Jesus Christ Is Lord

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Sin Kills: Pastor Richard Scott Harper Murders Deacon So He Can Have His Wife

Posted by Job on October 2, 2008

This is a horrible tale of what sins does to people. This is why we truly need to preach the gospel to all, and to live it. Lies, deceit, adultery, and murder … the wages of sin are death.

Pastor admits stabbing lover’s husbandA Northwest Georgia pastor who was part of a love triangle on Wednesday pleaded guilty to fatally stabbing his lover’s husband. Richard Scott Harper, 37, made a deal with prosecutors that allows Harper and co-defendant Michelle Reynolds, 39, to avoid the death penalty. Reynolds’ husband, Thad Reynolds, was found stabbed multiple times in July 2004 outside a Frito-Lay distribution plant where he was a manager.

Harper and Thad Reynolds were good friends, police said. Thad and Michelle Reynolds attended Hollywood Baptist Church, where Harper was the family pastor and Thad Reynolds was a marriage counselor and deacon. Harper made a statement Wednesday to Floyd County District Attorney Leigh Patterson, agreeing to testify against Michelle Reynolds in court, Patterson said. “It’s an opportunity for me to get evidence against the other defendant,” Patterson said.

Harper plead guilty to two counts of murder, aggravated assault, and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime. As part of his plea negotiation, Harper asked that the death penalty be removed as an option for himself and for Reynolds, Patterson said. Neither Harper’s nor Reynolds’ attorneys could be reached by phone Wednesday night for comment.

Patterson said if Harper testifies in accordance with his Wednesday statement, “we agree to recommend life in prison without parole for him” and for Reynolds. “We’ve met with the victim’s family, and they’re very supportive,” Patterson said. Patterson would not release the details of Harper’s statement, saying the information would be held until Reynolds went to court. 

Floyd County police discovered Harper’s and Michelle Reynolds’ romantic relationship in learning that the pair had conspired to kill Thad Reynolds. The victim and his wife had four children — ages 12, 6, 4 and 1 at the time of Michelle Reynolds’ arrest — who were taken care of by family and church members. It is uncertain when Reynolds will have her day in court.

This really is an example of why Christians need to stop defending and following these false preachers who flaunt their sinful and immoral lifestyles, acting as if their having a position in the church or their profuse claims of loving God and being born again means that their behavior is OK. We know of all the rumors of sex and financial scandals. Will it take an angry jilted lover or someone bilked out of thousands of dollars to seek violent revenge before Christians start taking heresy and apostasy in the church seriously? Yes, I said heresy and apostasy, because 1 Timothy 6 and many other places in the Bible make it clear that false doctrine leads to sinful behavior in those who hold to them.

On another tack, humans are born in sin and weak by nature. We are also prideful, which causes us to overestimate our own strength and virtue. We rationalize and justify first our weaknesses, then our desires, and then our sins. This reminds me of James 1:13-15, which reads “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” The lust in question is not merely of a sexual nature, but any sinful desire, including that of Satan, whose desire was to receive the praise from creation that was due to God alone.

This is why, as the book of James admonishes, that we are to flee temptation. This includes the temptation to make excuses and accommodations for and to follow preachers that we know are false. As we come closer to the return of Jesus Christ, the world is getting still more wicked, and as we can see, even the church is not immune. The only way to avoid getting swept up into this evil tide is A) salvation through Jesus Christ and B) holiness through right belief and right conduct.

Both are equally important. Right belief is of no use if you are not living in obedience to God, and in most cases obedience is a matter of “thou shalt” instead of “thou shalt not.” God did not call us to be contemplative mystic monks, or even monastics whose religious life is restricted to the safety of our homes and churches. This truth has been a great stumbling block for Christians, but faith without works is dead. But do not be mistaken: “thou shalt not” is also vital. The person who leads a lascivious profane rebellious lifestyle that does not reflect God’s holiness and purity and then points to the works that he has done in God’s Name is attempting to mock God, but God is not mocked.

All the same, if one has right practice but false beliefs, you are really no better off than the dry fruitless dead vine. Do not Jews produce good works? Mormons? Muslims? Hindus and Buddhists? Roman Catholics? Atheists? Unitarians? To more that is given, more is required, and if you reject the Word of God given to you in the Bible to follow after strange doctrines and the false preachers that advocate them, what excuse will you have on judgment day? 

It may seem as if I am exploiting a tragedy to promote an unrelated agenda, but that is not the case. This is an example of what not only sin, but sin in the life of not only professed Christians but in the life of a pastor and the wife of a deacon with 4 children, results in. If sin lead to death in this case, why should it not lead to the same in yours? Sin is the disease, and Jesus Christ is the cure, and that is the case for everyone.

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