The Old “C” Word

I hope you read Juan’s article on “The New “F” Word!” (Read Here!) because it’s really powerful.  Interestingly enough, the weekend after I read the article I had my own encounter with someone who called me the old “C” word!  Hang on, I’ll tell you about it.  

The craziest thing about this incident is that just before speaking a lady who was in the audience asked me about my “credentials”.  I never pretend to be anything that I’m not so I told her that the only credentials that I have are that I’m a sinner who was saved by grace through faith in Christ and the son of a professional wrestler!

You may not think the son of a professional wrestler credentials would be worth much, but I would beg to differ.  That upbringing actually helped prepare me to see “fakes”, from a block away.

Prior to starting my last talk I shared with the audience that I’d been asked about my credentials and restated to them that I did not have a PhD in science and that I was critically evaluating what people are saying.  I told them how my lack of “credentials” was the number one attack that people use against me.

In order to overcome that “weakness” I don’t just use Christian or Creationist materials, I use secular materials, let them speak for themselves, and then critically evaluate what was said. Isn’t that what we’re all called to do?  (Acts 17:11)

About 15 minutes into the talk a gentleman who hadn’t been at any of the other sessions walked in and sat down.  After I was finished the pastor asked if we could have a Q&A time and I agreed.  The gentleman spoke up.

He informed everyone that he was a Christian and was very involved with Campus Crusade for Christ.  He shared his PhD credentials with us and thanked me for bringing to everyone’s attention that there’s a problem.  Then the gloves came off!

Let me put it like this, he didn’t use profanity, but by the time he left over an hour later he’d pretty much called me every name in the book.  The “C” word that he used was “charlatan.”  (In full disclosure he also called me a “huckster”, “fake”, “fraud”, “the most out of touch person in the world” and someone who was not “worthy of speaking to.”  Ouch!)

I’ve reflected on the incident to try and prepare myself for when that circumstance happens again.  This time I got frustrated and didn’t handle myself perfectly.  But, I want to do better in the future.

To make sure I knew what a “charlatan” was, I looked it up.  According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a charlatan is: 

a person who falsely pretends to know or be something in order to deceive people

There’s also an interesting article that identifies 5 ways to know if you’re dealing with a charlatan.  Here’s what they concluded:

  1. They lie to make up for lack of product knowledge.
  2. They have poor customer service skills.
  3. They don’t ask questions.
  4. They rush sales process with deadlines.
  5. They assume things about their target audience.

Let me address each of those points individually:

  1. They lie to make up for lack of product knowledge.

Proverbs 12:12 tells us that , “The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.”

I take that pretty serious so therefore, I’m pretty straightforward.  Long before he’d arrived I’d already shared my “credentials” with the audience a couple of times.  I’m not ashamed of them, so here they are:

  1. I am a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ who was saved by faith.
  2. I am the son of a professional wrestler! I’m not perfect!
  3. I do not have an earned PhD. I have two honorary PhD’s, which I don’t use.
  4. I absolutely believe what I speak on!

And by the way, just because I disagree with someone doesn’t mean that they’re lying!  The same is true of him as well.  Just because I disagree with him doesn’t mean that he’s a liar.  He probably truly believes what he’s saying.  I believe he’s wrong because God knows more than him and God was very clear about what He did in the past and told us how He did it in His Word.  Man’s opinion does not trump God’s word I don’t care how many letters you may have after your name!

  1. They have poor customer service skills.

God tells us in Romans 12:10 that we should “Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.”

In the article on how to tell if you’re dealing with a charlatan they say:

“They are thrilled with the plan and excited since it will cover all their needs. However, the moment they (the consumer) call with questions you dodge them or disappear.”

That doesn’t accurately reflect who I am or who Reasons for Hope* is for that matter.  We make ourselves very accessible and spend a lot of time digging up answers for folks who ask us questions.

We have Facebook “friends” that don’t agree with and challenge us at times.  There’s never been any mocking or ridicule coming from us because we KNOW that each of us are sinners, and that Christ loved us so much that He died for us while we were spitting on Him!  That’s where our value comes from.

  1. They don’t ask questions.

Nothing could be further from who I am or what God says!   In James 1:5,6 we read that we’re to go to God when we lack wisdom and ASK!  Philippans 4:6,7 says in every situation to pray and ask God and not be anxious.  God doesn’t fear our questions, so we shouldn’t be afraid to ask them!

For goodness sake this incident occurred AFTER everything was finished at an impromptu Q&A session!  We’re not hiding!

The article states this under this point:

“Another way to gauge your sales practices is asking yourself: Do your customers often come back with buyer’s remorse? If so, then it’s time to reevaluate how you handle your clients and your approach to selling.”

I don’t consider what I do to be “selling”, but there absolutely can be “buyers remorse” when someone get’s some of your resources or spends time and energy to come and hear you speak.  VERY seldom have we had complaints that folks feel we’ve taken advantage of them or not delivered on what we said we would do.

For me personally it’s hard for to remember when I’ve not done MORE speaking at an event than was agreed upon prior to me coming.  At this specific event I spoke 4 more times than had been scheduled, plus added the Q&A.  No buyers remorse there!

  1. They rush sales process with deadlines.

God’s Word is very clear on this.  2 Corinthians 4:2 tells us to not wear masks or play games with God’s Word!  It tells us that we’re to keep everything that we do and say out in the open, on display, so that those who want to can see and judge for themselves.  The bottom line is we’re to be transparent and honest.  Even though I believe very strongly in the resources we produce there’s NEVER any pressure put on those in attendance to buy anything.

The majority of the time we don’t even sell resources.  We’ll offer them for a donation, but we never put any pressure on folks.  We tell folks that even if they can’t support us, that if they promise to use the materials to please take them.

If we were relying on product sales to survive as a ministry, we would’ve been gone a long time ago.  80% to 90% of the revenue that comes to Reasons for Hope is from honorariums.  Our monthly donor base is extremely small for what we do.  In part, that’s because I don’t like to ask for money.

So the bottom line is this isn’t even in the ballpark when it comes to who we are and what we do as a ministry.

  1. They assume things about their target audience.

I am guilty of this.  I assume that:

  1. The people that I’m speaking with are pretty much like me, sinners in need of a Savior named Jesus Christ!
  2. That many are hurting because they’ve been hurt by people who have lied, cheated and even abused them.
  3. That many times the father is a key problem, or should I say the lack of a father!
  4. That people are sick of pandering and manipulating and just want someone to look them in the eyes and be honest!

Those are the facts as I see them.

One question I asked Gene repeatedly was, “Can you please tell me what I had said that was incorrect?”  About 5 minutes before he left he admitted that nothing I had said was incorrect, it was just that I didn’t have a right to talk about these things because I didn’t have a degree in it!

I disagree.  I believe all of God’s people have a responsibility to watch what is being said to us and speak out against it when it contradicts or undermines the Word of God!

This man was pretty upset with me, which I found interesting since he’d never spoken with me.   The whole time we were together he wouldn’t talk directly to me except to tell me that I wasn’t “worthy of speaking to.”

How frustrating!  I wish I’d handled it better.  All I can say is that I’ll learn from this and be better prepared the next time.  Lord willing!

But, you know what, I look at how believers across the globe are being treated for their faith and if a few people call me names that I know aren’t accurate, so be it!  My Savior died for me, I can pull my pants up, suck it up and love people enough to tell the truth regardless of whether they “like” me or not!

The challenge is to make sure that the words from my mouth are His Words, and not mine based on my weaknesses!  As for the “C” word, there is one that I can’t wait to be called.  I long for the day when I will hear the Lord say to me, “Welcome home, my “child”!”

Pray for me as I pray for you . . .  Stay Bold!

Carl Kerby

Carl Kerby

Carl Kerby is an inspiring, motivating and highly respected Christian speaker. With more than 20 years of ministry experience, Carl shares his extensive knowledge and understanding of God’s creation in his presentations, outreach events, books and other resources as the President and founding board member of Reasons for Hope, Inc.