Is fake news hurting your church?
K. Allan Blume, BR Editor
May 30, 2017

Is fake news hurting your church?

Is fake news hurting your church?
K. Allan Blume, BR Editor
May 30, 2017

We have been hearing a lot of talk about fake news. For those who are not sure what that is, Wikipedia offers this description. “Fake news is a type of yellow journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes spread via the traditional print, broadcasting news media or via Internet-based social media. Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically, often with sensationalist, exaggerated or patently false headlines that grab attention.”

Biblical Recorder checklist:

This is a personal inventory about ways you use the Biblical Recorder.

__I receive the print edition of the Recorder through my church’s group subscription plan.

__ I am getting the free digital edition of the Recorder that comes with my subscription.

__I receive the print edition of the Biblical Recorder through my individual subscription.

__I am getting the free digital edition of the Recorder that comes with my subscription.

__I subscribe only to the digital edition ($5.99 annually).

__I regularly visit the Biblical Recorder’s website, BRnow.org, for news and information.

__I have the BR app on my android phone or iPhone.

__I receive the free BRweekly e-newsletter in my email every Wednesday morning.

__I follow the Biblical Recorder on Twitter.

__I “Like” the Biblical Recorder on Facebook.

Visit BRnow.org; click on “Subscribe” for options.

Frankly, by that definition, a lot of network news, popular newspapers and widely used websites are feeding us fake news.

It is well known that between 80 to 90 percent of secular journalists embrace leftist, liberal or progressive political and social views. They do not represent the average American citizen. Many abandon fair practices of journalism and aggressively promote their own ideology. In doing so, they spread one-sided, false information – fake news.

As I preach in churches across the state, men and women in our congregations express to me their outrage and frustration over the bad news coverage they get from the secular news sources they depend on. They no longer trust most news outlets.

This tells me that pastors are forced to spend portions of their sermon time to correct the bad information their church family has digested the week before – especially when the news relates to biblical values. Pastors love God’s Word, and they love the flock God has called them to shepherd. They cannot allow the people they love to wallow in the quicksand of deceit. Therefore, they speak out as often as possible on issues that matter.

Apparently, that is not working out very well. Studies tell us that even faithful church members are embracing liberal social and theological views in increasing numbers.

Pastors simply cannot battle these trends alone. Even with the best website and active social media, a local church needs outside sources to stand with them in the face of moral decline.

A recent Pew Research study reported, “About two-in-three U.S. adults (64%) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events. This sense is shared widely across incomes, education levels, partisan affiliations and most other demographic characteristics. These results come from a survey of 1,002 U.S. adults conducted from Dec. 1 to 4, 2016.”

I want pastors and church leaders to know that the ministry of the Biblical Recorder exists for this very reason. We help you do what no one can do alone. We must work together to combat widespread misinformation.

The Biblical Recorder’s staff serves the local church and church leaders by feeding your congregation news and information that supports the pastor’s faithful preaching of the Bible. Twenty-four hours each day, seven days a week, we provide news from a biblical worldview.

Will you compare our goals with the goals of the media you currently depend on? We are focused on three standards. Be biblical, focus on the Great Commission and glorify God. Is your congregation’s news source doing that?

Shouldn’t everyone in your congregation be receiving the Biblical Recorder or another news source that is committed to a biblical worldview?

I know what some are thinking at this point.

Many church leaders have been duped by the idea (fake news) that no one reads newspapers any more. Wrong! A 2015 Pew Research study reported that 51 percent of adults get their news from print only. Another 5 percent get news from mobile only, 5 percent from desktop only and 15 percent use combinations of print/desktop/mobile.

Many more people are reading newspapers than you think!

The December 2016, Pew Research study reported, “When it comes to technology’s influence on America’s young adults, reading is not dead – at least not the news. When asked whether one prefers to read, watch or listen to their news, younger adults are far more likely than older ones to opt for text, and most of that reading takes place on the web.

“Overall, more Americans prefer to watch their news (46%) than to read it (35%) or listen to it (17%), a Pew Research Center survey found earlier this year. But that varies dramatically by age. Those ages 50 and older are far more likely to prefer watching news over any other method: About half (52%) of 50- to 64-year-olds and 58% of those 65 and older would rather watch the news, while roughly three-in-ten (29% and 27%, respectively) prefer to read it. Among those under 50, on the other hand, roughly equal portions – about four-in-ten of those ages 18-29 and ages 30-49 – opt to read their news as opt to watch it.”

As stated in the report, “reading” does not necessarily mean print media. Some are “reading” material on websites. However, even some of the youngest age segment prefer newspapers (10 percent), and the number climbs significantly in every age category until it reaches 63 percent of adults above the age of 65.

Don’t make the mistake of hastily writing off these older adults! This age group happens to be one of the fastest growing segments of our population as more people live longer. They are also the most resourceful both in terms of human experience and in material wealth.

They are a significant and valuable part of your congregation. They deserve accurate news.

While the Biblical Recorder embraces new methods to communicate news to our Baptist audience, we have not abandoned the proven, time-tested method of printed media. This 577-year-old practice of informing the public still works.

In 1455, Johannes Gutenberg introduced a radical change in human history when he invented the printing press. It is often said the printing press is one of the top five inventions in history, ranking alongside the wheel, the nail and the light bulb – all of which are still in use today.

We are not ready to give up on Gutenberg’s invention. Neither are we willing to depend entirely on the printed page.

The Biblical Recorder’s website is one of the most popular Baptist news sources in the world. In the last two weeks, we averaged 45,700 daily visitors on BRnow.org. That’s a lot of traffic! We know people are depending on us, and we work hard to deliver the truth.

Our digital edition, weekly e-newsletter (BRweekly) and social media tools also reach a broad audience.

I want to ask you some important questions. How many people in your church are receiving the print edition of the Recorder?

Will you begin a church group plan so your congregation can escape the world of fake news? Will you let your church know the Biblical Recorder serves them and is ready to help them grow spiritually? Will you tell them about our free app and free website? Has fake news hurt your church? Is it hindering our Great Commission assignment?

Try filling out the checklist in the sidebar as a personal inventory to learn how the Biblical Recorder can serve you. People need to know!

For help with subscriptions, please contact Liz Tablazon, our circulation manager, at (919) 459-5693 or [email protected]. She is ready to serve you and your church. Thank you for allowing the Biblical Recorder to be one of your Great Commission partners!