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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: Silence may not be golden for you (Luke 12:1-3)

Luke 12:1-3. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (cf, 8:17).

Exegesis and Application

The focus on this brief passage is a warning from the Lord (“be on your guard against”) on Christian “hypocrisy.” In vs. 2, the Greek word is “hupokrisis” which has its etymological root in “acting,” thus a “pretender” or even a “dissembler.” Jesus is speaking to his disciples. When it comes time that His name can not be confessed but at the risk of reputation, liberty, property, and maybe even life itself, the temptation to conceal our inner convictions will be exceedingly strong. It is the consequences of such cowardly and traitorous concealment that our Lord is now pointing out. He is urging His followers not to be “hypocrites,” in the sense of shrinking from confessing His name (“acknowledging me”) before men (cf, Mark 8:38; Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:8, 12).

Vs. 3 says that even if you try and hide your Christian convictions from those around you, you will be found out. You will eventually be outed as a follower of Jesus. This is not something that will happen at judgment, rather this outing will happen in this life and when it does happen it will be broadcast to the community (“from the roofs”). After all, what better way to embarrass and humiliate Jesus and his gutless followers than to tell everyone that you are a secret Christian and ashamed of Jesus. The classic New Testament example of Christian hypocrisy is Peter: “Peter replied, ‘Lord I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.’ . . . This man was with Him.  . . . ‘Man, I don’t know what you are talking about.’” (Luke 22:33, 54-62). In the Old Testament we have the example of Abraham’s cowardice before King Abimelech: “Abraham said of his wife Sarah, ‘She is my sister.’. . . .Abimelech asked Abraham, ‘What was your reason for doing this?’ Abraham replied, ‘I said to myself, “There is surely no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me. . . I said to Sarah, ‘This is how you can show your love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, ‘He is my brother.“’”

How does this passage apply to the Christian journalist?

1) The American newsroom can be a hostile environment for the faithful Christian journalist. There is great temptation to trim one’s worldview sails and be silent or incomplete in expressing or acting on one’s Christian convictions.

2) The authentic Christian journalist must be transparent in his life and actions. It is impossible with the evil one on the move for the Christian journalist to remain “behind the curtain.” Not only will God’s truth be revealed but all truth will be revealed, especially when the wolf is seeking to do damage to Christ and His followers.

3) The Christian journalist needs to know that even a smidgen of hypocrisy, a tiny amount of pharisaical compromise with the world in the newsroom can lead to the deflating of one’s testimony and an ineffectual lifestyle in pleasing God. One’s newsroom testimony becomes clanging and brittle (1 Cor. 13:1).

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