I’m beginning to think that Abdul Ezedi did commit suicide following that horrific attack on a mother and children in Clapham at the end of January. But whether the policer find his body or not, that barbaric assault will have long-lasting results for all those involved.

It may well influence the way asylum seekers are treated too. As is well known now Ezedi, an Afghan national, who was named as a suspect was granted UK asylum on his third attempt, after being convicted of sex offences committed in the UK and placed on the sex offenders' register. I was amazed to hear that and it made we wonder why that decision had been taken until it was announced that his claim to have converted to Christianity was a significant factor in the decision.

Not surprisingly various voices have been raised about the churches’ role in other asylum cases. Indeed, one former Home Secretary is said to have claimed that churches around the country were facilitating ‘industrial-scale bogus asylum claims’.

So how should we react to this? Well, I think it would be helpful to remember that Jesus Himself knew people would claim to be Christians when in fact they were not. Judas was the prime example of course, but in a famous passage found in the Sermon on the Mount He said, "Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father 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 deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers’" It would seem then, that we can do more than deceive others we can even deceive ourselves!

That’s why the church always needs to ‘tell it as it is’ when someone says they want to become a Christian. They need to be told that faith is not an ‘easy ticket to heaven’ even less a ‘guaranteed asylum decision’. Christians, for all their imperfections must have a desire to ‘walk the walk’ and not just ‘talk the talk’. Given all this we need to appreciate that no church leader can ever guarantee that someone has become a true believer. In the final analysis, only God knows because He alone can give the definitive judgement. And He will!

The courts need to be aware of this when making their decisions but that does not mean the church should not engage in evangelism. If it is to be obedient to its Lord then it must do all it can to reach people of all backgrounds, whether rich or poor, UK nationals or asylum seekers for the simple reason that Jesus has commanded it. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you”.

Given this unambiguous command then the church dare not limit its appeal to anyone because to do that would be to abandon the ‘Great Commission’.  This world is clearly in a mess and even more importantly everyone of us will have to face God one day which is why I believe the church needs to do all it can to ensure many more people, including those who are refugees and asylum seekers will respond to the claims of Jesus in the years ahead.