June 24, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? - Matthew 7:15-16 NKJV.
Tim Lambesis, who was the leader singer for a Christian heavy metal band, has been convicted of trying to hire someone to kill his wife and sentenced to six years in prison. During interviews, Lambesis has revealed that he is not a Christian and that he is an atheist. He claims he was the third member of the group to become an atheist and he thinks that the other two group members also are atheists. Tim says, “I remember one Christian festival where an interviewer wanted one of the guys to share his testimony, and he just froze up, and let one of the guys who was still a Christian at the time answer the question. We laughed about it afterward, but we were only laughing because it was so awkward.” When rumors circulated that the group was Satanist he says, “I was afraid it would affect sales, which would affect my overall income. I was trying to put out the fire by saying the easiest thing, ‘I’m not a Satanist!’ Truthfully, I was an atheist.” Lambesis claims that only one in ten of Christian groups is actually Christian and that the rest are just pretending to be Christian. (06.19.14 Washington Post; Alternative Press; 06.23.14 Religion News Service; and various other news venues)
One of the problems with saying anything about whether some Christian music groups are actually made up of Christians or not is that we have to take the word of a man who has been convicted of trying to hire someone to kill his wife. For all we know he may have also wanted to hurt the other members in his band and by making these statements he was hoping that he could. However, it does appear that there was at least one pretend Christian in the group based on the statements of Tim Lambesis about himself. I surely hope that it is not true that many Christian group members are only pretending to be Christians. Sadly we have seen many supposedly Christian individuals over the years confess to some very unChristian things.
Jesus gives us words of instruction as to how to know who may be a false prophet and who may be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. First, Jesus tells us to “Beware” of fake prophets who will appear to be sheep but who are actually “ravenous wolves.” This means that we do have permission from the Lord Himself to be cautious about giving a blanket acceptance to everyone who claims to be a Christian. We have permission to dig a little deeper into a person’s background when we encounter them in our church or our lives.
How do we discern whether someone is a sheep or a wolf? Jesus says, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?” Tim Lambesis, who claims as a member of a Christian heavy metal group that he was actually an atheist, demonstrates clearly the fruit from his life. The fruit from his life is the attempt to hire someone to kill his wife for which he has received six years in prison. He also says that he pretended to be a Christian so that he would make more money. Let us be aware that there are wolves like Tim in sheep’s clothing that will take advantage of Christians if they have the opportunity.