Kevin Swanson is a man about the news… he reports the news daily. The news has been pretty disturbing over the past year so. How should parents talk about the news to their children? How can parents make the most of whats happening in the world to prepare them for living in the world. What mistakes can they make?



Hey, welcome to the Church and Family Life podcast. Let me tell you a couple of things real quick before we get going. Hope you can come to our Theology of the Family Conference at Richcrest, North Carolina, May 20 through 23. Just Before that, a singles conference called Holiness to the Lord, May 19 and 20. Also go to our website.

We have lots of resources, over 5,000. Churchandfamilylife.com. Also, I just published a book called The Family at Church, How Parents Are Tour Guides for Joy. I think this book could really help sweeten your local church experience. Okay, let's get on now with the podcast.

Welcome to the Church and Family Life podcast. Church and Family Life exists to proclaim the sufficiency of Scripture for Church and Family Life. And of course, Jason Dome is here, pastor of Sodom and Gomorrah Community Church, and we get to talk to Kevin Swanson. You can't say we get rid of this guy. Yeah, no kidding.

So I know you have a daughter that's pregnant. My daughter just had a baby this morning. Wow, that's good news. That's great news. It is.

Her name is Charity and she's so pretty. Oh, man. Yeah, There you go. My baby daughter, my baby girl had a baby. Very sweet.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. We're all, we're all running around here smiling. So anyway, Hey, we, we want to talk about the news, how to think about the news, but mainly Kevin, what we want to do is try to be some kind of benefit to families.

Families are hearing bad news a lot, a lot like we're hearing news that we haven't heard before And we're saying things like this has never happened in my lifetime But the truth is it's actually happened many times in history, you know So we should always have perspective I Want us to talk About how parents can make the best value out of the news. I want us to talk about discerning of news sources because there's so many sources of news and We we're just going to try to make some comments about how to be discerning about new sources. And I also want us to talk about mistakes parents can make. I've made some of these mistakes that we're going to talk about, I'm sure. But I, I'd like to, first of all, lay down with some kind of theological pillars, that really should serve as the backdrop for every news story and for example in Revelation 1 5 We learned that Jesus Christ is the ruler of the kings of the earth.

That in chapter 19 verse 16, he is the king of kings and he is the Lord of lords. And that, you know, as it says in Daniel 2 verse 3, or verse 21, that he changes the times and the seasons. All these season changes, all these sea changes that are taking place are being made, not by man, but by God. And so we believe that his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and and his dominion is in every generation So I think when we think about the news we should always help one another remember that there's one behind the news and it's not the pundits. They're just commenting on what God is doing And I'm so grateful for that.

So Jason, any sort of bedrock theological things before we cut Kevin loose here? Well, I don't know if it's bedrock theology, but there's a couple of things I wanted to make sure I said at some point on the podcast, so I'll say them now. The first is a question that your dad asked me one day. Your dad asked me out of the blue in a conversation we were having, do you know what's happening in Alaska? And I didn't know what was happening in Alaska.

I knew he had lived in Alaska once upon a time, so I'm sure he has interests, so I said, no, fill me in. He says, no, I'm glad. What's happening in Alaska has nothing to do with your life. You really shouldn't spend your life learning all about things that are happening and it has no impact on you. And you know, I don't know whether that was just his insight into me, because I really am sort of a news hound.

I can spend way too much time consuming news and learning things about things that actually have no practical impact on my life and it's not not the proper use of time so I sort of find myself having to restrain myself as a news hound and just be careful about the amount of intake of news because it's not always profitable. The second thing is... Hey, can I just stop you? I'm going to tell you something else about my dad. This is vintage Bill Brown.

Kevin, you knew my dad. My dad loved you, Kevin. He just, he listened to you every day. And my mom, you know, my father died a few months ago and my mom is, is still in her living room every day. I hear Kevin Swanson blaring on the, on the computer, you know, but what were my dad's last words?

My, The last words that he said to me before he died were, Son, the Lord knows what he's doing. Amen. Yeah, amen. That was my dad. Yeah.

So I don't know how I could top that, but the second thing I was going to say was just an exhortation to myself and everyone to be discerning about news sources. I think even in our circles and maybe especially in our circles, if the worldview of the source is our worldview, so we're getting the news from our team, quote unquote, that the rules that apply to carefulness and truthfulness, you suspend all that. So I mean, I think we need to raise the bar on these sources and just be skeptical in a way that's helpful to make sure that we're actually getting truth and that we're not passing along things that aren't true or they're sort of kind of true. That's not really how Christians should conduct ourselves. And we should teach our children to be discerning about news sources?

Well, I'll pile in on that one. You know, we would tend, you know, to gravitate toward conservative news sources, okay? We've probably liked those better. One reality though is that some of the conservative, most of the conservative news sources, they're not Christian at all. They're just conservative.

They're Christ-list conservatives and we just have to remember that. And I'm not saying that the throw, you know, muddy water, you know, on every, conservative news source, but I'm just saying, it might not help that much just to vote Republicans in. It really helps to vote in men and men of God. So anyway, I think we just have to recognize even our favorite news sources might not actually have a Christian worldview. So Kevin, straighten us all out on this.

What, what are your thoughts? Well, I think we need to ask ourselves, what is news and news is history. News is the history of the last 24 hours as Christians. We actually like history. In fact, history is the gospel.

The four gospels present, you know, the history of Jesus, his life, his death, his resurrection. So we're big on history, you know, go history. By the way, I write a lot of history, too. So I've got more history for you. By Kevin's history books.

Yeah, a little subliminal. By more history. But yeah, news is good because news is the last 24 hours of history. But here's the question. Is it presented as God's story, his story, or man's story, ultimately, or two causes working all the time in history and that is that you know Alexander the Great's doing stuff but God is doing things too and so what we as Christians are most interested in is the work that God is doing.

These are the works of God in history. There's works of mercy and his works of judgment. So I love the news. The challenge, of course, is that you have to choose your sources well. And here's the other thing.

You have to pick your priorities. We do the Worldview in five minutes every day, as you know. Theworldview.com is a five-minute update from a Christian perspective. It's Christian worldview perspective. We put two to three verses in every newscast over five minutes.

It's my job to write a Tuesday it's cast on Monday. I write on Monday and then it airs on Tuesday. I've done that for now about six years. And we looked about 400 to 500 stories, whether Fox News, CNN, World Daily, Christian Post, World Magazine. We go through all the sources and look through about 500, 600 stories and pick the seven or eight that we believe are important, significant.

The question we ask ourselves if Jesus was to talk about the news, which stories would he choose? What are the stories that matter the most? And so, of course, it's your worldview that determines this. And it's your worldview that determines a lot of things. Your worldview will always bias you one direction or another.

And so, you know, if you got a worldview like Fox News, it doesn't fear God. They seem to be very pro-evolution. They're very pro-feminist, even pro-homosexual at points. It seems to me that you're going to have a biased view of what's important and what's significant and what to carry and what perspective to carry and who to interview. You know, So you're going to have different perspectives, depending on the worldview of those that are writing the news.

So I think you just have to ask yourself, what are the priorities? What are the things that really matter? Is it sensationalism? Fox News tends to go in that direction as does CNN at points, but you've got conservative sensationalism versus liberal sensationalism. And so, you know, the liberals are going to be covering how wonderful the immigrants are who are approaching the border.

The conservatives are going to tell us how terrible things are, how much criminal activities going on amongst the immigrants and such. And so, you know, you're going to have a worldview dictating which stories are most important. Are they going to carry the story of some spotted owl run over by a Mack truck in Oregon? Is that gonna be the front page of the paper or will it be that 3,000 babies were killed in the state over the last week? You know, what is the most important story, the most important story will be a function of the worldview that is brought to bear in the news source.

So sadly, there just aren't that many Christian news sources out there, but I think one of the best things to do is to pick up on multiple new sources. And sometimes it's good to read both the liberals and the conservatives and then get a feel for, you know, where the battle is, where the disagreement lies, and then and then apply a biblical view to the issue itself. So very simply stated, You know, I try to look at three liberal and three conservative news sources, you know, on a given day. But again, I'm never completely confident in how balanced any of them are. And that's a whole nother category of discernment.

You know, how do we even rate the accuracy of the news cycle in the environment that we're living in. Now I've just found myself wondering who to believe on any given matter. How do you, how do you work through that, Kevin? Well, you know, again, I look at the worldview of those who are writing the stories and the biases and the commitment to those biases on the part of those that are writing the stories. And as I said, also bring other perspectives to bear on it.

And you'll find that, you know, multiple news sources carry the same story, interview different persons, and you'll right away see that there are different perspectives as to what happened. The other thing I think that's important to realize is that most of news is distraction. Most of the news is diversion. One of the things we like to point out to our folks that hang out with us is that the devil likes to work with diversionary tactics. He's always, you know, having us to run into the post office and whenever there's a smoke bomb going off to the post office.

But I tell folks, you know, don't go to the post office. When there's smoke bomb in the post office, you go to the bank. Somebody's robbing the bank, you know. That's the way the news is. The news is one big smoke bomb in the post office.

It's very diversionary. It's taking your attention off the things that really matter to the things that don't really matter in the long run. The other aspect of worldview that I think I'll throw in here is that humanism or man-centered approach to things will always overemphasize the importance of the state or the politics. Socialists, Marxists, people who talk about politics all the time are those that are seeing the state as the all-important aspect of human existence and that's because there's so much power that's centralized in the state these days, and the assumption is somehow the state is responsible for making everything peachy keen. And that applies oftentimes as much to the Republicans as to the Democrats.

The other thing you ought to realize is that there's a libertarian or anarchical edge to some folks who watch the news or some news sources. And that is, you know, they're actually looking at the ultimacy of the individual, sort of the Anne Randian approach. You know, I have seen me, I've seen God. So the idea of individuating yourself as God displaces the other worldview, and that is the community or the democracy or the representative of the democracy in the corporate state is the representation of God. So you have to be on your guard.

If there's not a recognition of God, if they're not realizing the sovereignty of God, the fact that Jesus Christ is on the right hand of the Father and he rules and he is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. If that's not mentioned on the news site, I see it to be problematic. If there isn't a basic fear of God, a recognition of God's overarching sovereignty and all the events that are occurring. To me, that's somewhat problematic. That means that man is taking too much, too important of a role.

And so there becomes, you know, this, this massive trust in man or trust in a particular political party or a trust in a particular economic system. So that becomes the thing. And then that generates more fear of man, more fear of the conspiracy, more fear of the government, more fear of ourselves that we're the ones that are responsible for cleaning all this up. But there is very little fear of God or a trust in the sovereignty of God as a result of all these stories that are being concocted through these media sources. So, so I just say, you know, pay attention to the worldview of the person's writing and, and look for the fear of God.

Because remember, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. You know, I'd like us to bring up a related subject, Kevin, and that is the suppression of the news. We've seen what we've felt was maybe the greatest suppression of particular news sources, particular voices. You know, this is known as cancel culture. This is known as, you know, the biggest technology companies in the world banning particular voices.

You know, I read that last year, I believe it was Breitbart News, 99% of their exposure was eliminated by the search engines. And their traffic just went down to the bottom to one, you know, it was, it was really remarkable. And I believe they're in the same, same boat, their conservative news site, But how ought we to think about the suppression of voices that we're experiencing today? Scott, I don't think the situation is that much different than it was, say, 20 years ago before the internet when ABC, CBS and NBC pretty much dominated everything until Fox showed up and carved out 4% of the market. Remember, Fox never really took more than about 4% of the overall news market.

But these large television networks and radio networks were able to centralize control over the masses. And this was somewhat unique in the history of the world in that media was massively centralized. It was a babble of sorts. Go to, let us make a tower, let us make a name for ourselves. And that happened in media.

And it was a very small handful of oligarchs that were able to control the minds of the masses in the 1960s and 70s and 80s and 90s because of the centralization of control and consolidation of power over the media sources. Now, the internet shows up in the early 1990s. Kevin Swanson starts his podcast in what was it, 20 years ago. And so, we start chipping away a little bit at ABC, CBS, and NBC, And you're doing the same thing right now, Scott, so kudos. And I think to some extent, they were somewhat threatened by the fact that the internet was decentralizing control over the media.

And we were gloating over this opportunity to be part of this massive decentralization. And I think what was happening right now is there is an effort on the part of the power mongers to regain more control over that anarchy or that decentralizing influence on the internet. I think I calculate something like two to four million podcasts going on. So it's not just you and me. There's there's millions of podcasts that are competing with CBS, ABC and NBC right now, and they've lost a huge market share.

Now in terms of the major news sources right now, ABC, NBC, CBS, the mainline media has got about 93% of it, Fox News has 4%, and these other small guys are capturing about 3%. But nobody really knows what percentage the other 2 to 4 million podcasters are collecting. And so I think that's somewhat troubling for those power mongers that want to centralize control over the media and the communication, and ultimately the opinion of the democracy so that they can maintain their rule in America. Now I guess the question is how do you deal with that kind of tyranny? And I've been talking about it for 20 years on my radio program.

I think the answer is always that we're going to be ultimately tyrannized because we have not been obedient people. At the bottom line, we are not going to see a political revival unless we see spiritual revival. God will not provide us with freedom from the oligarchs or from this massive tyranny that's gained so much ground even in the last four years. The governments of this country are way more powerful than they were four years ago, capturing something like 52% of the GNI as calculated by state, local, and federal expenditures. And that's up from like four to 5% at the turn of the 20th century.

So, you know, you're looking at a massively centralized governmental control over the masses right now. And how in the world do you deal with that? Well, I think the answer ultimately is that we repent of our sin as our founders would say, either you'll be governed by God or by God you'll be governed. Either you'll be governed by God's law or God will be sure that you will be tyrannized. And that was the mantra that our founders would speak of.

But for the transgression of the people, many are the princes thereof. That's the proverbs that applies directly to this issue. And we have a lot of transgressions as a nation. And as long as that's the case, I think we're going to be subjected to increasing levels of tyranny. Let me ask a question and then offer an answer and then you can jump in.

So the question is, what should we do with all this news? You have it coming at you from every direction. OK, so you absorb the news. What should you do with it? I think Paul offers us an answer in Philippians 4, 6, and 7, be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with Thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.

So I think the answer starts with what we shouldn't do with the news, we shouldn't be made anxious. We're not to be anxious about anything. Christians aren't to be a fearful people because we have our God. But we should make all concerning matters, matters of prayer, and matters of thanksgiving. And even in bad news, you know, students of the Bible knows that God is doing all of this and for different reasons, but for wise reasons.

He's raising up kings, He's raising up presidents and putting them down for His own wise purposes. Even in these things, there's a lot to give thanks for. And I'll just add another one to that in terms of, you know, what parents, mistakes that parents do. It's easy to hear, you know, disappointing things in the news cycle and become a railer, to become a slanderer, to speak dishonorably of authorities, and to engage in, I think, what Solomon called presumptuous sins. I think we have to be careful about how we talk about the news in front of the dinner, at the dinner table with our children.

We don't want to create a snarky, slanderous, you know, knee-jerk, donkey reaction. We really want to help our children have rational discourses that are, they're logical, they're based on fact, and that they're also honorable at the same time I've just found myself you know being a little bit more snarky than I should have been you know from time to time looking at the news Kevin why don't you wind us up here? We just have a really about two minutes left. We're going to, we're going to give you the last word on this. What's, what's, what's sort of your bottom line, encouragement instruction to parents as they engage their children in the news cycle.

I'll just piggyback on what you brothers are saying. Jesus, was approaching John and James as, as they had suggested, that the fire of God come down and consume a Samaritan village. And Jesus said, you know not what spirit you are of. And I think we need to sometimes check our spirits. What is our spirit as we approach these things?

Are we angry? Are we stressed? Are we fearful, anxious? These sorts of things are very, very important. We need to be sure that we do the spirit check as we teach our kids in our home.

As we minister to anybody, we need to say, okay, is this the spirit of fear or is this the spirit of love and power and a sound mind? Am I coming at this with a spirit of faith, knowing that God is in control? He ultimately stuffs the ballot boxes. He raises up kings. He brings them down.

Do I understand that in history, God always wins? Am I remembering this, that Jesus brings his enemies under his footstool? Indeed, slavery went away to a great extent in the 1860s. It came back mainly by Papal Bull from the 1460s and also by the influence of James the Second and Charles the Second who initiated the first slave trade into the southern colonies of America in the 1670s and 80s. They're terrible people, brought terrible things to the world, but then William Wilberforce and other godly men saw it to an end.

And then you think of eugenics. This horrible eugenic plague that descended upon almost every aspect of American government in the 1910s and 20s. Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, they were all wrapped up and being sure that the African Americans working in these places had different bathrooms, using different coffee pots. So all that eugenics stuff coming out of Darwinism influenced the Japanese, influenced the Germans, brought two world wars. But I'll tell you what, when that bunker blew up, And when that nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, God put the kibosh on the eugenics issue.

That was one more enemy brought under his footstool. Same thing will happen to abortion, same thing will happen to the family destroying influences of the present day. These enemies will rise up and then they will fall down. And this is what we're seeing throughout history. So I think we should be encouraged that, God is on his throne, Jesus rules, and he's bringing his enemies under his footstool.

And none of this is out of control. Now, yeah, we respond to the news, often by repentance, by realizing that, you know, we're a sinful nation, we need to be in a period of grief for time, and then follow up with a realization of the redempting work of Jesus and his reign on the right hand of the Father. So at the end of the day, yeah, there's going to be some grief here and there, but there also should be a sense of victory, a sense that all things will work together for good for those who love God and they will all work out to the glory of God forever and ever. Even the wrath of men will praise him and the remainder of that wrath he will restrain. So come on, let's apply the word of God to what's happening around us.

Let's interpret events by the doctrine of God's word. And that's what we try to do with the worldview.com each and every day. Amen. Amen to that. I'll close with Daniel 4.17, the most high rules in the kingdom of men.

Praise the Lord for that. Hey, thank you. Yes, amen. Kevin, thank you so much for that. I really, really appreciate the thoughts and may the Lord bless you and keep you and also may the Lord bless the scripture and the principles that we brought today.

So thank you for joining us on the Church and Family Life podcast. We'll see you next Monday for our next episode. God bless you. Thanks for listening to the Church and Family Life podcast. We have thousands of resources on our website, announcements of conferences coming up.

Hope you can join us. Go to churchandfamilylife.com. See you next Monday for our next broadcast of the Church and Family Life podcast.