A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

The Connecticut School Shootings: What Can We Say?

I just felt that we needed to say something about the slaughter at the Sandy Hook school in Newtown yesterday.  A killing of not only adults, which is horrid enough, but of children.  Little children in their school.  And why?  For what possible reason?  Do these evils have anything to do with the evils we work with on this blog?  I don’t know.  I suspect there are links.  I do know that in both arenas we are dealing with evil.

John 8:44 ESV   You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

A murderer from the beginning of time.  He is the same one who was behind the slaughter of the innocents in the days of Jesus’ nativity.  And in some way we know he is behind what happened in Newtown yesterday.  Only the powers of darkness could be capable of the unspeakable.  And yet, those powers use people.  Evil people who are so often described as being ” a nice guy.”  Or “troubled, but who would have thought he could do this?”

So what can we say?

First, many of these cases demonstrate what abuse victims know all too well (but of which the larger part of the Christian church seems to be in denial) — namely, that evil can appear as an angel of light.  I don’t know what Adam Lanza was like.  Some news reports are saying he was into the black “gothic” look.  Perhaps a genius.  But apparently no one thought that he was capable of anything like the mass murder of children.  Why else would a military-type assault rifle and at least two semi-automatic handguns be available to him in his own home?  We don’t know.  Maybe we never will.  But evil can parade in many disguises.  A man really can look like a fine Christian, for example, and yet terrorize his wife at home.

And then there is this whole matter of reaping what we have sown.  I don’t mean that abuse victims have sown and thus are reaping the harvest of their own doings.  No.  What I mean is that as a people, as a nation, we are experiencing increasingly intense and shocking forms of violence without restraint.  When we think of suicide bombers, we think of some dusty little Arab country where people worship Allah.  But if Adam Lanza had been able to obtain a suicide vest filled with plastic explosive, why would he not have used it?  It is the very same mentality it seems. The spirit that animates Al Queda seems to have crossed the waters to America.

 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools,  and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:21-25)

God gave them up.  That is what happens to a people who say “No God for us!”  He hands them over to the lusts of their own hearts.  God says to such a nation, “Alright.  You want life without Me?  I will give you a taste of it.”  And He just steps back.  I think that is what is happening in our country today and I think that is what is happening in many of our churches.  The result is the increase of sin and injustice and murder and wickedness, and the roll of victims grows.

When a nation excludes the Creator, the God of the Bible, from its life, death sweeps in.  Cut yourself off from Light and you are going to find yourself in darkness.  Teach children that they are mere organisms who happened into existence billions of years ago by chance, apart from the creative activity of God, provide them with access to the grossest forms of evil and sin in the name of freedom of speech, produce graphically shocking forms of violent recreation for them to pursue for hours each day, throw in a mix of drugs and alcohol – and just what do we think the resulting cocktail is that we are all going to be drinking?  Oh, and then there is this matter of Christ and the gospel.  That must never be in the recipe.  And certainly it must never be in the classroom.

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light,  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  (Matthew 6:22-23)

Peter said:  “For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ ” ( 1 Peter 4:17-18)
I am not sure that I understand entirely what this means.  But I do think that it means at least this:  As we look at the horrors of yesterday’s shootings, we as Christians need to look at ourselves.  We must not just say “well, there is the evil of the world.”  No.  It is time for judgment to begin, and it needs to begin with US.  Reform needs to begin with the church.  Repentance needs to be sparked first within the church.  If the church, which is supposed to be the light of the world, is blind — how great is the darkness!

And I suppose that is the main lesson I take away from all of this.  When it comes to evil within its own ranks, the church seems to be blind in so many cases.  Blind to the sufferings of victims.  Blind to the disguises of wicked people.  And for this we have no excuse.

38 Comments

  1. Jim

    Mentally disturbed, isolated people are easy targets for Satan. Young men are prone to violence. Humanistic psychology offers little or nothing for such people. I will speculate he had received some psychological treatment and it did not help him. Maybe contact with grace-filled Christians would have helped him, maybe not.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Jim – I was just thinking yesterday about how unkind and cold our culture is. There really is something to be said for pro-actively exercising kindness to people – even to strangers. Societal outcasts become angry and raging people very often. I remember in high school particularly how a very strong “caste” system was in place. The “ins” and the “outs.” It makes me sick to think of it.

      But then, of course as we know, acts of kindness exercised toward a sociopath/psychopath/abuser are only going to be perceived by them as a weakness on our part. There are evil people. If only it were easier to discern which type we are dealing with.

      • Jim

        Most mentally disturbed people are not violent or sociopathic. I make a distinction between people who like being evil, and people who get wrapped up in it as a result of pain. I have not been diagnosed with Aspergers, but I have some of those characteristics. It is very hard to relate effectively to people, and bullies see you as an easy target. I found some help in my church group, but it was hard even there. I thought about some kind of an outreach program at the church for people with Aspergers and autism, and if I had been able to stay there long term maybe I could have done it. Some kind of Christian support for mentally ill, disturbed and isolated people would be a good thing.

      • Jim I hear what you say, and I really appreciate you sharing this. You are right. A person can be ‘different’ and not find it easy to flow in social interactions, and that can make them feel lonely and isolated. They may not be actually mentally disordered or ill in any way that benefits from standard treatments, and they may be very far from evil, but they can easily be seen as mentally ill or a bad person. And they can be easily targeted by bullies.
        I agree, if churches consciously did more for such folk, it might help. But I wonder whether most congregations have the nous? And the interest? :(
        Thank you for sharing your perspective as we need to hear things like this.

  2. Just Me

    Jeff C, Thank you for addressing this. I’ve seen comments on the Internet saying how this proves that God doesn’t exist. This crime is so horrific. I pray that Jesus is cuddling with all those sweet children right now.

    I was wondering if the shooter was demon possessed. I don’t hear much in the church about demon possession and it seemed to be a regular issue in NT times. Surely there must still be demon possessed people in our day and age.

    Many prayers for these families.

  3. Just Me

    And on the topic of mental health issues, there needs to be a re-evaluation of the laws governing involuntary treatment. My mother has schizophrenia. It was late onset developed in her late 40s although she suffered with depression and some mild paranoia prior to that. She completely lost her mind in a matter of weeks. She did some scary things. I was terrified of her and cut contact with her for 7 years. She didn’t even know that I had children. We tried numerous times to force her into treatment. We consulted 3 attorneys who all said there was nothing we could do. Meanwhile, she burned through over a million dollars (her entire divorce settlement) and was living in a disgusting, infested hotel.

    Anyway, my point is that we couldn’t force her into treatment until she started threatening to kill people. She had to make the threat and then begin following through on the plan. The threat isn’t enough by itself. So she made the threat and then attempted to lure the person. Then and only then were we able to force her into treatment. It’s pathetic that it had to get to that point. We were shouting from the rooftops that she needed help for years. It’s only be God’s grace that she never did kill anybody. I went through her things after she was hospitalized and the things she had written were terrifying. The kicker was when I testified to the committee in the hearing to have her committed. After she left the room, the entire committee looked at me and said ” what on earth took you so long to get here here?” What?!!

    If this shooter had shown any signs that he was this mentally ill, nothing could have been done until he was picking up the gun to kill his mother. Mental illness is scary, scary stuff. I know we value human rights, but infringing on this man’s rights could have saved those children. I’m assuming there were prior signs of mental illness, but I could be wrong.

    Praise God that my mother is on medication and is doing so well. An outsider would never even know that there was anything wrong with her.

    • Jeff Crippen

      The news reports I am reading are saying that the killer’s mother was a gun collector, took all the kids shooting and so on. Now, I shoot guns and have all my life. I took our kids hunting when we lived in Montana and we had great times.. I was a police officer so handguns and shooting have been a part of the majority of my life. But there are people who simply must not be allowed access to guns. We don’t have all the data yet, but there are early reports that Adam Lanza was not mentally stable. And I just don’t see how taking such a person shooting at the range and having guns around the house makes any sense at all. As you say, there has to be a way for us to be more proactive in dealing with these people who show the warning signs that surely psychologists recognize as dangerous by now. Is it wise to sit back and watch them wear dark, death-obsessed wardrobes, or immerse themselves in weird literature or video games? If there is such a thing as common sense, it says “no way!”

      As to the demonic aspect. Satan is obsessed with death. If in the name of “freedom” we let people immerse themselves in a culture of death and violence and hopelessness and power by control, then we aren’t going to have real freedom. Already our freedom has been limited not only by foreign terrorists, but by terrorists right here in our own country like Adam Lanza.

      • KayE

        I’m very sad about this tragedy. I do struggle to understand why mentally unstable people are allowed the right to have access to any guns, let alone military weapons and semiautomatic handguns. It’s very hard for people here in New Zealand to understand what’s so bad about some form of gun control. You can’t stop criminals from getting guns, and there’s no need to interfere with people owning rifles for hunting. But here in NZ, people known to be mentally unstable will be refused a gun licence, while handguns and semiautomatic weapons are highly restricted. Surely the rights of innocent children come first?

      • KayE

        Not that we don’t have plenty of evils of our own.

    • Wow, JustMe! In Australia, your mother would most likely have been put in a locked ward of psychiatric hospital involuntarily, and then, when they stabilised her with meds, moved on to a community treatment order which is involuntary treatment given to the patient while they are living in the community or in some kind of supported accommodation without them being actually locked up. Our system sounds quite a lot better than yours. People can be put into involuntary psych treatment well before they get to the stage of starting to execute death threats. Simply showing obvious signs of hallucinations or delusions, or really bizarre behaviour that indicates psychosis, or behaving in ways that create risk of serious harm to themselves or to others, all those are things that can get a person subjected to involuntary treatment.

      • Just Me

        Barb, That’s what they ended up finally doing. She was hospitalized for a few months, then released to my care (I was granted legal guardianship). She was supervised through an outpatient program. All the community living spots were filled, which is why they released her to me. I refused to allow her to live with us for our safety, so she lived by herself in an apartment. But had the laws been different, we could have saved her so much sooner and never even got to that point in the first place.

        She had tried to apply for a gun permit a few years prior, but was fortunately denied.

        Every time we went to a lawyer, they said it was her right to blow through all her money and refuse healthcare. But she’s now doing so well, that we’re returning to court to reverse the guardianship. It’s no longer needed. Yay!

      • I’m glad to hear that your mum has had such a wonderful turn around. Pity she blew the $million first, though, but it sounds like you did your utmost, and it’s finally brought fruit. Well done!

    • I also know someone who has this kind of a mental disorder and can attest that he is untreated because he has yet to act on his threats and paranoia.

  4. Martin

    John 10:10 (ESV). “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy….” I fear we’ve lost the second half of this passage in our society today. No more God or Bible or prayer in schools, courthouses, or public places. Children grow up thinking they’re no more than the end of a random biological reaction. Without God we are lost. Without Jesus, we’ve only got the thief, and we must endure the life of John 10:10a.

  5. Loren Haas

    Europe and Asia certainly do not have any more teaching about God in their classrooms than does the U.S. do they? Why don’t they have the gun violence that we do if this is about God lifting his hand of protection or teaching evolution? Two things come to mind. America is awash with guns and an attitude that violence is to be glorified as the solution to problems.
    Returning Christian instruction to public schools would just subvert the message of the Gospel to serve the purpose of the state. How about we keep Christian instruction in homes and churches? One the frequent themes of this forum is how frequently the Good News is distorted in the church by leadership who should know better. Do we really want state appointed teachers to make it even worse?

    • Loren, I am with you on this point. I agree that we as a nation are reaping what we have sown, but I’m not of the opinion it has to do with secular education in the public arena, but that the Christian homes have lost their saltiness. It’s too easy to look at the world and blame it for being wordly, but the world is not the one letting us down here (and I think this was the thrust of Jeff’s point). So many things have become conflated with the Gospel it’s hard to tell what we are really about anymore. Are we about Jesus or fiscal conservatism? Or military dominance? Or any number of other things? We certainly don’t appear to be about the business of doing mercy and justice.

      Whatever we think about public schools, Jeff is dead on about the church needing to repent. Ultimately, public policy will be public policy, but if the church is not being salt and light the world around us will waste away. Why would it do any differently?

    • As a non-American looking in, I agree with you, Loren. And I also agree with Kay. The fact that America is awash with guns and you can buy bullets in K-Mart — it’s inevitable that some of the mentally ill people, and the evil people, are going to use guns more frequently than they do in countries like mine (Australia). Here, the idea of bullets being on sale in department stores…. it’s unthinkable! We have pretty tight gun control laws. Of course it doesn’t stop the criminals who want to get guns from getting them, but it does limit to a good degree the lethality of the weapons they can get hold of.
      Fewer guns in a community = fewer purposeful and accidental shootings.
      Sure, there are other cultural factors that are at play as well, like the violence that saturates movies and video games. But the sheer numbers of guns per head of population is one of the biggest things that makes shootings in America much more common than the rest of the western world. Your rate in the USA is ten times more than in Australia. That’s telling.

      Also, as an outsider to your country, I realise it was a blow for Christians when prayers were forbidden in public schools, but was it really a blow to the evangelistic enterprise, or just a blow to the brand name and image of Christianity? – the idea that ‘God = America = Christianity’ that frankly we, as outsiders, find very disquieting.

      I am reminded of a billboard someone told me that they saw in one of your southern states: “Welcome to [name of State] –– we have God, guns and fireworks!”
      Excuse me? Would God really want to be allied with guns and fireworks?

      • Still scared

        As an American, Barb, I agree with almost everything you said. I don’t want God “back in the schools” , I think it would be too much of a formula religion rather than real relationship and would just dilute the gospel. I hate things that ally God to various states, etc. That being said I am on the fence with gun control. Israel and the middle east has suicide bombers…I not sure more laws make a difference. Real help and OPTIONS for mental health and a difference in how we think about things..but I don’t think that will happen. So I pray. I affect what I can with my kids, friends and patients.

      • Martin

        “How about we keep Christian instruction in homes and churches?”

        If only the Bible told us to do so, this would make sense. Does it start in the home and churches? Sure. But to keep it in the home and churches is in direct contradiction to God’s Word.

        Does our mental health system need improvement? Sure. But mentally ill people went on killing sprees in the 60′s and 70′s and 80′s when the United States had a proliferation of inpatient mental health facilities around the country. The names Charles Manson, Son of Sam and Jeffrey Dahmer prove this if nothing else. The two most recent events (Roberts in Oregon and Lanza in Connecticut) had no prior indication of mental illness or violence. Friends and family are all shocked. No one could have known. Mental health reform is not the answer to these type killings.

        This is also about much more than guns and violence. While we can try to limit the depravity today to societal support of guns and violence, that’s really just blinding ourselves to the rampant immorality with which the god of this world rules our society today. America has become a world leader – but in all the wrong things (illegal drug consumption, violent crime, prostitution, pornography production, gambling, alcohol consumption, and such the like). The common theme to all this sin = the degradation of human life. Surely Sodom and Gomorrah couldn’t have been much worse.

        As for me and my house, we will follow the Lord, declare His Word, love His truth, and seek Him more. We will declare His victory, witness His power in us to world, and disciple all people in His name; declaring all the while that there is no other way to attack evil in the world and find victory.

        The Word is our only victory. There is none else.

      • Jeff Crippen

        Thanks Martin. We can’t let the government be the agency to preach Christ. Sometimes it seems like we think we need to get laws past and force the government to put God back in the schools. I would not want a “god” of the government being forced on anyone. But our job as Christians is to go into ALL the world and preach the gospel. That means everywhere. It means that we need to infiltrate – like salt seasoning a casserole. We need Christians who work hard and become teachers and principals and… competent, excellent workers in all fields. And whenever and however we can, in those positions, we preach the gospel.

        The church is not commissioned by Christ to force the government to be the preacher of the gospel. WE are given that commission. So let’s go do it like never before, and one way to get a hearing is to become the BEST lawyer, the BEST doctor, the BEST business owner…. that we can be. And then show Christ to everyone we can.

      • Jeff S

        I absolutely agree that we should bring Christ into every area of our lives, and yes that means bringing Christ into the schools with us. As far as I know it is still perfectly legal for Christains to identify themselves and pray in school; we just can’t have forced led prayer for all students. I don’t really feel it’s a need to have non-Christians praying anyway, and I really don’t think Christianity ought to be taught in public schools. Our churches are doing a bad enough job of it- can you imagine what the government would do?

        I heard a sermon at my new church where the preacher asked “Does your job/school/home/etc look more like the kingdom of God because you are there?” To me this is SUCH a great question and the proper way to look at the influence we can have on the world.

        But if there are differing perspectives on this I don’t want to go too deep- the focus today ought to be on the tragic display of evil that occured. I think exactly how we are to be salt and light in our schools can be a good discussion at some point in the future, but it’s clear we have workd to do.

  6. Still scared

    Odd question..mental illness, does anyone know what mental illness is defined by the changing history that some abusers do. My friend and I have abusers that do this. They literally change what happened in their mind, even when shown proof change it again so their version is true. So they are believed by others because they believe it themselves and aren’t lying( per say) . We’ve ( my friend and I ) have talked about this and figure there has to be a disorder, it’s too predictable and characteristic. Anyone know?

    • So far as I understand, re-writing history is not a symptom of mental illness unless it is woven in with either:

      1. Delusions and/or hallucinations (classic symptoms of schizophreia) – With that scenario, the person totally believes their delusions despite evidence showing that the delusions can’t be real.
      This is different from what you find with abusers because abusers deliberately and calculatedly rewrite history to meet their own goals. Abusers are not ‘victims’ of delusions, they are not suffering from a disordered mind, disordered perceptions, disordered thinking; rather, they are deliberately creating (and then sometimes even believing) their own lies.
      The name for this is lying and deception and manipulation. It’s not mental illness. It’s wickedness.

      2. Defense mechanisms in severe neurosis. Severe neurosis is what Freud was finding when he became a clinician in the Viennese upper-class, uptight society of the late nineteenth century. The societal rules made people, particularly women and girls, so guilty for having any thoughts or feelings of normal human desire (like a young woman has a romantic interest in the opposite sex), that the feelings and the associated guilt terrified them, and rather than face this, the person might suppress and disguise their feelings by developing psychological defense mechanisms. It is a kind of denial, but it is outside the person’s conscious awareness, so it isn’t “lying” in the normal sense of the word. It needs a skilled clinician to help the person unveil and come to terms with the underlying complexes that have given rise to the defense mechanisms.

      This is totally the opposite of what goes on with abusers. Abusers have too little guilt for what they do; they do what they do without caring how immoral it is; and the do what they do for purely selfish reasons. Whereas extreme neurotics have too much guilt, and they use defense mechanisms to cover up their guilt for their (supposedly) immoral thoughts and feelings.

      Neurosis in that extreme is fairly rare these days, because our society no longer imposes the strict moral straightjacket of the Victorian era. But character disorder, the opposite extreme from neurosis, is rife – in unbridled selfishness, emotional immaturity, covert and overt aggression against others without any care for moral principles.

      And yes, I got all this from George Simon Jnr, whose books are ‘must reads’ if you want to understand abusers. I put them right up there under Lundy Bancroft and Patricia Evans.

    • MeganC

      Still Scared — I know exactly what you mean by this. One of my sisters does this “re-writing of history” thing and so does my abuser ex-husband. A friend of mine says they are simply “addicted to their story” — an addict of their own lies.

  7. Tersia

    As I listened to the events unfolding, and what was said as the weekend went on, I can’t help but wonder what his life as a child was like. His parents separated/divorced when he was 16. Were there fights, abuse of any form, that would have led to this? If there were any, did the parents wait too long before calling it quits to where Adam Lanza was already affected mentally on what happened? What can I do, having had mental, verbal, emotional abuse, avoid this with my children. Instead of blaming guns, which by the way it was the mom that owned the guns and she was mentally stable from what I have heard, not Adam, we need to look for what could have led to this. Yes, the mom should have taken proper actions in putting away the guns so her son could not get to them. I think that there was mental issues that led to this. There was reports that he might have been autistic, which tells me that maybe his mother did not take enough precautions on what she did or let her son do. We need to take this tragedy, look at the facts, and try not to duplicate but talk to our kids, maybe in more detail than the media is suggesting, and make sure they understand how this could have happened. Realizing that what most kids go through now days with all levels of abuse in families, between husband and wife, and or parents and children, can have a mental anger impact on them later in life if not dealt with now. I take my kids to a therapist regularly, hoping to never have happen in my family. What we do now could save a life later. We need to teach our kids to be loving, caring, giving, helpful people, take them to areas where they can help someone and make a difference and see what it feels like to have a homeless person feel better, get something to eat, how orphans can smile when you do something for them. Help ingrain good in our kids and I think we have a chance to avoid this problem. Teach them that yes there is a God, and YES HE CARES!! We must also remember the devil is alive and well and doing everything he can to destroy happiness in any form. There are two big forces, lack of a better word right now, fighting and that is GOOD and EVIL. God and the Devil. No matter what the devil puts us through, remember GOD sees us through all of our difficulties and heartaches. God is REAL.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Thanks Tersia. You make some very good, balanced points. The answer is probably a combination of what everyone here has been saying in their comments to this article. I like guns, I hunt, I was a police officer – so they have been a part of my life. But I certainly would not oppose some additional forms of the control of guns. Them’s fightin’ words to my hunting buddies, but what I mean is controlling them getting into the wrong hands. If, for example, you study the statistics on the use of fully automatic weapons (Thompson sub-machine guns, etc) since it has been legal to own them ONLY if you are licensed with the feds, then those legally owned weapons simply don’t get used in crimes. Its the same here out west. When my friends and I buy guns, we buy them for sporting purposes – and home defense. We don’t use them in crimes and in fact we use them to deter crimes. But then there is this business of people who in no way should have guns in their possession, yet legally they can get their hands on them. Or illegally – and nothing much happens to them if they get caught. Loren mentioned Asian countries that aren’t Christian and how they don’t seem to have these terrible massacres happening. I highly suspect that this may be due to 1) fewer guns, but also 2) quick, severe punishment for criminals. We lack both of these elements in the U.S.

      But as you say there is also the spiritual element. It cannot be denied that we, a nation of Christian roots, have rejected God in many ways. Why should we think that He would not hand us over to the consequences of doing this? He says that He will in His Word. As we exclude Christ, we invite evil and darkness to sweep in.

      Should we demand Christ be put back in the public schools? I don’t have a full answer for that. How do we require non-Christian teachers to teach students about Christ? And yet what we so often have today is not just religious silence in the schools, but active anti-Christian teachings. That is not neutrality. So it seems to me that the idea of religious “neutrality” is a myth. Christ said “he is is not for Me is against Me.” And that is the truth.

      Finally, there is this matter of the profile of these people who go into a crowded place and start killing people. I suspect the common profile is a young male who has been seen by others as “weird, odd, a loner…” – and who perhaps has been the target of bullying of some form. Add in in some cases a negative home environment, and then offer such a person the chance to “be somebody.” To be the one “in charge” for once. To have power and control over life and death.

      The outcome is what we read in the papers far too often. What if – what if when we see these kinds of young people, we Christians do what we can to “target them” with Christ? This would take wisdom for sure. We couldn’t be naive. But the next time you see some “misfit” young person, maybe we just ought to be thinking of some kindness we can do for them? Sometimes that might be just smiling, saying hello, and trying to engage them in a conversation and show them some interest. Do it wisely (women on women, men on men), but as Nike says, “just do it.”

  8. As I See It Only

    Maybe this idea is too far out there or maybe it’s old news to many and I’m just finding out: Religious terrorism has been loosed on the earth by the church and it is the church’s duty to bind it. When churches turn a blind eye to abuse, for example, it is turning it loose in society. We are to be held responsible if that is so.

    • Jeff Crippen

      Well, I see some agreement in your words with our opinions here. It’s just that when we use the term “the church,” we need to define what we mean. The true church, the body of Christ made up of people who truly are in Christ and have had their hearts changed by Him, is not going to be guilty of religious terrorism. By nature they have been taught to love. Then there is that visible organization that people call “the church” that consists of plenty of people who don’t know Christ at all. A local church can actually become, as Scripture puts it, a synagogue of Satan. It is those counterfeits that we must oppose.

      • As I See It Only

        Point well made, Jeff. We must be clear about what we mean by ‘church’. Just as it is impossible for a Christian to be an abuser, so it is impossible for a church to not walk in love. “Apostate church’ is an oxymoron. Once a church becomes apostate (anti-love/anti-Christ), it is no longer church. I guess we should call it what Jesus calls it–a synagogue of Satan.

  9. Barnabasintraining
    • Jeff Crippen

      No kidding! That is just about right. That group is hate in action. The twisted thing about that is that they would say “hey, we are just doing what you are talking about here in this article, by telling this country about its sins.” But calling people to genuine repentance does not mean hurting innocent people – like the families and friends of the victims at the funeral. And I wonder how much sin and abuse and perversion goes on in a “church” the genre of Westboro?

    • Just Me

      How unbelievably disgusting.

  10. Barnabasintraining

    Dogs. One of God’s many great gifts.

    http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20656736_20657586,00.html

  11. Barnabasintraining

    Oops. Bad link. Let’s try that again.

    http://www.people.com/people/package/article/0,,20656736_20657586,00.html

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