A woman once told me about a disagreement that was tearing her church apart. “What’s the disagreement about?” I asked. “Whether the earth is flat,” she said. A few months later, news broke of a Christian man who’d burst into a restaurant, armed, to rescue children supposedly being abused in its back room. There was no back room, and the man was arrested. In both cases, the people involved were acting on conspiracy theories they’d read on the internet.
Followers of Jesus are called to be good citizens (Romans 13:1–7), and good citizens don’t spread misinformation. Luke the evangelist didn’t. In his day, numerous stories circulated about Jesus (Luke 1:1), some of them were inaccurate. Instead of passing on everything he heard, Luke became an investigative journalist, talking to eyewitnesses (v. 2), researching “everything from the beginning” (v. 3), and writing his findings into a gospel that contains names, quotes, and historical facts based on people with firsthand knowledge, not unverified claims.
We can do the same. Since false information can split churches and put lives at risk, checking facts is an act of loving our neighbor (10:27). When a sensational story comes our way, we can verify its claims with qualified, accountable experts, being truth-seekers rather than error-spreaders. Such an act brings credibility to the gospel. After all, we worship the One who’s full of truth (John 1:14).