often told, but unverified, that just before he died, Robinson found himself riding on a stagecoach next to a woman singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” The woman noticed that Robinson was affected by her singing, and asked him what he thought about the hymn. The story says that Robinson’s eyes filled with tears when he replied, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”

    There are more. The boy who lost his sailboat and later saw it in a pawnshop window, and had to pay to own it again. I could go on.
    Last edited by Faber; 10-12-2020, 09:50 AM.


    • #3
      I had a good friend of mine actually get really mad when I "fact checked" what he shared on Facebook. He said something like, "Who appointed you to be my editor"

      He is one of those guys that keeps sharing missing children reports and when you click on the link, it usually says, "Found safe" - and I told him this and said he needed to check his links before sharing them.

      So, basically I don't even comment on his shares any more. He is still a friend but it's not worth interacting with him on Facebook if he is going to be upset when someone points out he is sharing misleading information.


      • #4
        I remember one time, I heard a sermon story where a young man shared the gospel to his beer drinking father in law, and he decided to accept it. Two weeks later, the father in law went into a Mormon church, asked for the new convert class, and converted 25 people from that class on the spot. I could only think about how implausible the whole story sounded.
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill


        • #5
          Maybe someone can create a fact checking site for these stories/accounts that might be shared in sermons. This should be better than the news fact-checking which is controlled by the foxes. (I wonder if the sermon preparation tools and websites are passing bad stories.) It is best just to stick with the stories/accounts that you know from reliable sources.


          • #6
            I remember several decades ago, maybe before Al Gore invented the internet, some group checking things. Like that story that some computer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center at Greenbelt MD found a missing day and 40 minutes in history, then a Christian explained it by Joshua's causing the sun to stand still and Hezekiah's sundial (2 Kings 20:8-11; Isaiah 38:7-8)


            • #7
              Follow-up: It was discredited by an article in the July 1989 Bible-Science Newsletter.

              Harry Rimmer, in Harmony of Science and Scripture, published 1936, years before NASA, attributed a story of a missing day to a book by Prof C. A. Totten of Yale, written in 1690. The NASA computer version of the story attributes 23 hours 20 minutes discrepancy to the time of Joshua, and the other 40 minutes to Hezekiah.


              • #8
                I remember the old story of the Atheist professor who proved the existence of God by dropping a piece of chalk. And since it didn't break that was proof God exist. Another classic was the claim Russian oil workers were able to drill into the ground in which they were able to record the screams of hell. Art Bell used to play what was claimed to be the audio on his show. You can even video the audio on youtube.


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