Over the past year or two, we have received some letters and comments, asking why we post articles by secular news groups, particularly The Epoch Times. Most of these letters and comments have been written graciously, but a few have suggested that Lighthouse Trails must not be a true discernment ministry if we are posting such stories. We have prayerfully and carefully put together a response regarding this issue.
Response to Why We Include Secular News Stories
Lighthouse Trails is a research ministry, and we do post news articles from various secular and Christian sources if we believe our readers can benefit from the information. We know that the founders of The Epoch Times are part of a religious movement called Falun Gong. We also know that a majority of Christian and religious media outlets these days and most other non-Christian/secular outlets have equally wrong issues that would forbid us from posting any news stories from any news source. (The fact is, we worry more about posting stories from some of the Christian sources than we do the secular because with the secular, readers are aware a story is secular and thus requires discernment; but with Christian-based ones, it’s easy for readers to think it must be ok since it is “Christian.”) We prayerfully have made the decision that when it comes to out-of-house news stories (not talking about theological, discernment, or doctrinal issues), we would post certain ones where the information would be helpful for our readers to have. If we drop The Epoch Times because they are founded by non-Christians, we would have to drop just about every single news story we post. We have always tried to make sure we put a separation of some kind between such news stories and articles and commentaries we post by trusted authors and writers.
But, as we explained, we are a research ministry, and part of that does include what is going on in the culture and the world. Because there are secular, political, medical, science-related, and so forth issues that do affect all people, including Christians, it is our belief that we, as believers, should have some awareness of these non-church issues. And the apostle Paul does remind us not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).
We also know that many Christians are dependent on biased inaccurate mainstream media sources for their daily news of what’s going on in the world. In fact, that is what the masses of people are doing. We are attempting to provide some news that is non-mainstream as an alternative source. Some may say we should just write those stories ourselves, but that would not be possible on a regular basis as we do not have that kind of manpower.
We hope this helps explain why we do post news stories from The Epoch Times and other non-Christian sources. We would like to add this that we do not post these without any discretion; for example, we look for news stories that do not use what’s called yellow journalism or are extremely biased. All news stories and articles, no matter what the source, have a certain level of bias because they are written from the viewpoint of the author or reporter, but even then, an article or news story should contain true (and hopefully documented) information.
We know not every one of our readers will agree with us on this position we hold. We’ve also had readers question our use of PayPal or Amazon because of their support for Planned Parenthood and the LGBTQ agenda. However, we once came upon a couple lists of all the companies that support one or both of those, and it included Microsoft, Apple, AT&T, Verizon, Google, Mastercard, Krogers, Levi, and dozens of other large corporations and companies including credit card companies, fuel companies, airlines, and grocery stores. One would have to never use computers, e-mail, land lines, cell phones, the Internet, or many large outlet stores and would have to limit travel and basic spending. And even our property taxes largely go to a currently very corrupt and evil public school system.
In the World, But Not of the World
So the question every believer must ask is “how do I live in the world, but not of the world.?” We don’t claim to have the answer to that question perfected at Lighthouse Trails, by any means, but it is something we are always striving to do in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord. We know we fall short of perfection every day, but we do try.
Many know the story in the Bible where Jesus was asked about paying tribute (taxes), and He told them to bring him a penny and said give to Caesar what is Caesar’s (Mark 12:14-17). We realize that is not the same as our using secular articles to give news to our readers, but some could have easily accused Jesus of showing support to an evil government by doing that. But, of course, He was not doing that at all, but it was an example of showing a separation between the world’s Kingdom and God’s Kingdom yet acknowledging that we do live in the world.
Likewise, in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, Paul describes how, if we were to disassociate ourselves from the world, we would need to “go out of the world” (v. 10); at the same time, he says that we are not called to judge the world (for “God judgeth” it) but we are to “judge them that are within [the church] (v. 12).
We realize these two examples do not exactly coincide with our situation regarding using secular news stories, but it does provide us with some insights into living in this world yet still maintaining biblical integrity, which has always been the desire and effort of Lighthouse Trails.
Added Note: We have always hoped, at Lighthouse Trails, that if there was one thing we encouraged Christians to do is to be discerning, whether they are reading us or another source – be it secular or Christian. Diet Eman, the author of Things We Couldn’t Say and a Christian resistance worker in Holland during the Holocaust years, said that one of the reasons the Germans were so duped by Hilter was because they did not, overall, think for themselves. She said Hollanders weren’t like that, that they were basically independent thinkers, and there were quite a few resisters there who helped to save the lives of persecuted Jews. That is what Christians need to be – independent thinkers – and part of that is to use discernment and not leave it up to others to do the thinking for them. God blessed humanity with the ability to think and reason intelligently. So whatever is being read or watched, we must not take off our thinking caps. We trust that when Lighthouse Trails readers are reading secular news on our site, they are using the God-given ability to be discerning. The reason today’s Christianity has so many misguiding and followed “heroes” (e.g., Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Sarah Young, etc.) is because there are so many Christians who would rather follow someone rather than think for themselves, reason things out, and pray for godly wisdom. But the Lord promises to guide us and protect us from deception if we have a love for the truth and are willing to be used by Him.
(photo from istockphoto.com; used with permission)