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I granted an interview to a Utah newspaper reporter this week. She told me that she had already interviewed some folks who told her that such people as us are guilty of spreading fear. “Fear-mongers” we are called. She explained that individuals and companies who lead in these church safety seminars across the country - such as ours - are being accused of spreading fear.
Are you spreading fear? she wanted to know.
Yes - we are. There, you have your answer.
And we are completely justified in doing so. I then proceeded to explain to her why.
Fear is a “gift,” I told her.
- Fear tells a man to not jump out of an airplane at 30,000 feet without a parachute.
- Fear is the dilemma of the college student taking a final exam - for which he has not studied.
- Fear belongs to the one standing in the middle of the road while a tornado is coming his way.
Fear, actually, is practiced by saints everywhere every day.
Is it not fear that causes you to lock your doors at night so that no one can enter and steal your goods, or worse, harm your family?
Does not fear lead you to lock your car door so that no one can break into your vehicle (if you’re truly a “man of faith,” why lock these doors? Why not just “trust the Lord” to protect your house and car?).
Furthermore, some of the greatest saints who ever walked the earth experienced fear from time to time, such as Paul the Apostle.
- Paul admitted to the Corinthian Christians that he came to them, “in weakness with great fear and trembling” (1 Cor. 2:3).
- When he wrote the Thessalonian church, he admitted that his concern for them had been quite overwhelming. He went so far as to say that fear had gotten the best of him. Read it for yourself:
“…when I could bear it no longer, I sent Timothy to find out whether your faith was still strong. I was afraid that the tempter had gotten the best of you and that our work had been useless (1 Thess. 3:5).
Gee, Paul, where is your faith? The Lord had sent you to Thessalonica, and had used you to bring many to the faith. Couldn’t you have just prayed and asked the Lord how the Thessalonian believers were doing – and the Lord would have told you? He had certainly spoken to you on previous occasions. Instead, you panicked and sent Timothy, all because you were afraid!
"But Jimmy,” you may reply, “are we not told in 2 Timothy Chapter 1 that God has not given us the spirit of fear?”
Yes, we are told that. However, it is important to see what Paul was trying to communicate, and not isolate the text to say something it is not meaning to convey. Paul was speaking to the young pastor, Timothy, who struggled with anxiety and excessive fear. But the object of Timothy’s fear was what Paul was addressing.
Timothy was struggling with anxiety over the proclamation of the gospel. He was allowing his fear to hinder him from being the servant God had called him to be. His anxiety may have even been the cause of his frequent illnesses, for which Paul had told him to “drink a little wine.” Paul knew he needed to chill out some. His nerves were affecting his stomach (1 Timothy 5:3).
It was because of Timothy's fear that Paul told him to "not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me his prisoner" (2 Timothy 1:8).
True - we should NOT be afraid when it comes to preaching the gospel. We should march forward, boldly proclaiming the gospel and the good news of the kingdom. We should make disciples. We should not allow fear to cause us to shut down any ministry the Lord has called us to do.
If you’re feeding the hungry and homeless – continue on. If you’re reaching out to gang members - keep up the good work. If you minister in the slums – press on. If you feel called to go to the Middle East and start an outreach to ISIS terrorists, then by all means, head that way!
Don’t let fear stop you from fulfilling your calling. But – and please understand this – allow fear to serve its divine purpose. And by that, I mean that you should let fear show you what proper adjustments you should make so as to minimize the chances of violence being committed against you while you serve the Lord in your calling (or those who serve with you).
In 2013 at a church in Huntsville, Alabama, two brothers were murdered while serving in the church pantry. They served faithfully almost every week, believing that because they had often been helped by the church, they would now pay it forward. “They loved helping others,” their pastor stated.
These dear brothers, said to be saints, gave their lives for others. And their needless deaths are a shame. The reports indicate they were stabbed to death (a suspect has been arrested).
It was also reported that they were attacked “an estimated 30 minutes before another volunteer arrived to help.” The brothers had arrived early to help clean the church. They were 76 and 69 years old.
But here is my question: what were these two elderly gentlemen doing in that church alone, one of who had cerebral palsy? They were helpless in defending themselves against any attack. They had no business being there alone.
But I have heard from those engaged in such ministry that they will not have the presence of security while feeding the hungry. In other words, “we will not let fear” stop us.
And you shouldn’t let fear stop you. However, you should allow the “spirit of love” (also mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7) to cause you to ensure the safety of those who serve in such a ministry!
Yes – “love is the answer.” You should love your fellow workers enough to ensure their safety, for love “always protects” (1 Cor. 13:7 – NIV).
Don’t let fear stop you from doing what’s right: but do allow love to help you start doing what’s right.
Consider this, also, when you accuse us of spreading fear. We are in good company. The prophets, and even Jesus, did likewise. And to not warn you means trouble for us.
Do you recall the words from Ezekiel 33:6 -
“…if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.”
Watchmen were sentries stationed on a wall or in a tower in order to look out for, and warn, of approaching dangers. The Watchmen were there to protect cities as well as vineyards, fields, or pastures. When they saw trouble coming, they blew the trumpet.
And that is precisely what we are doing. It is not by choice that we do this. We were called – and told – to warn the church. To be honest, I’d much rather lay around the house and spend time with my grandchildren. But, off I go, well over 100,00 miles as of today, warning the churches that the sword is coming.
Last August (2017), I was speaking at a church in Kentucky. At about 4:00 that afternoon, I “saw something.” I don’t know how to explain it, but I could tell that an incident of violence would occur in that area “in two weeks” – and I warned the attendees of such.
Thirteen days later, a dear lady was murdered on church property an hour and half from where I made that declaration. I’ll let Carl Chinn, who documents all such violence on faith-based property, tell you what happened:
The 70-year-old widow of the Denham Street Baptist Church founder was violently assaulted and killed with a knife as she was cleaning the Fellowship hall next to the church. The killer (whom had previously been in a service at the church) told detectives he thought if he killed her, took her car, phone, and other possessions, he would get a fresh start in life.
We have no choice but to blow the trumpet and warn the churches.
And as for accusing us of fear-mongering, what, pray tell, would you say to Jesus? His message often sounded like fear-mongering, did it not? Consider a few of His sayings:
- He told the people that if they did not hear and do his word, their lives would crumble under the pressure (that’s frightening)
- He told the people that if they did not repent, they would perish (that’s frightening)
- He told the church at Pergamum that if they did not correct the false teachings in their church, he would fight against them! (that’s frightening)
- He told the church at Thyatira that if they did not deal with some woman named “Jezebel,” He would “throw her into a sickbed,” and for those who had committed adultery with her, “into great affliction.” (that’s frightening)
And are you ready for this? He told His church at Laodicea that they were “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked,” and that because they were lukewarm, He was going to spit them out of His mouth (that’s a little frightening)
A few years back, 21 Coptic Christians were beheaded by ISIS terrorists near a seashore. In response to this tragic event, Franklin Graham said:
“As we mourn with the families of those 21 martyrs, we’d better take this warning seriously as these acts of terror will only spread throughout Europe and the United States…The storm is coming” (italics mine).
I know that many people oppose our message. Some say we are driven by the desire to make money (I’ve slept on the side of the road to save money, furthermore, we have, from time to time, given away some of the proceeds from the seminars to help missionary causes, as well as the persecuted church).
One man wrote me a letter saying that because of what I do, God’s judgment on me will be severe.
We’ve had people walk out of our seminar, shouting at us as they exited. And on more than one occasion, we have had “sheep” attend our “Sheepdog Seminar” – only to learn it was not for them (and leave after the first hour).
Some of our opponents are even those who lead church safety seminars. Driven by competition, they rage on at us, falsely accusing, driven by their envy.
And we bless them all in the powerful name of Jesus and pray that their message is heeded.
But our love for you, and all people (black folk, white folk, brown folk, yellow folk, gay folk, straight folk, Democrat folk, Republican folk (etc., etc., etc.) compels us to carry on with the message. And what is that message? It is simple: Love your people enough to provide some form of protection when they are on your watch.
HERE ARE SOME RECENT INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE ON CHURCH AND FAITH BASED PROPERTY CARL CHINN IS FOLLOWING:
- Nevada, Sunday 7/22/18: A church member left, then returned to his church’s service and started shooting, killing 1 and injuring 1.
- Illinois, Thursday 7/19/18. A man was found shot in his car in the parking lot of a church. He died later in the hospital.
- West Virginia, Monday 7/16/18: A man was charged with wanton endangerment after being arrested inside a church after holding the pastor hostage.
- Texas, Sunday 7/15/18: A suicidal man ditched his motorcycle in a church parking lot and forced police to kill him behind the church.
- California, Tuesday 7/10/18: Gunfire hit several cars in the parking lot of a church.