Truth exists; only lies are invented. (Georges Braque)


To mark the victory of Donald Trump in the US Presidential Elections Oxford Dictionaries has declared “post-truth” to be its international word of the year.

Actually, that’s not quite true.  15 November was the date for both events – the elections and the press release by OD.  The likelihood is (and I haven’t the time to check) that this is simply a coincidence, no more.

You may have read that yesterday President Obama speaking in Germany sharply criticized the spread of fake news online.  Certainly it is something which is exercising the top minds at Facebook.

So one fake-news writer, Paul Horne, claims: ‘I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me.”

Often outlandish but occasionally his faux-articles are reported by mainstream news as fact.   So the Associated Press published his post that “the Amish in America commit their vote to Donald Trump, guaranteeing him a presidential victory.”  Simply not true.

Talking of Trump, you may know that Southport too is set for to construct a massive wall to keep out Scousers.

“Let me be totally clear about this. I’ve got absolutely nothing against Liverpool – or Scousers,” mayoral candidate Rimmer contends. “They are great people. Great, great people. But we can’t keep having them coming over here taking Southport people’s jobs.”

You can read the full story in the Southport Times.

However, it only takes one incredulous person to give credibility to an incredible story – and it’s off into the blogosphere.  (What a sentence!).

However, I get so many posts from friends giving me wrong or misleading information as fact.  This is usually because they trust the person who passed the info to them.

Like an urgent request for prayer for some Christian evangelist in Syria about to be attacked by ISIS or a warning about a virus called “Dance of the Hillary” which will reformat my mobile.   Both hoaxes.

In fact, when you are not sure, all you need do is to paste the main message into Google.  If it is a hoax, you will probably be taken to a truth-checking website, such as and   I notice that the BBC often picks up widespread hoaxes as news.

But the danger of false information, of post-truth, is not just a feature of the internet age.  It is very part of the human condition. “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes,” observed the Victorian preacher Charles Spurgeon.

Jesus himself was the subject of rumour.  Such was his remarkable ministry that people tried to make sense of him and came up with some strange theories.  The rumour-mill was soon at full speed.  “He is one of the prophets come back; no even more, he is Elijah!” Such news travels fast.

Even Herod the tetrarch (the Romans wouldn’t let him call himself king) took one particular rumour as fact, such was his feelings of guilt. “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead! That is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”

And the apostle Paul had more than his fair share of false innuendo.

In fact, right at the end of one of his earliest letters he writes:  “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in
all my letters. This is how I write. “(2 Thessalonians 3:17)

It looks as if Paul had to contend with letters purporting to be from him.  So it seems that his practice was to end his letters usually scribed by someone else (like Tertius in Romans 16:22) by adding a short greetings in his own hand.

“See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!” is how he signs off his urgent letter to the Galatians  (6:11).

You can’t be too careful then as well as now.  As our old friend Vladimir Lenin concluded:  “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

As Christians we believe truth to be a person. Jesus makes this very clear: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).  And so our faith rests on truth, on the fact of his cross and resurrection no less.

As events in history, they are non-negotiable.  Anything less than this truth then the whole Gospel falls apart.  As Paul asserts “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”  (1 Corinthians 15:14).

Truth matters and we as Christians refuse to live in post-truth world as we contend for the Gospel.

So Jesus tells us “If you stick with this, living out what I tell you, you are my disciples for sure. Then you will experience for yourselves the truth, and the truth will free you.”  (John 8:32 Message translation)