Monday, December 28, 2009

Evangelist Slams Priest for 'Pulpit Betrayal'

MEDIA ADVISORY, Dec. 28 /Christian Newswire/ -- An Anglican priest in the northern English city of York told his parishioners that poor people struggling to survive should steal food and other essentials from shops, rather than raise money through prostitution, burglary or mugging.

Best-selling author and evangelist, Ray Comfort, said, "What may sound like compassion is actually pulpit betrayal. Rather than a sermon telling his hearers to steal from businesses, he should be telling them to take what they need from his own church's collection plate. If he didn't do that because his church is feeling the economic pinch, that brings into question his motive. If his parishioners take his advice and his weekly collection increases, he is benefiting from the crime he instigated and therefore complicit to it. The question also arises as to whether or not the priest personally practices what he preaches. Does he himself shoplift? If he doesn't, he's a hypocrite. If he does, then he's a criminal. If he says that he doesn't need to shoplift because he is financially sound, then he should be giving to his poor folks, rather than making them into thieves."

Britain's Daily Mail reported, "He told parishioners it would not break the eighth commandment 'thou shalt not steal' because it 'is permissible for those who are in desperate situations to take food that they might not starve.' The Yorkshire Evening Post reported that he said, "'My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift,' he told his stunned congregation at St Lawrence and St Hilda in York."

Comfort said, "The twisted advice of the Reverend is nothing new. The religious leaders at the time of Christ also perverted the Ten Commandments. In Matthew 15 they changed the Fifth so that they didn't have to honor their father and mother, and they even tried to soften the Seventh. But in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus warned that God considers lust to be adultery of the heart.

"This all comes from something called 'idolatry,' which is the sin of making a god in your own image. Once you do that, anything goes. The Bible says that if you steal, even in the case of dire need, you pay back seven-fold. Sex becomes okay "if you love someone." Lying becomes morally okay if they are lies that don't "hurt" anyone. Adultery becomes acceptable if the marriage is boring, and the murder of children in the womb is permitted if a pregnancy is an inconvenience. But the Bible is clear that all liars, adulterers, murderers and thieves will end up in Hell."

The Rev. Jones added, "I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither." He said that people shouldn't steal from small, family businesses, but from large national businesses.

Comfort, who spent a lot of his time feeding the homeless in Los Angeles' infamous McArthur Park, said, "This is what happens when unconverted men go into the ministry. Many of today's preachers should have been plumbers, motivational speakers or bankers, rather than what the Bible calls 'preachers of righteousness.' The moral Law is meant to show us that we are sinners and that we need a Savior. The Ten Commandments don't need changing. We do. We may change them to suit ourselves, but they will still be the standard of judgment on Judgment Day. God wrote them in stone for a reason."

Contact: Trisha Ramos, 800-437-1893, www.livingwaters.com

4 comments:

j said...

oh how I pray for Ray often. That man is so bold for the cause of Christ and God has used him as such an inspiration in my own ministry...

May God bless and keep him and protect him until THAT day.

BathTub said...

Wait what? Is Ray against stealing again?

Or is it just stealing money that's bad?


Stan Guffey.
The voyage ended up lasting five years, during which time Darwin was able to explore extensively in South America and numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean, including the Galapagos.
On returning to England in 1836, Darwin set to work examining and disseminating the extensive collection of natural history specimens acquired during the voyage. He quickly established a reputation as an accomplished naturalist on the London scene.


Ray Comfort
The voyage ended up lasting nearly five years, during which time Darwin was able to explore extensively in South America and numerous islands in the Pacific Ocean, including the Galapagos Islands.
On returning to England in 1836, Darwin set to work examining and disseminating the extensive collection of natural history specimens acquired during the voyage. He quickly established a reputation as an accomplished naturalist on the London scene

Spence Ohana said...

In my opinion I think it's quite dishonest of Ray to only use a few quotes from the priest out of the entire context of his message to "slam" him and basically say he's a "betrayer of Christ" and "I am right". Here are some quotes Ray left out:

I offer the advice with a heavy heart. Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. 'The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are. 'Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. 'When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly. 'We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime.'

In my opinion from reading the article in it's entirety the priest's message wasn't about advising the poor to steal but it was really about our society being called to step up and help the poor. I believe he used the "stealing" statement as a "shocker" to get his listners attention to the real important part of his message - helping the poor. And whose to say money from their collection plate isn't being used to feed the poor?

BTW nice touch on adding what a great samaritan Ray is "who spent a lot of his time feeding the homeless in Los Angeles' infamous McArthur Park". Made me chuckle. :)

MNChad said...

Here's the the first part which seems to have been left out on previous posts:

The priest said,
"Instead, I would rather that they shoplift. My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift. I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither. I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices. I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need. And I would offer this advice with a heavy heart, wishing that our society recognized that bureaucratic ineptitude and systemic delay constitutes a dreadful invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope at the very bottom of our social order"

Further on in his sermon, after reference to the belief that "God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich", Father Jones added:

"Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are. Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks and weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly. We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime"

Also,
Further comment came from the Venerable Richard Seed, Archdeacon of York, The Northern Echo reporting that the Archdeacon commented:
The Church of England does not advise anyone to shoplift, or break the law in any way. Father Tim Jones is raising important issues about the difficulties people face when benefits are not forthcoming, but shoplifting is not the way to overcome these difficulties. There are many organisations and charities working with people in need, and the Citizens Advice Bureau is a good first place to call"

Looks like Ray isn't the only outspoken person that has a problem with the message conveyed.