I had an experience recently that put me on an unfamiliar side of a bait and switch. I was doing some shopping in the men’s clothing section of a local department store. This particular store is the nicest in our area. Of course, I was looking for good sales! As I cruised the clothing racks, a sharp dressed man approached me and asked if I knew of any good restaurants locally for business lunches. He said he was new to the area. I said yes and rattled off my suggestions. He engaged me in some conversation and then he said, “Would you like to make some extra money? I have a business opportunity and you might be the kind of person I am looking for.”
In that moment I realized what was happening. This guy was fishing the men’s department and using the “do you know any restaurants” line to get to what he really wanted. I felt deceived and manipulated. I didn’t like it at all. It was then that I realized I was on the other side of a bait and switch.
How often Christians approach evangelism like that guy in the department store. We use some little gimmick or talking point that the other person realizes is merely a theological pickup line. How different is the example of Jesus and Paul. I am unaware of any gimmick that Jesus ever used. He was the truth incarnated. There was nothing deceptive about him and his earnestness spoke directly to the hearts of people. Similarly, the Apostle Paul had sharp words against duplicit approaches to ministry, But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 2 Corinthians 4:2 (ESV)
May God create in us such a confidence in the gospel that we don’t feel the need to be anything but forthright, truthful, and confident in Christ.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2009 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction.