It is not a new phenomena. Lying for Jesus has been a popular past-time for centuries. In fact, there are many recorded quotes of the early church leaders praising lies for Jesus. Here are a few.
“I will only mention the Apostle Paul. … He, then, if anyone, ought to be calumniated; we should speak thus to him: ‘The proofs which you have used against the Jews and against other heretics bear a different meaning in their own contexts to that which they bear in your Epistles.
We see passages taken captive by your pen and pressed into service to win you a victory, which in volumes from which they are taken have no controversial bearing at all … the line so often adopted by strong men in controversy – of justifying the means by the result.”
– St. Jerome, Epistle to Pammachus (xlviii, 13; N&PNF. vi, 72-73)
Jerome is not alone in his candour. Bishop Eusebius, the official propagandist for Constantine, entitles the 32nd Chapter of his 12th Book of Evangelical Preparation:
“How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived.”
Eusebius is notoriously the author of a great many falsehoods – but then he does warn us in his infamous history:
“We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity.”
– Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chapter 2.
Clement of Alexandria was one of the earliest of the Church Fathers to draw a distinction between “mere human truth” and the higher truth of faith:
“Not all true things are the truth, nor should that truth which merely seems true according to human opinions be preferred to the true truth, that according to the faith.”
– Clement (quoted by M. Smith, Clement of Alexandria, p446)
John Chrysostom, 5th century theologian and erstwhile bishop of Constantinople, is another:
“Do you see the advantage of deceit? …
For great is the value of deceit, provided it be not introduced with a mischievous intention. In fact action of this kind ought not to be called deceit, but rather a kind of good management, cleverness and skill, capable of finding out ways where resources fail, and making up for the defects of the mind …
And often it is necessary to deceive, and to do the greatest benefits by means of this device, whereas he who has gone by a straight course has done great mischief to the person whom he has not deceived.”
– Chrysostom, Treatise On The Priesthood, Book 1.
Of course, we also have verses in the bible that show that god lies or causes lies as well, so these early church leaders were just following their leader.
Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of these thy prophets.
Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people.
O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived.
And if a prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet.
For this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.