EspamgelismHere’s the short version:

I received an email from a person I didn’t know, Alice Stone, asking whom she could contact to report “some broken links” for the website, a mostly static apologetics site with which I’m associated. She then noted the previously broken link, now singular rather than plural, was working, and asked if I’d add links for two organizations she’d volunteered to work with, two drug addiction groups. Before I’d responded to her next email, I received another email from someone else I don’t know, requesting links to other businesses. I see a trend developing here. You probably figured out sooner than I did that this is another email scam of sorts. Well, never one to let a good opportunity pass by, I fired off an answer to Alice:

Espamgelism 4

I figured there would be no “rest of the story,” but surprisingly I received a reply from Alice, and it wasn’t more spam. Alice is actually a Christian – one with a solid confession of Christ. She was happy to have received my email which gave her hope. Her conscience did indeed remind her that the work she does is not very commendable, and she shared a nice description of vocation, relating that she tried to give her employer the best service she could provide. (I didn’t point out to her that nobody is called by their heavenly Father to a dishonest occupation.) I told her I’d pray that she would find a better job, for which she was appreciative. I hope you’ll pray for her too. You see, the anonymous person over the horizon, with whom you may share only a satellite connection, needs to hear the good news. That’s where your vocation as a Christian comes in.

Lutherans believe, because Scripture teaches, that we obtain faith through the ministry of teaching the Gospel and administering the Sacraments – see Augsburg Confession Article V.  Naturally, we see in this article of faith the Preaching Office.  Faith is created and sustained through the Word delivered from font, altar, and pulpit.  That doesn’t, however, preclude you and me from sharing that Gospel, even if it’s through our fingertips on a keyboard. The Holy Spirit works faith when and where it pleases God.  So the next time you’re riffling through your inbox, maybe you’ll find you’re an espamgelist. Our freedom in Christ allows us to do such things as we see fit. Hope is only a send button away.

Image credit: Georgie Pauwels on flickr; Creative Commons license 2.0.

About Scott Diekmann

Scott is a lifelong LCMS layman. Some of his vocations include husband, dad, jet driver, runner, and collector of more books than he can read. Oh, and also chocolate lover. He’s been involved in apologetics for over a decade, is on the Board of Regents at Concordia Portland, and is a column writer for the sometimes operational Around the Word Journal. He’s also written for Higher Things Magazine, The Lutheran Clarion, and has been a guest on Issues Etc. as well as the KFUO program Concord Matters.


Espamgelism — 8 Comments

  1. The scam operates like this: They first email you telling you how helpful your website is, and they mention broken links, without mentioning which ones. You email them back. Then they tell you the links now work (because they were never broken to begin with). Then they tell you about some great places they volunteered for previously, and would you mind putting their links on your website. Then they pester you until you respond. Apparently, they make a profit by getting websites to post links to various organizations. So they misrepresent what they’re really doing. There may be more to it than that, but that’s as far as they got with me.

  2. I got an email from that same person. We really had a broken link. I wish I had thought to do what you did. I simply gave a firm, “No, but thanks for asking.”

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