The bait and switch crews are the most odious of all of them. Not only do they plan to fleece those who fall into their snare like bleating sheep, but they also take the time to build up trust, know what the truth is, teach it for a season, then veer off into the desert.
The examples are too many to count, but as with every other confidence scheme, we’ve seen this a time or ten within Christendom as well.
Two things must happen to avoid falling for the bait and switch. You must first be awake; then, you must remain awake. If you were already dosing off by the time the self-titled prophet, bishop, or apostle, came along and started ‘sowing’ into your life, it will take a veritable miracle to wake you from your slumber and make you acknowledge the truth.
If you were awake, because the maneuver is called the bait and switch, you must remain awake to spot the sleight of hand and catch the switch taking place. This is where consistency comes into play. Remember that thing about consistency a few days back? Yeah, it doesn’t just reveal someone’s character; it’s a good gauge of whether they remain in the truth.
Suppose all of a sudden, the guy who’s been doing expository preaching for the past decade starts doing a series on the permissiveness of the marriage chamber, followed by ten reasons why sin isn’t as big an issue as it used to be in the olden days. In that case, you should probably increase your level of vigilance tenfold. Also, it would be wise to steel yourself for the eventuality of the other shoe-dropping and camera crews showing up in the parking lot, shoving microphones in your face, asking if you had any inkling about the ecstasy binges and massages from individuals with Adam’s apples and hairy knuckles that the pastor was involved in.
It’s a reliable indicator. If your pastor, elder, evangelist, or bishop suddenly starts exploring biblical loopholes for sin rather than rightly dividing the Word, it’s their way of dealing with their own failings and trying to justify them.
I don’t care that someone was biblical a decade ago or if you heard them give a great sermon a year ago. Are they presently biblical? Are they presently insisting upon repentance, righteousness, sanctification, and holiness? And yes, by someone, I include myself.
If at some point, for whatever reason, I go off the rails and start preaching another gospel, I expect you to be so well established in the truth that you would call me out.
Well, brother, I get that the Good Book says if anyone thinks he stands, take heed lest he falls, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to me. Are you anyone? Then it does. Nope, not going to hear you out, don’t want to know why you believe yourself to be exempt. I know you think you may be special, but I guarantee you that you’re not!
Paul understood the bait and switch well enough to warn the Galatians of its possibility and include himself as well.
Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.”
Because we reject the idea of being Bereans and have offshored our spiritual needs in lieu of spending our time doing other things, it doesn’t take an angel from heaven to lead people astray, just some slick hair, a nice suit, and name recognition. Sometimes it doesn't even take that.
I can’t even count the number of discussions I’ve had with people defending the preachers they fanboy over, when what they said was demonstrably unbiblical and indefensible. From the ever-present I know that’s what they said, but that’s not what they meant, to you just heard it wrong, to maybe you’re just jealous because he has a deeper understanding.
Sorry, no depth of understanding can justify a preacher saying taking the mark of the beast will have no ill effects or repercussions. I don’t care how circuitous and bendy your interpretation is; being told that you will drink the wine of the wrath of God if you take the mark on your forehead or hand is pretty self-explanatory. There’s also that thing about being tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, but who am I to question living legends and men who’ve appeared on CNN?
That everyone can start a race does not guarantee that everyone will finish it! We would do well to remember that.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.