One of the common problems facing the Chinese church today is the increase in the number of scam artists who prey upon believers the rampage of scammers. They often pretend to be Christians and blend in the church with other believers.
Some brothers and sisters failed to discern their real nature and paid a heavy price as a result. Therefore, it is essential to equip believers with knowledge of the deceptions that are used by these people. The following paragraphs describe three of the most common scams.
Gaining sympathy: This is the most common scam. The scammers know that Christians are full of compassion and when they pretend to be in great need, they may gain sympathy and material benefits. One time a young man came to a Bible study group. When the meeting was over, he suddenly started to cry, telling people that he had a congenital disability and was driven out of the house by his stepmother. He went on to say that the stepmother worshiped idols and hated Christians very much. Being a devout believer, he was ill-treated by the stepmother.
After hearing his story, brothers and sisters gave him some money out of sympathy. But a middle-aged sister who worked in the neighborhood office noticed that the disability certificate he showed to everyone was forged. She stood up and confronted him. The young man panicked and had to return the money he received and then left immediately.
In recent years, the Internet has had quite a few incidences of fake pastors who claimed they were in poverty. They managed to deceive some believers, who then gave them money. We strongly suggest that brothers and sisters gather adequate information and verify the authenticity of requests before making a charitable donation online to avoid being fooled.
Raising money disguised as fraudulent evangelical missionaries: Evangelisation is the great commission for Christians. Many believers make donations to support missionary work. However, their noble deeds have often been targeted by crooks who make fraudulent claims of doing missionary works in order to collect donations.
A middle-aged man came to a church. He said he had been doing missionary work in Tibet and needed monetary support. He even made up stories of miracles and wonders. Touched by his stories and his passion, some believers gave him a substantial amount of money.
However, a sister was more cautious. She followed missionary news closely but had not come across any reports of a "spiritual revival" in Tibet as what the middle-aged man described. So she set up a meeting with him to further verify the matter. It turned out that he had little knowledge of biblical truths. Knowing that his fraudulent action was exposed, he left the city quietly. Only then did the brothers and sisters who gave him money realize they had been deceived.
Gaining favors for personal agenda: Desiring that everyone repent and return to God is not only God’s will but also what many Christians have sincerely hoped for. Some unbelievers have expressed their willingness to believe in God to gain favor and support from brothers and sisters.
A girl once told me that she was willing to believe in God because she heard God's call to her. Beautiful and talented, she was adored by many brothers in the church. I was also very excited initially. But after a while when I calmed down, it became clear to me that all she did was try to win my favor and support. From the way she spoke to me I did not think she truly wanted to believe in God.
Some people take advantage of the passion of Christians for everyone to believe in God. They deceive them by saying they want to be baptized to gain goodwill, which will help their personal agenda. Believers need to pay special attention to discern their genuine motives.
- Translated by Jacqueline Y