With the omnipresence of social media and other ways for people to directly express opinions, Christian writers should take extra care to be aware of the facts when it comes to both theology and society.
Since Christians actually believe there is truth and it is knowable, Christian writers should be a lot more like classic journalists, researching, studying, and reporting truth, rather than simply expressing opinions.
Over five years ago, I wrote this piece on the agency blog addressing fake news and the Christian writer. The issue isn’t new to 2022.
If we were to use a courtroom comparison to some Christian writing, it would be deemed invalid because it is hearsay. I am sure some people reading this post are much more versed in legal issues than I am, but every Christian writer should work to use original sources and quotes and not quote someone quoting someone or giving an opinion of data and information from someone else, rather than discerning it themselves.
Despite all the craziness of media in today’s world, you can find a lot of information about society, the church, and our world today by looking.
For sure, doing your own search of the Scriptures and using tools to help navigate them yourself is a preferred method of writing about its contents. Certainly, a well-placed quote about a passage is always a good idea; but like pastors, Christian writers need to know what they are talking about firsthand. When in doubt, let the Scriptures speak for themselves and take them at face value.
Many Christian writers find they must be students of the Scriptures to keep them on track, either through formal education or less formal methods. Regardless, good Christian writing starts and ends with the Bible.
Every person in the world is a theologian of one kind or another, some with biblically accurate views on the meaning of life and our relationship to God, but many with completely inaccurate perspectives based on their opinions, sprinkled with Bible verses, and a healthy dose of evil influences, combined to make them feel good.
Knowledge about the world is also available, generally not on social media or cable news though. It is probably only me, but US census data is an interesting read.
Now that I think again, it likely is only me.
Another interesting source of societal data can be found at USAFacts.org. Go ahead and bookmark this site; and I guarantee you will find something interesting on everything from population data to abortion, marriage, divorce, finances, and even slavery. You can subscribe to a regular email reminding you of various new reports and updates of existing reports.
News of the world will keep you informed on the global church. Premiere Christian News out of the UK is very informative. Ministries like Open Doors and Voice of the Martyrs are great sources of information and reminders of the daily battle of Christian brothers and sisters around the world. You could probably add more sources that you particularly enjoy.
The point here is that Christian writers should be diligent searchers and explorers of the truth. It is too easy to fall into the trap of writing from memory or, worse, from our flawed human perspective.