The Tragedy of Duplicity

Back in the early days of our nation there rose a host of well-dressed charlatans who peddled “magic elixirs” and attributed miraculous healing power to their products. These swindlers became known as “snake oil salesmen.” In reality, they were nothing more than Con Artists, fakes, frauds, and pretenders. Their whole enterprise was a sham designed to swindle gullible people out of their cash. These imposters operated under a banner of pretense—appearing as sincere, but practiced intentional guile.

In our modern day we have seen another genre of frauds. These are sexual predators who have mastered the art of deceit. Under any number of disguises they conceal their true identity and objectives, as they masquerade as ambassadors of good will. But they are not what they project. They are duplicitous wolves in sheep’s clothing. Experts at grooming and recruiting—their goal is to remain undetected while realizing their perverted desires and aims.

This predatory mentality is also seen in religious circles with the rise of “spiritual predators.” These are individuals who conceal their true beliefs and intentions. Their goal is not to win men to Christ, but to win other Christians to their belief systems. This is how cults have proselytized for generations.

And among the ranks of Christendom, the same fraudulent tactics are being employed today through spiritual grooming and recruiting techniques. Again, the goal of spiritual predators is not to win converts to Christ, but to convert existing believers to their point of view. While many have come “out of the closet” and unabashedly proclaim their recruitment objectives, there remains a great many who misrepresent their intentions. Covertly, they are committed to promoting their theological schemes, and belief systems. They tend to target the young and unsuspecting. Avoiding self-disclosure through indirect means and smooth talk, they cloak their real intentions. This sort of duplicity is the common stock and trade of two-faced individuals who present falsely. While denying their shadowy charade, their “walk” plainly contradicts their “talk.”

Sincerity, honestly, consistency, and transparency characterized the Son of Man in His incarnation. His “yea” was yea, and His “nay” was nay. Jesus said what He meant, and meant what He said. His communication, unlike the religious politicians, did not vary from audience to audience. His speech was direct and forthright. These same traits of integrity and consistency are still found in His followers today. We all have convictions and beliefs, and the manner in which we portray ourselves must match our core values. Otherwise, sin and hypocrisy lie at the door.

Snake oil salesmen were experts of misrepresentation. They knew their products were bogus. But it is far worse when a professing Christian deliberately misrepresents himself. Anyone who is anointed with the Holy Spirit will not slant his heart-felt principles for personal advantage. He will not live under pretense. His motives are pure. His conscience is clear. He is authentic. What he believes, and what he says don’t contradict.

Mark it down, anyone who intentionally masks their real beliefs for ulterior ends cannot be trusted. If someone is willing to fabricate a false persona to promote a cause, they do not represent the nature of the Lamb. Sheep present as they really are, not as something they are not.

It is only wolves who disguise themselves with sheep’s clothing. Predators find it necessary to camouflage. Sheep do not.

Harold Vaughan


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Harold Vaughan

View posts by Harold Vaughan
Evangelist Harold Vaughan is the founder of Christ Life Ministries, Inc. To date, his ministry has led him to preach in forty-eight states and many foreign countries. Click on "ABOUT" in the menu bar to learn more about Harold.
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