‘The definition of pretense is a false impression, a false claim or an attempt to make a falsehood appear true. An example of a pretense is when you pretend to be friends with someone you don’t like. An example of a pretense is when you claim to be an expert in something you aren’t.’ (Dictionary)
Even if others or we are phonies and our gospel message is full of wrong motives and the messenger, group or organization are pretending truth and they are blowing smoke, teaching crazy stuff, and collecting lots of money… etc. Who knows who is a fake and who isn’t? However, there are some guidelines.
I believe there are basic doctrines and faith statements that must be truth and not pretense. We cannot jack this truth around:
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
“I am the truth…” Jesus