Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.Proverbs 18:13 (NLT)
It happens far too often. Someone goes on a rant and people take what they are saying as fact and begin rants of their own. This happened in the past when Walla Walla University was the target of one such rant. A person found a listing of the university church on a website that is not in line with SDA theology. Immediately, the person leapt to conclusions that the university church was somehow partnering with a ministry that was somewhat shady. An article was written and it was shared, and seen, hundreds of thousands of times. People were outraged that the university could do such a thing. People started calling for the entire pastoral team there to be fired. They also turned their vitriol on the university itself. Some even called for shutting down the university all-together, as it was a bastion of inappropriate theological teaching and was, therefore, brain washing our young people.
There was a small problem with all of this. The article was flat out false. It made a huge assumption that the university church, and the university itself, were tied to this other ministry when it couldn’t be farther from the truth. Yes, their name did appear on the other ministry’s website, but the university team was completely unaware it was listed there. Once they were made aware, they contacted the offending ministry to remove their name from the list of sponsoring organizations and it was immediately taken down.
No one bothered to contact the university our church to dialog with them about the perceived issue. No one contacted the offending ministry to see if the name listed there was legit or a mistake. But, everyone who participated in spreading the propaganda immediately went on the attack with zero factual information.
People, please, I beg of you, take this verse to heart, “Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.” Not only does it reflect poorly on each of us, it also reflects poorly on the church, and our Christ.
We must do our own research. We must not just take someone’s word for it. We must check their sources for ourselves. We should read articles that offer different points of view. We must use the brain that God has given each of us.