BIBLICAL OBJECTIVITY

Our journalistic approach, developed over nearly three decades at World, goes by the title “biblical objectivity.” That needs explanation because some take “objectivity” to mean the absence of opinion.

Biblical objectivity means offering God’s perspective, when He clearly communicates it in Scripture, rather than our own subjective preferences.

Other approaches have logical flaws. After all, if the Bible is God’s Word, can any other words trump His? Since only God knows the true, objective nature of things, doesn’t His book, the Bible, present the only completely objective and accurate view of the world? Shouldn’t our goal be to see the world as much in biblical terms as our fallen and sinful natures allow?

We know that, given our human limitations, along with our fallenness and sinfulness, we can never achieve that perspective—but by following the Bible’s teachings we try to come closer than we otherwise would, showing humility before God.

That’s what we mean by biblical objectivity. We don’t merely cover all the sound and fury in the world, and then present people’s lives as tales told by idiots, signifying nothing. Nor do we cover only the good and uplifting parts of life so as to provide sugary stories. Biblical objectivity emphasizes, like Stephen’s historical speech in Acts 7, God’s holiness and man’s sinfulness.

The Bible tells a story of creation, corruption, and consummation. God made all things good. When Adam and Eve sinned, corruption entered the world. Then redemption begins, culminating  in Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection. Corruption surrounds us and shouldn’t surprise us. Reporters relate bad news and should also proclaim the good news: That life has meaning and history is going somewhere. We are all sinners and all of our plans fall short, but we also have dignity because of our creation in God’s image. None of us is perfect, but Christ is, and He is making all things new. No political platform, no public policy, no person can save us, but in the darkest places God is at work, rescuing sinners from every tribe and ideology, and no one is beyond His reach.

We recognize that our hearts are deceitful: Even good people rationalize evil and fall into sin. Some things are always true, regardless of culture. Some things are always wrong. We show as good those things the Bible calls good. We show as evil those things the Bible calls evil. We look to history and human nature for wisdom in areas where the Bible is less clear. Where the Bible, history, and human nature don’t show us the way, we are careful to show how different people view the matter. 

Christian journalists should try to show how terrible man is, yet how wonderful, created in God’s image. Bible-based articles accurately describe the world God has made and reflect His view of how His creatures mess up and sometimes get things right.

Biblical objectivity also means that journalists need humility in approaching issues when the Bible is not clear.

We use a whitewater rapids analogy to explain how to steer: