Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Father Tim Jones: Re-writing the Eighth Commandment

"Thou shalt steal when the need arises."


You heard me right.  It is okay to steal if you are poor.  But only steal from the rich, the large corporate chains who pass the loss down to customers in higher prices, not from the small businesses run by families.  Their loss would be too great and inflict too much damage to their livelihood.   After all, stealing from the rich does no harm, right?  They can afford it.  And the result is that you get what you want and no one is the wiser.

Sound ludicrous?  It does, but that is what one so-called Anglican "Christian priest" who resides over the St. Lawrence Church in York, England is preaching from his pulpit.   In his nativity sermon of all things, he encouraged the "poor", those who are suffering through the current recession, to steal from large store chains.

"My advice as a Christian priest is to shoplift," he said, insisting that it was better than "prostitution, mugging, or burglary."

He also stated that he believes he is not violating God's eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal".  Rather, he is of the mindset that "God's love for the poor outweighs his love for property rights of the rich."

Jones' response to the condemnation he quickly received, not only from law enforcement but also from the Archdeacon of York, for his misguided advice was this:  "This is simply a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable with contempt."

At this moment, I could not feel more contempt.  And that contempt is for a supposed "man of God" who is encouraging his congregants to violate one of God's laws; contempt for a "priest" who is advocating sinning against God; and utter contempt for re-writing Scripture that clearly opposes what this man is preaching.

Is this what Christ's church has come to?  Do we continue to add to the multitude of offenses that are being committed against our God and preach a doctrine of thievery, along with the other abominations that are currently being embraced within the church?  And if we do, do we expect God to remain silent and not bring swift and utter destruction down upon us for our disobedience?

As Christ was telling the parable of the judge and widow in Luke 18, He concluded with, "However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?"  If He was to return to Jones' parish at this moment, I doubt He would discover much in the way of true faith in the heart of this man who is a wolf in sheep's clothing teaching his congregants a false doctrine of theft and deception.  His irresponsible brand of preaching defies the truth.  It reeks of lies, even within this one sermon, and tells of him leading his charge down a destructive path.  I can only hope that the pews will be empty this coming Sunday.

God made His case about stealing quite effectively as He gave the Law to Moses.  In Leviticus 6:1-7, we see that stealing involves much more than just merely taking from someone else something that does not belong to you.  The remedy far outweighed the crime for the Lord commanded that restitution with interest be made, and be made quickly.  Only then would the offender be forgiven.

Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 discovered what happens to those who steal from the Lord, then lie about it.  "You have not lied to men but to God."  The property that was sold did indeed belong to them prior to its sale.  But it was their sin in "test[ing] the Spirit of the Lord" by not giving all the promised proceeds to Him - their greed and covetousness, their lies, their theft - that condemned them.

Jones relates a time when he encountered an ex-prisoner who was made to live on a paltry 100 British pounds for six weeks upon his release.   He uses this man's situation as a demonstration to defend his position that theft is acceptable when you are hungry or homeless.  Perhaps Jones, instead of insisting it is okay to steal from those who have, should have reached into his own pocket, encouraged his congregation to reach into theirs, and assisted the man in the way God has called us to serve Him.  The offer of a job, regardless of how menial and trivial, would have far-better served this man and those like him then preaching a doctrine of theft and disobedience to God's laws.  Or perhaps the Lord had this man right where He wanted Him in order to turn Him to salvation - but a man like Jones got in His way.

It is my contention that Tim Jones is the violator worthy of contempt.  He is the enemy within the camp who is bent upon the destruction of God's Word, and who leads his congregation with untruths and deception.  He mocks God and His laws that are intended to convict us of our sins - including the sin of stealing.  It is not a trivial matter that should be overlooked when a man proclaiming himself to be a servant of God encourages others to disobey the very God he claims to serve.  He should be removed from his position - immediately - before he inflicts more damage upon the hearts of those whom he leads.  


1 comment:

Mama Mimi (Dana) said...

Wow. I hadn't heard about this. But then, it's no worse than the false preachers out there selling a false gospel and leading people ot destruction. I wonder if he taught his nonsense with a little entertainment like a really great band or puppet show to make his point. Unfortunately your desire that the pews would be empty the following Sunday will most likely not be the case. This kind of nonsense draws those who aren't in church to learn the truth but to have their ears tickled. Great post.