By Lance Cordle
recently received a letter in the mail that promised
me a large sum of money. It was sent by air mail. It
was written on official-looking stationery and bore an
official-looking stamp. It bore the logo and name of
an attorney. It said that I had been appointed
trustee, executor and beneficiary of a woman’s estate.
It said that I could use the money for my personal
needs as well as for my ministry. It also said that
all I had to begin this process was to respond via
email and give them my phone number.
going any farther, I have a question: Do you think I
am going to respond to this letter? If you
do, you must think I am very gullible. I will not
respond because of the following.:
Though I have not received a hard-copy letter quite
like this, I have seen letters like it sent via
• It is
from a foreign country, from some “law firm” about
which I have no knowledge.
• It is
about a person, with which I have had no relationship.
stamp is not an official, “raised-letter” stamp, but a
copy, with very unofficial language on it.
is the very impersonal address: “Attention
proposes an exorbitant amount of money ($5,000, 000)
to me and my ministry.
might have guessed this is almost certainly an attempt
to retrieve personal information
from me in order to steal my identity. I think most
people would agree with me and would not take
the chance and respond.
some of the people who might not respond to such a
“phishing” attempt, might follow a religious teacher
who does some of the same types of things. That
teacher may use the Bible to teach a false doctrine.
That teacher may propose something as appealing as
$5,000,000—eternal life (or at least, great happiness
in this life). That teacher may “package” his
false message in persuasive words and a well-spoken
presentation. That teacher may “prove” his points by
emotional appeal and popular opinion. That teacher may
give you permission to live or worship in a way you
believe to be wrong. (Read Galatians 1:6-9.)
That teacher may tell you that your previous teachers
were old-fashioned and unenlightened.
to avoid such deception is to test the message and the
sender. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits to see
whether they come from God, for many false
prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1,
ESV). There is an old saying: “If something
sounds too good to be true, it usually
- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of
Christ in Calvert City, KY. He may be contacted
through the congregation's website: http://www.calvertchurchofchrist.com