Can you imagine your pastor encouraging you to sin at Christmas by shoplifting?  Read below from a news report

A priest in Britain is under fire Monday for advising his congregation to shoplift in tough economic times, the Daily Mail reports.

Father Tim Jones, a 41-year-old clergyman at St. Lawrence Church in York, England, said that shoplifting — rather than prostitution or burglary — is sometimes the best option for poor people struggling to make ends meet, according to the Web site.

“My advice as a Christian priest is to shoplift,” Jones reportedly told churchgoers during his Sunday sermon. “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,” he continued.

“I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need … My advice does not contradict the Bible’s eighth commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.”

Jones’ sermon, meanwhile, has been blasted by police, the British Retail Consortium and a local MP who all say that shoplifting is a crime regardless of circumstances.

I’m still flabbergasted a supposedly Christian minister would encourage sin!  Didn’t Jesus say something about causing others to stumble… that it was better for a millstone to be tied around their neck and cast into the sea?

Can you imagine hearing on Sunday morning from your pastor, “Life is tough and God understands if you have to break a few commandments here or there to get by.  Don’t worry about it… it’s not that big of a deal.” That minister is the KING of rationalization, justification, and situational morality!

Instead, what if this “minister” had said or encouraged the following…

Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God… (Phil 4:6)

If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living. (2 Thess 3:10-12)

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point (Stealing?  Shoplifting?) has become accountable for all of it. For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. (James 2:10-11)

The minister who encouraged his congregation to shoplift would be better off to have drowned than to lead people into sin!