Are all “Christians” Con-Artists?
In 1849, police in New York City arrested a man named William Thompson. Charismatic and “a man of genteel appearance,” according to a New York Herald report from the time, Thompson approached strangers, engaged them in conversation, and won their confidence, which he then used to convince them to part with their money or valuables. Prior to his arrest, authorities dubbed the prowling swindler the “Confidence Man,” the first time the phrase was ever used to describe what would soon be shortened to “con man” or “con artist.” (1)
Con artists have existed for as long as human beings have. Heck man even Abram conned Pharaoh to spare his life, get provision and wealth! (Gen. 12:10-20)
I worked for a con artist pastor in New Hampshire who is now likely facing criminal charges for labor law violations and misappropriation of funds… (2)
And I’m telling you, as a result of that, I’ve experienced first hand what it’s like to be conned by someone in the name of Christ. There aren’t many things that suck like that does.
But were the early followers of Jesus con artists? Many in our culture think they were.