QAnon, Conspiracies, and Discipling the Way Out

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Reflections on my recent article for USAToday

Few articles I’ve written have provoked the response as touching conspiracy theories in 2020. It is an odd mixture of those consumed by fury or derision at my apparent blindness and those derisive of my supposed attempt to generate clickbait.

This is part of the problem I tried to address in my latest article at USAToday on the growing influence of the conspiracy theory known as QAnon in evangelical churches.

In the article, I concluded that “we need pastors, leaders, and everyday Christians to address this conspiracy, and others like it, before others are fooled.” With this in mind, I wanted to address some pushback and offer some steps leaders can take.

The Problem of the Media

By far the most common criticism I get whenever I write about conspiracy theories is that Christians should be suspicious of mainstream media. Many have argued that they are often biased against Christians and conservatives, at times presenting distorted reporting.

I think this is fair criticism—to a point.

As I’ve argued many times, the state of reporting on religion—and particularly reporting on evangelicalism—is poor. Major outlets get obvious facts wrong that betray not only ignorance but laziness in not checking.

I also explained to Terry Mattingly that poor treatment from the mainstream media is, at least in part, to blame for why Christians don’t trust them—they have reasons not to.

It’s not hard to ask a pastor or seminary professor for help, but this is sometimes deemed not important. In the history of journalism, I’d wager that few terms have been as wrongly used as Calvinism. Yet the lesson is never learned.

More distressingly, some outlets seemingly take joy in magnifying outlier …

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