May 11, 2022
Alan Cullison and Aruna Viswanatha recently told the story of how a dossier that accused Donald Trump of conspiring with Russia to influence his election to office was fabricated. (Wall Street Journal – May 10, 2022) Known as the Steele Dossier (named after the author Christopher Steele), this trumped-up story was believed by many, not only in influential political offices, but even by the FBI until it unraveled. By that time, millions of dollars had been spent on investigations and, of course, there was untold political damage done.
Why was this ever believed in the first place? It is no secret that the Kremlin seeks to interfere with our nation on many levels, and politics and elections are part of that. It has been going on for decades. What is also true, is that there are many people who so disdain Donald Trump that they are willing to believe anything that would support their acrimony. They believed it because they wanted to believe it, even though in the end it was revealed to be, literally, unbelievable because it was simply not true. And yet, the same thing takes place by some supporters of Donald Trump. Both sides play this game. Some of them feed fabrications to an audience hungry to believe anything that supports their positive views of Trump and, like their opposition, they end up believing falsehoods because they want to believe them. If it validates my views, does it matter if it is true? Yes!! But, in the moment, some of the stories seem so believable and they seem to fit with one’s view of reality. But, is it actually true? Some of our cultural hostility comes from this sad condition of lies being stated by so many. With the absence of truth in the public square, of course anger and violence will fill the vacuum. Are you being played? (Look for the 1st podcast on that subject being released tomorrow.)
Many years ago, I had to come to terms with my own beliefs. Did I believe the Bible because it was actually true, or did I believe the Bible because I wanted it to be true? Did I believe the Bible because I was raised by my parents to believe it (and they were nice parents)? I knew that, for me, that was not good enough. I also knew that I could not proclaim and explain the Bible to others and call them to stake their souls to its claims without being convinced for myself that the Bible was true. At the same time, you cannot believe the Bible because I do and I’m kind of a nice person – sometimes, I hope. You have to believe it for yourself. You have to be convinced of its authenticity and authority.
Ultimately, it is the Spirit who gives faith and who gives illumination to see and embrace the Scriptures, but it is never at the expense of truth. One of the things that has been an ongoing encouragement to me in this arena has been the relentless assault by so many for hundreds of years to dismantle the Bible and destroy its credibility. They do this through historical research, archaeological digs, and exposing internal inconsistencies that supposedly show how the entire story falls apart. Why am I encouraged by this? Because, in spite of the intensity of the efforts to destroy the credibility of the Bible, the dossiers of these accusers have over and over been revealed to be baseless.
Beloved, hold on to the Scriptures with a tight grip and hold news feeds that support your political inclinations with an open hand. Some of those news feeds may be true and some of them may be fabricated. They do this in order to play you and exploit you to not just be angry, but even hostile to brothers and sisters in Christ who do not hold to some of your opinions. Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.
For the gospel, the church, and the kingdom,
Sunday’s text: 1 Samuel 17:1-11