(May 25, 2022) Robert and Maureen McQuillan bring a challenge to both Christian leaders and… so-termed ‘ordinary’ Christians.

Are you like us, getting mobile calls from strange numbers? Interstate and overseas numbers that you don’t recognise but just know immediately that here’s yet another false alarm, a scam call.

Of course sometimes strange numbers can be genuine… hospitals and medical clinics for some time have had receptionists and nursing staff phone from mobiles, not the usual phone service, due to personnel shortage and other reasons.

If one is expecting a call from such centres and a ‘strange number’ rings, one has to take a chance and answer. We can always cut off if we had to.

But on the whole, we must be careful as we learn of people being conned through phone scams. News services every now and then warn for the  ‘latest scam call.’ One must be sure that ‘strange calls’ are the real McCoy, not scams!

‘The Real McCoy’
Ever wonder how ‘Now that’s the real McCoy’ came about? A very old catchphrase declaring that something is true, genuine, for real.

Various sources are linked to this idiom, such as…

  • First recording evidently:1856’s Scottish ‘A drappie o’ the real MacKay’ (‘drop of the real MacKay’).
  • Elijah McCoy’s 1872 locomotive oil-drip cup invention was regarded as ‘the real McCoy system.’
  • Famous author Robert Louis Stevenson1883’s letter containing the phrase, ‘He’s the real Mackay.’  
  • Various other associations, including a scotch whisky brand used this catchy phrase.
  • In 1938, Cole Porter used the line ‘Or is what I feel the real McCoy?’ in one of his popular songs.
  • A Disney Channel Hannah Montana song had the line, ‘The honest truth the Real McCoy.’
  • Even one original Star Trek episode about a polymorphic alien that at one point looked like Dr McCoy was renamed The Unreal McCoy by a writer.

One ‘origin’ is about Charles McCoy, born Norman Selby, US welterweight champion 1898–1900, adopting the term Kid McCoy to distinguish himself from many imitators.

Evidently during one match, he pretended to be so dazed and weak in order to trick his challenger. Then, rebounding he surprised his opponent with such an overcoming attack that the announcer proclaimed, ‘Now that’s the real McCoy!’

Reversal of truth is scam, or ‘untruth’
Some years ago revealed that a photo of President Barack and Michelle Obama saluting the U.S. flag with their left hands ‘over their hearts’ was just another ‘digitally flipped’ image fake, an ‘untruth..

It was yet another reversal of truth… like when Satan deceived Eve, slyly suggesting, ‘Did God really say…’ (Genesis 3:1). Sadly, the rest is history ‘as they say in the classics!’

And there’s another idiom, a very sad one. But not only has the devil deceived many thousands down through history, today many worldwide today adults of both genders and children are still tricked by ‘untruths’ and without Christ.

Never mind the rest of the world, so many people around us, still don’t have a meaningful relationship with God and all Christians need to somehow reach them.

An important recent urgency from many Bible teachers worldwide is that, above all else, churches will preach about Jesus and His gospel! The word ‘truth’ is used over 230 times in scripture and people today, both converted and not, are looking for reality and truth, not pie-in-the-sky porkies.

One of the greatest scriptures that we’ve personally held tight to over many decades is John 8:31-32, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’

At least two important truths for both ministers and all Christians, come to mind here as we are all in the spotlight…

1. Making sure that what is passed on is ‘gospel truth’
A lot of weird preaching has been circulating for some time. One has only to check YouTube programs to find many TV preachers being challenged regarding some outlandish teachings, prophecies, demands and lifestyles.

Dan Wooding, founder ASSIST News Service (, once wrote: ‘Here we have yet another illustration of lies that are being circulated by people, including Christians, who ought to know better.’ Concerned, he added, ‘I ask you not to forward such messages before checking first with [the like of] Surely, we should first discover the truth before blindly sending on untrue messages.’

  • Church attenders, if really converted Christians honouring God, need to read and understand what scripture says, not rely only on what a preacher says on Sundays!
  • Ministers must ensure that what is shared from the pulpit is what the Holy Spirit wants shared… and is the Real McCoy! Sadly, some leaders lose their cutting edge because they neglect to really seek God for the next message, failing to dig deep, and check what the scripture really says. Some have even ‘borrowed’ another’s sermon and haven’t sought ‘God’s word for the moment.’

What is preached – taught, shared – must be strongly biblical, not some half-truth, untruth or weird mixed-up ‘reversed truth’ just to suit one’s agenda.

If firstly meaningful to the preacher, it will be so to the hearers. Only then it will bless and bring life.

‘Hearers’… that is church congregations, can often think of themselves as ‘ordinary Christians. not ministers. Not so! Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 3:5b-6 a great truth about anyone who accepts Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and desires to follow Him… ‘…our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant not of the letter but of the Spirit.’

‘Ministers’… that biblical title is diakonos, probably from diakō meaning ‘to run errands.’ Now that understanding can really make us all feel very humble! It’s a source where we get the term deacon from but overall it’s speaking of servantship, whether we be deacons, elders, ministers or ‘nobodies’. We don’t have to be Bible scholars but simply strive to be good servants!

So then…

  • May every Sunday ‘preacher’ share God’s real McCoy truths.
  • May every church attender know that what is being heard, or prophesied, lines up with scripture.
  • May we all take every opportunity given us to share God’s truths with others. Paul, having highlighted how he acted, advised ‘Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity’ (Colossians 4:5). 

2. Every Christian, not just ministers, should share ‘truths’
We’ll be personal here and share an old memory…

Turning away from a store assistant after receiving a credit note, we noticed that the docket indicated we’d been wrongly credited with $6034 instead of $10! Wow! But we pointed out the error. Widened-eyed she thanked us profusely for our ‘honesty’ as it would have caused her much trouble, and said a little bewilderedly, ‘This just doesn’t happen!’

Softly we quoted a great truth (another idiom)…’Honesty is the best policy.’ She nodded her head and then we threw her by adding, ‘But honesty just isn’t the best policy, it’s the only policy!’ Obviously unused to people demonstrating such integrity, she shook her head dumbfounded.

Now we didn’t ‘preach’ or ‘witness’… not then. But we had made her day acting out a Christian principle, and given her something to think about. Ones’ actions often speak for themselves and cause people to wonder. And quite often we’ve found that they’ve led to a later occasion to speaking and sharing about God.

Our point here is that both ministers and ‘normal’ Christians are spotlighted individuals. We are all public figures and ‘the world’ is looking at us, and observing what we do and say, how we act and react. Our ‘living life’ is the fifth gospel – ‘the gospel according to you’ (yes, we know… another idiom!).

The question is: ‘What kind of gospel are ‘outsiders of Christ’ reading?

May they not see shams or scams but the Real McCoy… clear real truth, not some reversal that’s a clever lie! Of interest, we watched a Christian YouTube 2013 movie tonight, Sidewalk Singer with Alan Maki. In it, the lady vet doctor comments ‘If they talk like a Christian, if they act like A Christian, they must be a Christian.’ Says it all, doesn’t it?

Seek the Real McCoy!
In their 1986 album Music That You Can Dance To, American pop band Sparks sang Get yourself in tune for the real McCoy. Sounds good advice for all Christians, not just a secular audience.

But, better still, we’ll finish with a scripture that indicates that Paul wasn’t happy with anything that hinted of a scam, an untruth… ‘And why is it that I keep coming across these whiffs of gossip about how my self-support was a front behind which I worked an elaborate scam? Where’s the evidence?’ (2 Corinthians 12:16 Mge).

May every Christian be in tune with God’s word, The Real McCoy, not untruths or reversals!

Dr Robert and Maureen McQuillan’s links are and Facebook (Scripture/other emphases in this Onliner ours. Appreciated images/pics: various general sources available for reuse under creative commons have been used in good faith and not for profit).

One comment

  1. I’ve heard this phrase often, but never knew its origin, until reading your article and appreciate the encouragement that we may all seek to live and Lord enabling, be the ‘real McCoy.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s