Perhaps you’ve never given much thought to the matter, but are you aware that wars have names? It is not by accident that any given war has an “official” name that it is remembered by. Thus, we all know about the American Revolution, The War of 1812, World War One – and so forth.
As World War 2 broke out, President Franklin Roosevelt was in search of an official name by which the war would be known. Roosevelt asked Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time, what name he thought should be given to the war. With no hesitation, Churchill replied: “The Unnecessary War.”
Churchill went on to explain why it should be called such:
“There never was a war more easy to stop than that which has just wrecked what was left of the world from the previous struggle (the ‘previous struggle’ was a reference to World War 1).”
What did Churchill mean? History readily offers the answer.
Churchill had warned his fellow countrymen that Hitler was piecing together a massive army that was a threat to the entire world. Though Germany had agreed to have an army for internal peace-keeping purposes only, Churchill knew they were showing total disregard for the treaty.
In spite of his pleas and warnings, Churchill was ignored.
And the rest is history.
And for several years America fought in “The Unnecessary War.” The death toll was heave:
Six million Jews were murdered …
70 million others were killed ….
400,000 American Soldiers were killed …..
A dark stain on the pages of world history that will be there until the end of time. And the sad fact is this: WW2 was simply not necessary. How is that? If Churchill’s warnings had been heeded, as well as other factors, we may not have suffered such death and carnage, which resulted in three percent of the world’s population being killed.
For 35-years I served as a police officer. During that time, I went from one crime to another, many of which – indeed, perhaps most – were totally preventable.
· The car that was stolen; the keys were left in it …
· The house that was left unlocked, and its goods were toted away ….
· The bicycle left in the front yard – taken overnight …..
I could go on and on.
And so it is with much of the crime occurring on faith-based and church property. So much of it is preventable, so much could be easily thwarted.
But alas, just as Churchill warned his fellow Britons and their political leaders about Hitler, only to be ignored: so the crimes on faith-based property carry on, while the leaders of the churches ignore the warnings - many refusing to take the necessary steps to stop it.
We now understand how evil Hitler was. The history books record his barbaric and murderous acts against millions of innocent people. And it is strange to think that in 1938 the English Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain met with Hitler and gave in to some of his demands. Chamberlain returned from that meeting believing that war would be averted!
Needless to say, history has not been kind to Chamberlain, and understandably so. Churchill understood how evil Hitler could be - Chamberlain did not.
And so it is in many of our churches.
Some church-goers actually think that everyone who enters a house of worship on Sunday or Saturday comes with a pure heart and good motives. But that is simply not the case. Jesus had 12 disciples – one of them had a devil. One is tempted to think that if you hung around Jesus seven days a week for three years, his goodness might wear off on you. But that was not the case with Judas.
And those Judas’ are still with us.
Much of the violent crime on our church and faith-based property is preventable – very preventable. Having people in the right place, having a spirit of watchfulness and vigilance, all of this and more can decrease the chances of violence.
But until we realize there are Hitlers and Judas’ among us, we will take no steps to prevent these disastrous acts against our people. We simply do not have the mindset. We fail to understand the evil that people are capable of. Truth be told, we just don’t believe the Bible. Read the Apostle Paul’s summary of humanity, found in Romans 3:
· all have turned away
· they have become worthless
· there is no one who does good, not even one
· Their throats are open graves
· their tongues practice deceit
· The poison of vipers is on their lips
· Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness
· Their feet are swift to shed blood
· ruin and misery mark their ways
· the way of peace they do not know
· There is no fear of God before their eyes …
Wow – could it be plainer? God himself, speaking through the apostle, explaining the predicament of mankind and what he/she is capable of: from a tongue that practices deceit, to feet swift to shed blood.
In August of 2009 someone attacked a lady minister in Oklahoma. Her name was Carol Daniels (photo to the right). She ministered to the outcasts and rejects in the small town of Anadarko. She was alone in her tiny church one Sunday when someone - we do not know who - entered the church and stripped her of her clothing, cut her repeatedly, laid her in a crucified position, and then set her hair on fire.
I could go on and on with horrid stories of violence at our houses of worship. And so many of them – SO MANY OF THEM – are preventable.
Look at the sex crimes occurring on faith-based settings. Hundreds, if not thousands, occurring every year. And yet when we study these crimes, we find that church leadership continuously violates common sense rules, such as: do not allow adults to be alone with the children!
More than 100 Southern Baptist youth pastors convicted or charged in sex crimes, reads the Houston Chronicle. And that’s just the ones that are caught. 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and their affiliated institutions, spanning 40 states and Canada.
Dear God, these precious children could suffer for a lifetime.
I know something of sexual abuse. I was a child when a man lured me into his car and sexually assaulted me. I have often wondered how this affected me. I never told my parents and only recently have I opened up about it. What scars are deeply woven into my soul? What bad habits formed in my life as a result? I don’t know, but I have wondered for years…
So much of this is preventable. If we can awaken the churches to the potential of violence, and get them to believe the book from which they preach, we just might be able to save some people from an act of violence that if committed against them, may forever alter their lives – for the worse.
If we can get them to love their flock, and to provide the necessary protection on worship days (and anytime the saints gather), we just might well make a difference.
Let me close with a final thought.
For Hitler to have ordered and authorized the atrocious acts which occurred, should certainly confirm for us who are believers the presence of evil spirits who roam this earth, and who are committed to the destruction of mankind. These wicked spirits – called “demons” in the Bible - find sheer delight in the rape, pillage, and murder of the innocent. The devil is a murderer, Jesus said (John 8:44).
And these very same spirits, who long ago possessed the depraved soul of Adolph Hitler, are still engaged in the very same type of work of destruction.
Churchill warned his fellow leaders that Hitler was amassing an army of destroyers that could throw our world into sheer misery for many years to come. But … they … paid … no … heed … to … his … words.
And now we are being warned again: our enemy is committed to our destruction. And he, like Hitler, is piecing together an army of fallen angels who share in his ugly nature: he will rape our children, assault our women, and murder our men. And because of this, we must NOT be among those who disregard legitimate warnings, but on the contrary, hear and heed these warnings, utilizing every lawful weapon to defend our churches, cities, and country.