A humorous yet insightful site I look at on a regular basis is “Stuff Christians Like,” where Prodigal Jon takes by the numbers things that, well, Christians like.
Such as: Making up prayer requests, because everyone else has one.
Or throwing out disclaimers before recommending something secular.
Or taking the college years off.
Today’s post was about “making tracts that look like money.”
You know, the five dollar bill in the grocery store parking lot that you pick up thinking “I’m going back in for some Ben & Jerry’s!” only to discover that it isn’t a fiver, but rather a “do you know Jesus?” missive.
Lots of folks responded to his post, including one guy that took Prodigal Jon to task, claiming that tricking folks into the kingdom can only be positive, especially since Jesus was doing such tricks all the time.
Which led to this response from me:
Jon – good, though provoking post.
If I may add to your response to Colin's argument about "tricking,": First off, let's be honest and use the right word - "lying."
"Hey, guy who's out of work and wondering where the next meal is coming from, here's five bucks for you... NOT! Hee, hee, sucker! Okay, now let me tell you about the love of Jesus..."
Contrary to Colin’s belief that Jesus lied his butt off to people, hoping to dishonest them into heaven, He never did that. In fact, He made clear that the father of lies was not the Father of Heaven, but rather the guy working against heaven.
(And make no mistake, the guy who is out there lying for G-d is in actuality working for the devil, whether he knows it or not.)
Once we’ve convinced ourselves that it is okay to be a little deceitful as long as the goal is good – evangelism in this case – then it becomes easier to become more deceitful.
Have a couple of people been turned on to G-d by a disingenuous tract? Sure.
Have even more people, by the boatload even, been turned off to the whole idea of a two-faced Christianity by dishonest tracts? Yep.
In the history of restaurants, have one or two waitresses found the “tip” of a misrepresentative tract to contain the words they needed at the moment? Maybe.
Have hundreds, if not thousands, of wait-staff declared that they would never darken the door of a “worship house” that trains its congregants to be cheap and condescending? Oh yeah.
And from there, we start believing the lies we tell to trick people into Jesusification.
“Believe in Jesus and you will never have a problem again.”
“Believe in Jesus, and you can sin all you want and not worry about the afterlife, because G-d loves a grateful sinner!”
“Believe in Jesus and you will make lots and lots of money, because that is the root of all happiness!”
Slippery slope. Slippery slope.
That’s my response, and those are just my thoughts,