The role of journalists as truth-tellers is “absolutely essential,” The Rev. John Buchanan told more than 70 Christian communicators gathered in Chicago April 26 for the opening of the 2017 annual convention of the Associated Church Press (ACP).
Buchanan, pastor emeritus of Fourth Presbyterian Church and former editor and publisher of The Christian Century, preached at the convention’s opening worship service in the beautiful John Buchanan Chapel at Fourth Presbyterian Church.
“We have something of a truth crisis on our hands at the moment,” Buchanan said. He cited examples such as the proliferation of “fake news,” the Trump administration’s reliance on “alternative facts,” and an increasing disdain for the work of traditional journalists.
“Tyrants rightly fear the truth,” Buchanan said. Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” in John 18:38 implies that for the Roman governor—as for some leaders in today’s world—“Truth is whatever I say it is.”
Journalists must challenge this claim, said Buchanan, because “truth is absolutely essential to any society, to any religion that aspires to be free.”
Buchanan noted that when Pilate asked his question about truth, Jesus remained silent. “Jesus remains silent because he is the truth—and truth cannot be contained in words.
“Truth is not an idea in the mind, a creed, a book, a liturgy,” Buchanan said. “Truth is a person—Jesus—the perfect expression of the reality and existence of God.”
And the truth is, he continued, “that love will conquer hate, life will conquer death.”
The Associated Church Press, which celebrated its 100th anniversary last year in St.Louis, where it was founded, is the oldest interdenominational religious pressassociation in North America.
The site of this year’s convention was historic Fourth Presbyterian Church on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile.