The more observant among my wise readers may notice that I often hedge myself in giving credence to news reports from religion reporters, particularly when they are unconfirmed. Get Religion illustrates very well why you, too, should be careful about being a believer in religion news reports.
Remember when *ahem* Stephen Bates of *ahem* The Guardian reported that Dr. Turnbull, principal of Wycliffe Hall suggested “that 95% per cent of the population were going to hell unless they converted to conservative evangelicalism”?
Well, here’s what Dr. Turnbull actually said:
Evangelism is another one of those words that has been broadened to — well, or submerged maybe more than broadened — under this overall title of “mission” and you wonder what it really means when that is debated. We are committed, are we not, to bringing the gospel message of Jesus Christ to those who do not know Jesus. And in this land that is 95% of the people, and 95% of the people in this country facing hell unless the message of the gospel is brought to bear. So those are my four points about evangelical identity: the priority of scripture, substitutionary atonement at the heart of our doctrinal beliefs, the need for personal relationship with Jesus and our commitment to evangelism.
If Mr. Bates finds that offensive, it’s certainly his right to be offended. Even St. Paul said the gospel is offensive to many. But to twist Dr. Turnbull’s words and pass that off as reporting is another matter.
Aside: Yes. The title is a take-off on an old favorite bumper sticker.