I've been a bit of a BBC cynic for a while. I love the beeb. And I know that there is no such thing as political objectivity. But I just get a little bit fed up with the tangible feeling of intellectual superiority that the presenters of the Today programme seem to possess.
From time to time things get a bit silly. The whole post Trump inauguration saga has been like that. It has revealed that we have moved wholeheartedly from news to propaganda. Again forgive my simplicity, but the way I see it is that news is reporting what actually happened. Yes filtered through the angle you choose. Yes often with a comment on events from a biased perspective. But at least you make a decent stab at sticking to facts when it comes to reporting the events.
Propaganda is defined as "information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view." (by Wikipedia so it must be true!). And that's what we're getting.
So when I logged onto the BBC website on Saturday night the headline was "Millions Protest against Trump". The problem with this was that the protests hadn't occurred yet. They were scheduled for later that day in America. So either the BBC had mastered the power to predict the future or the headline was blatantly untrue. The next morning it had disappeared, because millions didn't protest. Yes over a million protested. Yes these are very significant world wide protests about a President of the United States. But they'd lost my sympathy to listen to their opinion because of their propaganda.
But the BBC is nothing compared to the Trump Whitehouse! It seems to have been decided just to let Donald say what he wants and then back it up, in the face of whatever facts surface to the contrary. I don't know whether this is because they've decided that they haven't got a hope of controlling him or whether they've decided that it worked in getting him elected, so we might as well try it as a way of running the country!
So Donald says that there were a million and a half at his inauguration. The White House Press spokesman follows it up be saying that it was the biggest crowd at an inauguration. Ever. Period. Even though photographs, transportation figures and anyone who was there, clearly show that it wasn't. But that doesn't matter with propaganda. Because propaganda is about painting he picture that suits your cause and then selling it to the public. So we're left with a biased media and a dishonest Whitehouse administration having a slanging match, with Joe public in the middle, bewildered by both.
The word "gospel" simply means "news". In fact the early Christians were very clear that the message that they had about Jesus was in no way to be changed. Whatever the general public wanted.
The apostle Paul tells his young protege Timothy to, "Preach the word..." (2 Timothy 4:2) whatever the reception. He is not to change what God has caused to be written. Paul knows that will be difficult, because we like propaganda when it's confirms our opinions. "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather round them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3)
Throughout history the church has often drifted from news to propaganda. From preaching the word as given in the Bible, to distorting the "information" to present a message that it feels will have more traction with the surrounding culture. The problem is that when the church does that it becomes a laughing stock in the world.
Better be hated for being true to your message, than be hated for being a hypocrite and a liar. We must preach the "news" not "propaganda". Because only the Gospel saves lives and brings life with God through Jesus Christ.