Servants of God,
“Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant?
Let him who walks in darkness and has no light
trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.”
Why does our church go to all the cost in time, talent and treasure to teach what the Bible has to say about human life including moral behavior and responsible sexual behavior? Tonight, God willing, we will convene Awana clubs to teach Bible truth that includes the truth about fallen human nature and glory of new life in Christ and the horrors now and eternally of being separated from our holy and loving Creator. This coming weekend we will be hosting a seminar on human sexuality and transgenderism on Saturday and a Youth Summit on Sunday in which we will focus on the glory and blessing of embracing God’s boundaries for maleness and femaleness and the wonderful protection of sexual purity. We do this because our world desperately needs to hear and believe truth about God and human beings. Maybe the following will help illustrate the danger of a world where humans believe they are animals and can behave however they wish. The dangers we face are not new, as you are about to read.
It was simply murder. A deranged and disgruntled young man with a multi-shot firearm and plenty of ammunition systematically fired until the scene was nothing but blood and chaos. There were multiple signs that the shooter was troubled. Numerous people had “run ins” with him. He had threatened to kill people. The police knew about him. Strangely, those closest to him really did not suspect that he was capable of such a horrible thing. He was of age and bought the murder weapon legally. It took a while, but over a period of several days, he was able to amass the ammunition and when he did the horrible deed he had plenty of it. No one suspected that the peaceful scene he walked into soon would be a blood bath.
He dressed in dark clothing and at first, no one knew he had a gun. He took careful aim and fired and reloaded and fired and reloaded. When the shooting stopped six were dead. Three more would die from wounds within hours. One man seemed to have a miraculous recovery but lived only a couple of years and died largely because of wounds received in the shooting. Over two dozen people sustained gunshot wounds but recovered. Looking back in hindsight, folks concluded that the shooter’s loafing around and growing ever more disgruntled should have been noticed. A lot of people knew a little, but no one knew enough.
I write, not of the most recent tragedy in a South Florida school, but about a shooting that took place in Kansas by the hands of a fellow named Gilbert Twigg. Nikolas Cruz, the Florida shooter, and Twigg shared much in common though more than a century in time separated them. Gilbert was a bit older, but he too used a high-tech weapon of his day. Both massacres were well planned and executed without a single shot being fired in defense of innocent, unsuspecting people. Both had become lonely and alienated men. The biggest difference was that Twigg took his own life when police finally arrived on the scene while Cruz slipped away from the scene only to be captured later. Both apparently had a lot of internal pain and turmoil that they felt entitled to spill out murderously and mercilessly on others.
Twigg pulled a small wagon loaded with extra ammunition down the dark alley, just west of Ninth and Main, in Winfield, Kansas. On that corner thousands had gathered for a band concert. Later, many claimed that the whole thing could have been avoided if only the city of Winfield had installed electric street lights. When it all started the band was playing so loud that the first victims fell without the band conductor knowing anything had happened. Reading the account of the Winfield massacre of August 13, 1903 it all seemed so hauntingly familiar.
How is it that two incidents, separated by more than a century, could share so many similarities? Let me suggest it is because while AR-15s have surpassed double barreled shotguns, the elements of a murderer using a weapon to fire upon an innocent crowd remain the same. No amount of gun laws or electric lights can change the human heart. We have learned in recent years that bombs in household pressure cookers and trucks used as battering rams are just as lethal as guns.
Genuine Christianity is a faith with a robust worldview. It holds that God owns this world and that life on this beautiful blue planet can only be lived with ultimate peace and purpose when God’s fallen human creatures come to peace with Him through faith in Jesus the Messiah. Christianity teaches that only God can change and renew the wicked and deadly human heart. Unfortunately, much of the American church does not believe the Bible—except for the part about what they falsely call “love.” In fact, true love can never be experienced apart from obeying Jesus’ commandments. Many who call themselves Christians believe they have the right to determine the definition of love. What they usually mean by love amounts to something like God indulging every human desire and evil notion. That is something, but it is not love. The faith that Jesus calls us to, involves dying to an old life and living a new life under the direction and empowerment of the living God. It involves acknowledging that God has defined and determines human flourishing. God’s love is sacrificial and life-altering, not indulgent and self-serving.
Until our nation repents and acknowledges that God’s laws and God’s blessings come on God’s terms to all who will surrender to Jesus as Savior and Lord, we can expect more mayhem and more human notions about how to stop the carnage. The answer may involve electric street lights and even some changes in gun laws, but these things generally are more “feel good” gestures than answers. The answer is new hearts and minds created supernaturally by the Holy Spirit of God. This only happens when men and women and boys and girls live all of life under God’s Kingdom rule and reign.
Lord Jesus, we pray for revival in your church and a great awakening among the unregenerate!