Today, a lot of people will mock Christians. They will say we are frauds, phonies, and hypocrites. They will say that Jesus Christ is a failure. They will say that salvation is a myth.
They are wrong.
On Friday, two “Christian” pastors were arrested in an undercover operation coordinated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI). These heroic law enforcement officers uncovered a prostitution and human trafficking ring and arrested 32 individuals.
Jason Kennedy, 46, was Children’s Pastor for Grace Baptist Church.
Zubin Parakh, 32, was Creative Pastor for LifeHouse Church.
Mention of Parakh has been erased from the LifeHouse Church website, and a request for privacy was posted on their Facebook page.
Grace Baptist however has publicly fired Kennedy, and is actively working to coordinate counseling for children and members traumatized by their pastor’s betrayal. Grace has posted an open letter expressing their devastation.
Some may find it shocking that Christian church leaders were involved in such an atrocity. But we were warned by Christ himself to watch for impostors and false teachers.
Some will find it funny that two pastors were revealed to be frauds. “I always knew Christians were fake,” they will think. “I always knew their God had no power to redeem.”
But this is not funny. Nothing related to human trafficking can ever be funny. And they are mistaken. It was the grace of God that TBI was able to discover and capture these predators who were using Christ’s name as a cover.
What did Jesus say about false teachers?
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” Matthew 7:21-23.
The fact that “workers of lawlessness” can gain influence and even leadership positions within a Christian church is disturbing. Despite Christ’s warnings, impostors continually creep into our midst, just as Satan crept into The Garden of Eden.
What did Jesus say about those who cause His children to sin or waiver in their faith? As he held a little child in his arms, Jesus said:
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” Matthew 18:5-7
You see, a true Christian may commit grievous sins. However, a true Christian repents. A true Christian doesn’t let sin overrun their life without seeking help. A true Christian fears is appalled by the damage their evil inflicts upon others. A true Christian longs to reflect Christ through their actions.
“Whoever says ‘I know him’ but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” 1 John 2:4-6
Jesus confirms that a person’s behavioral patterns are indicative of their authenticity. You can identify a tree by its fruit:
“Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20
Yes, a Christian may sin. Like the popular example of King David, a Christian may sin quite badly yet still be a real Christian. But David repented. David agonized over his sins. David praised God for granting him undeserved mercy. David humbled himself. David credited his salvation to God and God alone. These are not traits you find in a wolf.
Please pray for the congregations of Grace Baptist and Lifehouse Church, that they would see Christ’s grace during this painful and frightening time. Pray for the victims of human trafficking, that they would be healed and empowered to lead happy lives. Pray for the families and children of all those involved in committing these heinous crimes. Pray for our law enforcement officers, that they will continue to uncover evil and bring its perpetrators to justice.
“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:12-13