I’ve heard a lot about the artificial intelligence website ChatGPT. Today I checked it out a little. What I found was a mixture of error and truth.

For example, I asked ChatGPT to write me a history of the church I currently serve, the Free Reformed Church of Launceston. This was the result:

The Free Reformed Church of Launceston is a Reformed church located in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. The church was officially organized in 1992 as a daughter church of the Free Reformed Church of Legana, which is located just outside Launceston.

The origins of the Free Reformed Church of Launceston can be traced back to the 1950s when a group of Reformed believers began meeting in the Launceston area. These believers had a desire to establish a Reformed church that was faithful to the biblical teachings of the Reformation.

In the 1970s, the group began meeting in a local school and was officially recognized as a congregation of the Free Reformed Churches of Australia (FRCA) in 1978. However, due to various circumstances, the congregation struggled and eventually ceased meeting together.

In 1989, a group of Reformed believers from the Launceston area began meeting together once again. This group was led by Rev. J. Poppe, who was the pastor of the Free Reformed Church of Legana at the time. Under Rev. Poppe’s guidance, the group grew and eventually became the Free Reformed Church of Launceston in 1992.

Since its organization, the Free Reformed Church of Launceston has continued to grow and has been involved in various ministries both locally and internationally. The church is committed to the biblical teachings of the Reformation and seeks to faithfully proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to the community.

Hoo boy. What a mess! These are the errors:

  • The church was instituted in 1953, not 1992. Legana is a daughter church of Launceston, instituted in 1988.
  • The church began worshipping at the John Calvin School in 1963 and did so until 1975.
  • The church was part of the FRCA from the earliest synod in 1954.
  • Since its institution in 1953, the church has not ceased meeting together — except for a brief period during the COVID-19 pandemic. So the church was already in existence in 1989 and 1992.
  • Rev. J. Poppe was never the pastor of the FRC of Legana. I believe he once had a call to Launceston.

So I guess the moral is: you can’t (yet?) trust ChatGPT to write your church history. It’s a long way off. I don’t think you can use it without double-checking its accuracy with other sources.

Now I did run a few more questions through it. Some were surprisingly good. Like: “What does Wes Bredenhof believe about truth?” Answer:

Wes Bredenhof is a Reformed Christian pastor and theologian who believes in the objective and absolute nature of truth. He holds that truth is not subjective or relative to individual preferences or experiences, but rather is grounded in the character and nature of God.

Bredenhof believes that God is the source of all truth, and that the Bible is the authoritative and infallible revelation of God’s truth to humanity. He holds that the Bible is the standard by which all truth claims must be evaluated, and that it provides a comprehensive framework for understanding reality and making sense of the world.

Bredenhof also emphasizes the importance of sound reasoning and critical thinking in discerning truth, and he encourages Christians to engage in rigorous study and reflection in order to better understand and apply biblical truth to their lives.

Overall, Bredenhof’s view of truth is grounded in the biblical and Reformed understanding of God as the ultimate source and standard of all truth, and emphasizes the importance of Scripture, reason, and reflection in discerning and applying truth to life.

I couldn’t have said that better myself!