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Four Cons of Religious Hucksters

I almost got snookered. I almost fell for a pitch man. Nancy can tell  you that I am extremely sales resistant but this time…

As a fledgling writer with a first book, I am vulnerable to pitches about it.

One afternoon I got a phone call from a different publisher who said they were excited about promoting my book. The caller knew details about the book and said their “scouts” had identified my book as one they wanted to promote at the Atlanta book festival exhibit.

(The Atlanta Festival is held for self-published authors and independent publishers to promote their books. The attendance is about 7,000 people. I did verify that.)

It was enticing. They wanted me to come and sign books at their booth.  I was like wow, somebody thought my book was good!

Then I researched this publisher. Warnings about them were posted on author web sites. Their ethics and actions have been repeatedly called into question.

They almost had me.

Jesus warned about religious hucksters in the Sermon on the Mount.  The Bible paraphrase the Message, puts Matthew 7: 13-20 this way: 

“Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

“Be wary of false preachers who smile a lot, dripping with practiced sincerity. Chances are they are out to rip you off some way or other.

Don’t be impressed with charisma; look for character. Who preachers are is the main thing, not what they say.

A genuine leader will never exploit your emotions or your pocketbook. These diseased trees with their bad apples are going to be chopped down and burned.”  Matt 7:13-20

What about religious hucksters?

First, they may say: Life is about you. It is about your comfort. Getting prayers answered your way. Your ease. Your prosperity. Your preferences.

It’s not!

God is God, you are not Him.

It is not “me first” it is “God first”.

Secondly, they may tell you that your behavior effects God’s love for you. 

Not true! Even when we are at our worst God loves us. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

God loves you just as you are. You don’t have to prove anything to Him. That is called grace.

Thirdly, you may hear that Christians do not suffer but have been delivered for our ease and comfort. Not true!

Christians are not free from life’s troubles. Christians have problems. Kids rebel. Marriages may sour. Bankruptcy happens. The difference is that a disciple of Jesus has the presence of God with him.

Fourthly, there will be those that teach the Bible is a set of rules. Not so! The Bible is about a relationship with Jesus. As we read and study the Bible its purpose is to become closer to the Savior.

If you are just beginning to read the Bible, the best place to start is the gospels. We understand the rest of the Bible through Jesus in the gospels. After you understand the Master’s life read the rest of the Bible through the lens of the gospels of Jesus.

Christianity is not a “do-it-yourself” project. It is about Jesus changing you from the inside out.

The Christian life is about faith in Jesus Christ and letting your faith work through love. (cf. Galatians 5:6)

Beware the religious hucksters!

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