Monday, August 4, 2014

Don’t Believe Everything!

By Lance Cordle
     I 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. 
     Before 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 email. 
• 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. 
• The stamp is not an official, “raised-letter” stamp, but a copy, with very unofficial language on it. 
• There is the very impersonal address: “Attention Beneficiary.” 
• It proposes an exorbitant amount of money ($5,000, 000) to me and my ministry. 
     As you 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.  
     However, 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. 
     The way 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 is.”    

- Lance Cordle preaches the Calvert City Church of Christ in Calvert City, KY.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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