Fake News (Again)

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It appears that no one is immune to fake news, not even the Secretary of Justice himself. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre insinuated that opposition lawmakers instigated the clash with the terrorists in Marawi City, alleging that they met with some influential clans in Marawi City weeks before it erupted there. As evidence, he showed a photo on his mobile phone of the alleged meeting, “which turned out to be an image taken on Sept. 4, 2015 at the Iloilo International Airport.”[1] In short, it was a fake news. Aguirre later on apologized and even denied making such accusations, claiming he was actually misquoted. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines took him to task for his alibi.

There was no misquotation. Your words were recorded on video and audio. So, no, you are not passing the buck on to reporters who did what they are supposed to do – accurately report your official acts and pronouncements.[2]

But, more than fake news proliferating on social media and even in government news agency, we should be more concerned with fake gospels.

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-8, ESV)

Note that the true Gospel talks about “the grace of Christ” (v. 6). A different gospel would go against grace and, in the context of the apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians, would instead insist on adding works as basis for salvation. But Paul declared such gospel is a distorted version and not really the Good News of Grace at all.

I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose. … But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (2:21, 6:14)

To preach a gospel that is not about the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” but about gaining salvation or “righteousness… through the law” or works is to “nullify the grace of God”. The true Gospel is that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (John 3:16; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8-9). To proclaim otherwise is to “be accursed” (v. 8). Paul reserved the greatest condemnation to those who would preach a false gospel. In sharing the Good News of Salvation, we must make sure that there would be no misquotation and that we must accurately declare the Gospel.

Brothers and sisters, let us share the Gospel, the whole Gospel and nothing but the Gospel!

[1] ABS-CBN News (9 June 2017), “Aguirre denies releasing photo of Marawi meeting,” ABS-CBN News, retrieved from http://news.abs-cbn.com/.
[2] Rappler, “NUJP to Aguirre: Media won’t be scapegoats for your ‘lies’”, Rappler, retrieved from http://www.rappler.com/.


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