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