The current church is filled with all kinds of rumors. For example, a certain celebrity is a Christian, somebody has performed a miracle, a certain media had a report about a certain church. These rumors occupying believer's mind disturbed them in their life of faith.
Rumors arise from the sinful nature of mankind. Some people tend to adopt unscrupulous means including making up lies to trap others and to bring benefits to themselves. In our era of internet, it has opened the Pandora's box of lies while making our life more convenient. Many people make use of the characteristics of the network, which quickly spreads information, to spread all kinds of false news to achieve their own purpose. Living in such a time, Christians are inevitably affected and become communicators of rumors.
The Bible makes it clear that you should not lie or bear false witness. But some Christians, out of their passion for faith, adopt all kinds of evil means to bring people to salvation which is a great cause for them, including telling lies. With this mindset, some brothers and sisters deliberately exaggerated their own testimonies about how they came to faith or made up mysterious experiences in order to bring people to Christ or they fabricated testimonies saying that some celebrities who are not Christians are Christians so that they may be accepted by non-believers.
Some believers rush to a conclusion, telling lies unconsciously, only based on some facts when they lack a comprehensive understanding of things. The Kangxi Emperor did write the gospel poem and had close contact with foreign missionaries. But Kangxi was not a Christian, nor was there any record of his baptism and the fact that he had many concubines, worshiped idols and persecuted the church in his later years of reign are clearly against the teaching of the Bible. And he wrote the gospel poem simply because of his real feeling at that time.
Some believers, out of extreme sectarianism, fabricate rumors to attack other denominations in order to raise their own sects. The most typical example of this is the malicious attack on the Catholic Church. They stubbornly insist that the Catholic Church believe in the Virgin Mary, and that we believe in Jesus Christ, holding that their faith is heresy, completely different from ours. Some people even point out that the Catholic Church is still selling indulgences to deceive believers and they do not allow their believers to read the Bible, overlooking the development of Catholic church over time. In fact, one can easily recognize these lies as long as he goes to read Catholic Church's teachings in printed books. But under the influence of narrow sectarianism, they turn a blind eye to this and regard lies as the truth.
Heresy cults are also the producers of rumors and lies. In order to seduce people, they often deliberately create all kinds of lies, demonize their leaders or to shape them as great men. They often compose stories about how their leaders performed healing or miracles to blind the believers and to achieve their sinister intentions. Their leaders are likely to have fasted for many days at once or they are immune to all kinds of poisons, able to perform great miracles. Almost all of the cult organizations are spread through rumors, which should caution believers of the Lord.
There are also believers making up lies in order to improve their status in the church. They would exaggerate their own witness to get the approval of brothers and sisters by boasting about how much time he uses to read the Bible or pray every day and so on. Some believers are not cautious at all and they tend to be trapped by these lies.
Of course, the people spreading lies and rumors in the church are only a few. The reason for so many rumors to appear in the church is mainly because believers lack thinking in their faith. Many brothers and sisters are full of enthusiasm, but short of rational thinking. When they see a good testimony, they do not try to distinguish the authenticity first, but to cherish it as some real treasure and spread it through the internet everywhere. As a result, the lies became truth in people's eyes though they are not, as Gobel said, "lies which are repeated thousand times become truth in people's eyes." Of course, this "truth" is not true but perceived to be true.
In the face of cyber media and all kinds of rumors in the church, Christians must always be alert. To guard ourselves against rumors, we must learn more about the "Bible", read the useful works of theology, in order to have the ability to distinguish the truth from lies. It is good that we are eager to preach the gospel and share testimonies, but we also need rational thinking. When you see good information, do not immediately spread it but calm down, earnestly pondering its credibility, especially when you come across some superb witness. We also need to know more about cultural knowledge so that when we come across some information about culture or celebrities, we can tell the mistake and avoid being a victim.
May the brothers and sisters get the heart of wisdom from the Lord, and bring the rumors and lies to stop at the wise.
The author is a believer from the Trinity Church of Gulangyu, Fujian Province.
Translated by Alvin Zhou