Ad consultant Peter Zollman issued a report in June 2014 saying that more than 40 slayings and 30 convicted killers have been linked to Craigslist (Stephanie Slifer, CBS News online, 1/28/15). Robbery is most often the motive behind the crime. Parry Aftab, a lawyer who specializes in Internet privacy and security law, offers these precautions:
- Never go alone
- Meet at a central location
- Make sure someone else knows where you’re going and communicate frequently with them throughout the transaction
- Research the seller’s name and address on the web
- Don’t get cornered
- When you arrive, snap a picture of the person and/or their license plate
- Use common sense and if you’re uncomfortable, leave (ibid.).
If you’re like me, you’ve used Craigslist many times and have lived to tell the tale. We’ve not always followed all these rules, though a great many of them seem like common sense. We’ve bought and sold and have had great experiences with decent, friendly folks. The worst I can recall is that someone in our immediate family bought a vehicle from one less than forthcoming about all its flaws.
While these are very helpful public service tips, there is a danger far greater and much more common. What is at stake is even more serious than the taking of physical life as it involves the soul. The Bible warns about teachers who project themselves to be speakers of truth but are far from it.
- By smooth speech and flattering words, they deceive the hearts of the simple (Rom. 16:18).
- They turn the grace of God into lewdness and deny Christ (Jude 4).
- They bring in destructive heresies which many follow (2 Pet. 2:1-2).
- They exploit people with deceptive words (2 Pet. 2:3).
- They prey on those inclined to turn their ears from truth toward fables (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
- They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for anything good (Ti. 1:16).
- They pervert the gospel of Christ (Gal. 1:7).
- They captivate the impulsive (2 Tim. 3:6).
So often, these teachers find those already looking for a cheap and easy message. However, often they draw in sincere folks who allow themselves to be misled. In either case, while God holds teachers responsible (Jas. 3:1), He also holds hearers responsible (Lk. 8:18; Acts 17:11; 2 Tim. 2:15). We must make ourselves accountable for what we and our families hear—eternity is on the line!