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Sources say some professing ministers use the Christian faith to get rich. Of course, most ministers serve with great integrity, but a few use their position to build their own wealth, and some even scam naive people. They promise wealth or imply poverty if members don’t support them. A few start businesses and demand that church members patronize them, or they put the church’s money into assets that the minister owns. Scamming the public is not new. We read about a con artist in Acts chapter 8: A man named Simon had been a sorcerer for many years, using magic to amaze people, claiming to be somebody great. People spoke of him as “the Great One—the Power of God.” When Philip, the evangelist, came to town with a legitimate message from God, people turned from Simon and followed the Lord. That’s when Simon offered the apostles money—to buy the power to perform miracles. Peter, who had come to assist Philip, told Simon, “May your money perish with you for thinking God’s gift can be bought! You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God. Repent of your wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive your evil thoughts.” Today, God’s people gladly support causes that build Christ’s kingdom, but we should keep alert for rip-offs whose only goal is to pad their own pockets.

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