Anyone can be converted! Pastor urges persons to desist from judging new Christians
The law of the LORD [is] perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord [is] sure, making wise the simple (Psalm 19 vs 7).
On Tuesday, May 24, The Gleaner reported on the conversion of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke's sister, Camille 'Sandy' Coke, that she is now evangelising, while her brother serving time in United States prison is studying theology.
Since then, there has been some backlash as even some Christians are up in arms about the transition.
Of course, this is not just common to modern-day believers as in ancient times, Jonah was given the command to preach to the wicked city of Nineveh and he refused. We all know the story of him being in the belly of the whale for three days before he finally carried out the mission.
Although he preached redemption to them, he was upset when the message was accepted and the people embraced God. So upset was he that he threw a tantrum. Sounds familiar?
With this kind of reaction to perceived wrongdoers, Family and Religion reached out to Evangelist Errol Rattray of the Errol Rattray Evangelistic Association.
Rattray has seen lives being transformed through the Operation Hope Mission, an initiative he has been spearheading for years.
hoping criminals will embrace Christ
In fact, the team is hoping to do just that with the mission now in Clarendon this month. They are hoping a lot of hardened criminals will put away their guns and embrace Christ as their Lord and Saviour, being agents of change instead of destruction.
"When it comes to redemption, John 3 vs 16 says it all: "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life", he said placing emphasis on 'whosoever'.
"Anyone can be converted," said Rattray. The evangelist points out that there are two forces that rule the world - good and evil.
"The old man is a murderer, rapist, scammer, liar and deceptive. The carnal person is under the control of satanic forces, which is to kill, steal and destroy," said Rattray.
He said what Christians - and others who get upset when a criminal is converted - should understand is that the criminals were being ruled by another force.
Rattray, however, points out that for those who were involved in scamming or other activities that see them robbing victims, restoration should be made after they are converted.
"I believe, just like Zaccheus if you have wronged someone, you should ask for forgiveness, and if it is possible, make restoration for what was stolen."
Addressing Christians with the 'Jonah mentality', Rattray admits that there will be the few cases where some will use Christianity as a cover, but he said his job is not to judge and will be the first to embrace anyone, no matter their lifestyle, who has made a public declaration of their faith in Christ.
"There are those who will be sceptical and quick to condemn, but God has His people in the Kingdom who will embrace them," he said.
Commenting on Operation Hope, Rattray said he has been in a lot of troubled communities such as Nannyville, Flanker and Trench Town and has witnessed persons being saved from criminality, prostitution and witchcraft.
"I am not a doubter. I have seen it and even given opportunity to those transformed, putting them in positions that allow them to see that I trust them," he said.
This action, he said, boosted their confidence, and according to him, one even confessed that his faith in him allowed him to stay on the path.
"The Church is the world's hospital, and a hospital is not supposed to refuse anyone," he said.
For Christians who harbour ill feelings towards criminals who turn their lives around, he is encouraging them to embrace reformed Christians and become their mentors.