Resource: How to Recognize Lies.

This article is designed to educate people on identifying lies.

To make it easy for readers to remember the many types of lies, we have renamed some of them. We encourage readers to see the good resources at the bottom of the page if you want to look into this complex topic further.

Although this article is in the Fallacy Index, technically, a fallacy is not a lie. A fallacy can be presented by accident or out of ignorance. However, ChurchWatch has seen skilled liars argue fallaciously – which is why we constructed this article.

Rather than ‘reinvent the wheel’, we’ve found more simple ways to cover this complex topic. As a result, we’ve compiled this article to simplify the various types of lies into easy categories to remember.

We examine the three features of a lie, the three categories of lies, the three types of lies and many other common forms of lies people see in the church today.

Not telling the truth, not telling the whole truth and neglecting to tell the truth, is a lie.

truthmathImage from TLD&C-DUF 

A lie intends to manipulate a persons feelings, beliefs and behavior.


To recognize the feature of a lie, remember these three Cs:

Lies CCC Diagram

  1. A lie “Compounds” the truth – this means the truth must be known before it can be compounded or suppressed by the lie. (Romans 1:18)
  2. A lie “Counterfeits” the truth – this means the lie hides, perverts, imitates or communicates in such a way to look like truth.
  3. A lie “Capitalizes” on truth (and trust) – this means the lie manipulates the truth and the goodwill of others for its own purposes.

To help you remember, think of what the Father of Lies (Satan) said to Eve in the garden in Genesis 3. Once Eve spoke to Satan:

  1. he compounded and suppressed it. (Neglected to tell the whole truth.)
  2. he counterfeited the truth by explaining an alternative truth that sounded convincing why she shouldn’t eat it.
  3. he captitalized on the trust Eve had with God and manipulated that trust to convince Eve what he was saying was “true”.


There are three categories of lies people need to understand:

Lies - WGB Diagram

  1. White lies are primarily focused on protecting the recipient of the lie, or to entertain – and are generally socially acceptable. (A white lie is still a lie and will cause significant damage if it’s practiced or becomes habitual.)
  2. Grey lies are primarily focused on protecting the interests of the liar, and may or may not be socially acceptable.
  3. Black lies are primarily focused on protecting the interests of the liar. They cause harm; and they are not socially acceptable.


Vanessa Van Edwards wrote an article titled ‘Different Types of Lies’. She opened with this:

“I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”. Did you know that this little sentence covers the most important lies we use daily?”

With that, Van Edwards addressed three popular lies (one we’ve renamed ‘Lie of Influence’ to ‘Lie of Transmission’ to make these easy to remember (C.O.T)):

  1. Lie of Commission (“I swear to tell the truth…”): A statement that is not factual and simply not true.
    Eg. ‘All Christians are commanded to tithe.’
  2. Lie of Omission (“the whole truth…”): A statement that omits a key detail or important information.
    Eg. ‘Judge not lest ye be judged.’
  3. Lie of Transmission (“… and nothing but the truth.”): A statement that elevates the integrity of the liar which make the facts appear questionable.
    Eg. ‘Our ministry has impacted millions of people globally and you are accusing us of theft?’

You can read the rest of her article here:

Different Types of Lies

We now look at other types of lies. They are not all named like this – however, we’re helping to make them easier to remember. In this section, think of how lies C.A.G.E or F.I.D.D.L.E with the truth



A fusing or blending together of multiple ideas. Even if elements of truth are mixed in, the argument can still be a lie.


When a person uses invalid associations to demonize a person or position. [Source]


Generalities are deliberately vague so that the audience may supply their own interpretations. The intention is to move the audience by use of undefined phrases, without analyzing their validity or attempting to determine their reasonableness or application. The intent is to cause people to draw their own interpretations rather than simply being presented with an explicit idea. In trying to “figure out” the propaganda, the audience forgoes judgment of the ideas presented. Their validity, reasonableness and application may still be considered. [Source]


A claim that adds to the truth and portrays it as better or worse than what it really is.



Fabrication is telling others something you don’t know for sure is true. Fabrications are extremely hurtful because they lead to rumors that can damage someone else’s reputation. Spreading rumors is not only a lie but is also stealing or destroying another’s reputation. [Source]


A lie that triggers instinctive reactions to create fear, thus suppressing the truth. [Source]


Not exposing the duration of the topic in order to inflate or deflate the cost, risk or benefit. [Source]


Using purposely vague or misleading definitions to create leverage, especially when it splits the opposing faction. [Source]


Using similar sounding phrases to blur the differences between the undesirable and desirable so the undesirable is villified. [Source]


The lie of equivocation uses unclear language in such way to deceive or mislead someone.



Before we continue – it’s worth noting that most of these definitions or descriptions can be found on Wikipedia. Below are some that we believe are often used within modern evangelicalism to deceive or manipulate people:


Propaganda is a form of biased communication, aimed at promoting or demoting certain views, perceptions or agendas. Propaganda is often associated with the psychological mechanisms of influencing and altering the attitude of a population toward a specific cause, position or political agenda in an effort to form a consensus to a standard set of belief patterns.

Propaganda is information that is not impartial and is used primarily to influence an audience and further an agenda, often by presenting facts selectively (perhaps lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or using loaded messages to produce an emotional rather than a rational response to the information presented.

Broken Promise:

Broken promises are a failure to keep one’s spoken commitment or promise. Broken promises can be especially damaging when the person who made the promise had no intentions whatsoever of keeping their word to begin with. [Source]

Lie of Deception:

A deceiver tries to create an impression that causes others to be misled, by not telling all the facts, or creating a false impression. [Source]


Plagiarism is both stealing and lying. It consists of copying someone else’s work and calling it your own. Plagiarism is a very serious act. Some college and graduate students have even been kicked out of school because of it. [Source]

The bible teaches that Christians are to be faithful witnesses about Jesus Christ in our life. The Apostles of the New Testament knew what was at stake if they did not operate under honest conduct, to the point that the Apostle Paul rebuked Peter for practicing things contrary to the truth (Galatians 2).

Because many of the fraudsters who have usurped Christian pulpits, we created the Aletheia Creed to remind Christians of what the truth is and how we are live in the truth. However, when we make the claim that a certain individual is a liar on our websites, we are warning the global and local church communities to make sure that these men are monitored and watched by churches or professional agencies.

Liars in the pulpits are the one thing that Christ and His Apostles did not tolerate. They labeled false teachers and prophets as “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, “lawless ones” (criminals), “dogs” and “evil ones” and declared that God was going to pronounce eternal damnation on them in the last days when they are to be judged.

The excuse that “everybody lies” is sometimes given as an excuse for deception – as if this has become the universal norm. This argument assumes that all lies are the same; and if all lies are the same and everybody lies, then effectively this argument implies that the truth doesn’t matter. [Source]

FACT: Truth matters because trust matters. And if trust is not found in the church – our witness is useless.


Categories: Resources


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