Conveyor belts’ of fake conversions and immigration scams:

In the past Christian missionaries in places like India had to be careful of “rice Christians.” These were folks who often pretended to become Christians, but their main aim was to get rice and other goodies from the Western missionaries. Material benefits, and not spiritual ones, was the motivating factor.

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It seems we have the same problem today, but in a new form. And this includes asylum seekers who are duping clueless Christians into thinking they have converted to Christ, simply to get free entry into the West. In both cases it was the supposed desire to ‘be like Jesus’ that became part of the problem.

Missionaries back then had to learn to be much more aware and careful as to how they proceeded. The same today.

Contemporary social justice warriors both within and without the church have a tendency to be naïve, gullible and undiscerning when they carry on about how “compassionate” they are. They may think they are being Christlike, but too often they can just be ‘useless idiots’ who serve the causes of various activist groups.

And lest folks think I am making all this up, consider some recent headlines that really should concern us. One of them says this: “We may have been scammed by asylum seekers, admits Church of England”. Another runs as follows: “Whistleblower Exposes Alleged Asylum Seeker Baptism Scam in Church of England”.

The first piece begins this way:

The Church of England has admitted for the first time that it may have been “scammed” by asylum seekers falsely claiming to have converted to Christianity to boost their chances of staying in the UK. The Rt Revd Dr Guli Francis-Dehqani, the Bishop of Chelmsford, conceded it was “very difficult” to look into the hearts of converts and be 100 per cent certain that they were genuine.


She acknowledged there had been a “small number” of alleged abuses but said the clergy “do the best they can” and it was “ultimately” the job of immigration tribunals and the Home Office to assess and vet the validity of asylum claims. Her comments come after robust denials by the Church of England of claims by senior MPs and whistleblowers that clergy have been routinely supporting “bogus” asylum claims and enabled a “conveyor belt” of thousands of asylum seekers to convert.


Abdul Ezedi, the Clapham chemical attack suspect, was granted asylum after claiming to have converted to Christianity, despite having two convictions in the UK for sex assault and exposure. Friends of Ezedi, an illegal migrant, told The Telegraph that he was a “good Muslim” who bought half a halal sheep every fortnight, despite his apparent conversion. James Cleverly, the Home Secretary, is reviewing the facts of the case to establish if the law needs to be overhauled to prevent such abuses.

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And the second article starts this way:

In a revelation that has sent shockwaves through the Church of England, former priest Rev. Matthew Firth has blown the lid off an alleged exploitation of the church’s baptism practices by failed asylum seekers looking to bolster their legal standing in the UK.


Firth, who served as a Church of England priest before leaving to join the Free Church of England, claims to have witnessed a “conveyor belt” of baptisms for asylum seekers whose initial claims had been denied. These individuals, he asserts, sought baptism in the church as a means to strengthen their appeals.


In an even more disturbing turn, Firth reports observing monetary exchanges between migrants and a Muslim middleman to arrange these baptisms, suggesting a systematic exploitation of the church’s practices.


A Church’s Silence Amid Alleged Complicity


Firth’s most scathing criticism is reserved for the Church of England itself, which he accuses of complicity in these matters. He shared his efforts to stem the tide by insisting on a six-month church attendance before baptism, a move that met with resistance from some congregation members and a lack of support from senior clergy.

And it closes with these words:

As the controversy continues to unfold, it has sparked a broader conversation about the role of religion in society and the boundaries between faith and state. For Firth, his decision to leave the Church of England and blow the whistle on these practices was a matter of principle. “I couldn’t stand by and watch the church being used in this way,” he says.


Whether his actions will lead to change within the Church of England remains to be seen. But one thing is clear: the battle for the soul of the church is far from over. In a world where the lines between truth and manipulation often blur, stories like Firth’s serve as a stark reminder of the power of individual courage in the face of institutional silence.

A common problem with so much of this sort of thing we see playing out around the West is a biblically deficient view of sin. Too many believers just want to think the best of others, be nice, and refuse to be discerning and judgmental. But evil people exist, including those who are quite happy to dupe mindless believers.

Having compassion for the poor and needy should NOT mean we are ignorant about what is happening in this world. There are such things as people-smuggling operations for example. They will do whatever it takes to make a buck, and in this case, get folks into the West, regardless of who they are – even if some are convicted felons.

This is true in America as well, where the religious left is happy to remain clueless to the reality that not everyone wanting to come across the southern border is truly in need. If they are, they need to go through the proper processes, and not try to enter illegally.

And many of those who are trying to get into America are criminals, drug-dealers and even child traffickers. Not all of course. But they exist, so we need to be much more careful and discerning. Whether in the US or the UK, it is not enough for believers to think they are somehow being like Jesus when they turn a blind eye to obvious abuses or refuse to acknowledge there might even be a real problem here.

We will have to wait and see just how bad things have been in the UK, and whether there have been any cover-ups by church officials and others. If so, it will not be the first time churches have been caught out. But it is not just the damage such actions can cause to a nation and the rule  of law.

Borders and immigration laws exist for a good reason. Doing all we can to circumvent them, even if we think we are doing God a favour, helps no one. But worse yet, letting these folks think that they have become believers when they have not is even much more serious.

That has eternal consequences. No true Christian should want to have that sort of blood on his hands.

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The Unlucky Country - Zimmermann & Moens

Bill Muehlenberg teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. His independent blog, Culture Watch, has over 5,000 articles commenting on the major cultural, social and political issues of the day.

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